The Covid-19 breakout has taken everyone and every industry by the storm. The most visible and probably the most important impact of this terrible global pandemic is the way most companies are turning towards providing their services virtually and facilitation is no exception.
However, like most people working rapidly to adapt to the changing needs of their jobs and in turn consumer’s needs, our FocusU facilitators are also honing their online facilitation skills. From trying out different platforms for conducting a session to making themselves tech savvy enough to deliver a productive session, no stone is being left unturned. To aid my fellow facilitators across cities – within and outside of our organisations, I have tried to pen down tips that might help facilitate a large group, be it online or on-stage.
While facilitating large groups online, try not to move around a lot and place yourself in a way that everyone in the room can see. For a digital session, this means making sure the camera is placed sufficiently far away and there’s adequate light in in the room
On-stage : Often, you might feel the urge to move closer to a participant or a team in case they ask a question, but one should avoid such behaviour and address the whole group instead. This might make the rest of the audience lose interest. After front-loading, moving around is not a bad idea though.
Also, action speaks louder than words, use hand gestures freely but smartly.
The biggest challenge in running an online session is maintaining the time limit. Often, you will find yourself pushing the time limit owing to the large number of people needing time to speak and having to co-ordinate it well. Thus, keep a timer or stop watch handy.
If you run an activity for e.g. Mobile Learning Activities that requires planning time, it often becomes tough to get the attention of the group post planning. To control this, tell them to use the planning time effectively and flash the stopwatch for everyone to see as you start the time, it shows that you keeping the time.
Now, keep announcing the time every 2-3 minutes. Also, be involved to know where they are in their planning so you don’t stop the time abruptly, extend time if needed.
During execution, often facilitators while interacting with one team, forgets to mute the mic. For other teams engaged in the activity, it soon becomes a distraction or something that has to be avoided. Now, when the facilitator wants to address everyone, people tend to not pay attention. Use it in a way so that conditioning happens, when someone speaks on mic, everyone listens.
Similarly, don’t over use the whistle.
If instructions are not clear or the questions are not answered appropriately, audience tends to lose interest and disengagement happens. Prepare for as many scenarios you could encounter during the workshop. While, it comes with an experience but more you practice off-stage better control you will have on –stage.
If you are enjoying yourself, your positive vibes will rub off on the participants. However, if you are panicky or nervous, that will also propagate. Especially during online sessions, you might find yourself losing control but the thing to remember is to go with the flow and have fun with the participants!
These are the few insights my experience as a facilitator over the years has lead me to believe would work even in these changing times. I look forward to, and welcome views, comments, and more insightful tips from everyone reading this blog.
After all, none of us are as strong as ALL OF US.
…together, we can!