Insights for Working Virtually

This blog is for anyone who communicates in-person or virtually in the business world.

Is Your Training Aligned (Linked) with Your Business Partner's Objectives?

Is Your Training Aligned (Linked) with Your Business Partner's Objectives?

Don't let your instructor-led or virtual training disappear because you weren't able to articulate it's value. Many a good idea or project has failed to be supported or adopted because the value wasn't clearly evident. That's a failure on the teller of the story. The challenge is that we've tried to show the financial value by calculating the ROI of our training. I don't know about you, but calculating the ROI of training has always seemed as if we were proving the existence of the mythical unicorn. There are so many variables in the training ROI equation that the product of this calculation is soft and intangible.

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Are You Stifling Innovation In Your Virtual Teams?

Are You Stifling Innovation In Your Virtual Teams?

In a meeting with a client recently, she told us that she had been trying to get the help of a senior engineer on a critical new product. She found that if she timed her morning coffee break just right, she could get 5-10 minutes with the senior engineer every couple of weeks. This is exactly why innovative companies like Uber, SurveyMonkey, and airbnb have opened offices with the freedom to work where you want.

 

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Think Before You MUTE

Think Before You MUTE

Liam was getting ready to start an important meeting. He looked around the room and everybody seemed to be doing their own thing. The room held fourteen around an oval table. All seats were full. As he scanned the room, many were typing, some were reading email and others were having conversations on their phones. As he begin to speak, not one person looked up at him.

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Technology Belongs in the Backseat in the Virtual Classroom

Technology Belongs in the Backseat in the Virtual Classroom

Recently, we were finishing up feedback on a virtual course a client asked us to review and potentially redesign. As each person gave their feedback, some trends appeared. “It took us a long time to get to content.” “The introduction seemed a little flat.” “Why did we spend so much time on all the tools in the virtual environment? We didn’t even use all of them in the session!” We weren’t surprised. We knew what the problem was.

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Engagement Is As Important As Content in Virtual

Engagement Is As Important As Content in Virtual

If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a make a sound? We can debate this philosophical or scientific question forever. However the more important question (to me) is: If a virtual instructor is teaching, but there is little engagement, does learning occur? Just as scientists might argue that sound is a vibration interpreted only by the ear, learning experts will tell you that learning only happens when people care.

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3 Ideas on Using Virtual to Develop Diverse Global Talent

3 Ideas on Using Virtual to Develop Diverse Global Talent

As our working world continues to become more global, development of diverse talent should be on the goal list of any leader whose business is reliant on human capital. In a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers CEO Survey, 85% of CEOs whose companies have a diversity and inclusiveness strategy say it enhanced the company’s performance. 71% of CEOs said they were searching for talent across markets, sectors and demographics.

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Do You Really Know What They Need? Define Before You Design

Do You Really Know What They Need? Define Before You Design

It’s a common lament. “We’ve created training program after training program to support this new initiative and they still aren’t adopting the tools.” Sound familiar? Your organization has a new product, program, or corporate initiative to launch and as training professionals, we need to get employees engaged and trained. Our programs need to focus on these key business initiatives in our organizations. So, we track participant registrations in our learning management system (LMS), test them and analyze their scores, and make sure the training is mandatory. Even then, they still aren’t adopting what we are teaching.

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Virtual Openings Need to be Even More Compelling

Virtual Openings Need to be Even More Compelling

“Hello my name is ... and welcome to the Advanced Sales Techniques Workshop. Let’s take a look at what our objectives are today.” How many times have you heard this opening, whether it was for an "in-person" training or for a virtual presentation? While this one way to open a workshop, it’s not a compelling way to capture your audience.

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Prepare for the Unexpected when Training Virtually

Prepare for the Unexpected when Training Virtually

It's Monday morning and you know what that means? Your virtual platforms service provider did a system update, your phone bridge software installed a bug fix, and none of your workshop participants checked their computer system before the program. Sound familiar? It's what we call gremlins in the system!

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“Sticky” Learning Requires Time Between Virtual Sessions

“Sticky” Learning Requires Time  Between Virtual Sessions

Humans forget up to 70% of what they've learned in 24 hours. If you ask my wife, she will tell you that, at least with me, this is true. According to the research behind "the Forgetting Curve"1, the loss levels off at just below 80% and remains static over the next 30 days. Think about what this means to "event" learning where they come to an in-person class for a day or two and then return to their jobs. The participants will only actually remember 20% of what was presented to them.

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Checklist for Choosing a Virtual Training Platform

Checklist for Choosing a Virtual Training Platform

I currently live in Charlotte, North Carolina where NASCAR racing is one of the premier sports. In this sport, winning races not only requires that you have a capable driver but you must have a strong crew and a fast car to compete at the highest levels. The best drivers in the world can't consistently compete in cars that are sub-par. The same is true of synchronous virtual training platforms. The platform is to training as the car is to racing.

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Are You Letting Technology Get in the Way of Learning?

Are You Letting Technology Get in the Way of Learning?

As virtual instructors, knowing how to use our virtual training platform is crucial. Every platform has its own unique capabilities. We also know that real learning comes from the collaboration between participants that an instructor fosters in the classroom.

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Don’t Be Fooled... Virtual Training Can Drive Sales Skills

Don’t Be Fooled... Virtual Training Can Drive Sales Skills

There is a myth that you can’t learn “soft skills” in a virtual environment. Many hold the belief that you have to be there in person to practice those skills. It’s like when people said there would never be a sub four-minute mile or when it was thought that the computer would never have a personal use. It was true until it wasn’t. My experience in the virtual classroom says you can learn and practice soft skills. Let’s break it down.

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Are You Missing a Link in Your Virtual Training Plans? The Role of IT

Are You Missing a Link in Your Virtual Training Plans? The Role of IT

Imagine… You launch a new virtual training program in your organization. It’s an interactive new hire employee orientation. Your instructional design team has pulled together a video of key executives in the company speaking about the organization’s values and philosophy. During the program, the participants will engage in activities built around these videos.

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Want to be More Visible in the Virtual Classroom? Get Messy!

Want to be More Visible in the Virtual Classroom? Get Messy!

 A few years ago, I was conducting a dry run of a new virtual workshop for a client. The client team had agonized over the slide design, visuals, and color choices. The end result was beautiful and they loved their slide deck. About mid-way through the dry run, the head of marketing stopped me. In an aggravated tone, he said, "With all that typing and uneven highlighting on the slides, you are making our slides look messy and unattractive."

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Moving to Virtual Training? Convert the Skeptics

Moving to Virtual Training? Convert the Skeptics

I recently helped a client transition an in-person communications course to the virtual classroom. This program is in high demand within the organization and they know that to deploy it globally, they have to do it virtually. But they hit some roadblocks to getting the program broadly adopted.  What was the challenge? Virtual learning skeptics.

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What is Virtual Training Anyway? 5 Questions to Ask

What is Virtual Training Anyway? 5 Questions to Ask

I was talking with a client about virtual training options and designing virtual training workshops. We were discussing how to take the existing in-person new hire orientation and lower costs by making it a virtual program. As I continued to expand on the various choices ­– blended asynchronous, synchronous, mobile options – I could see his eyes glaze over. He finally stopped and asked, “Is all of that Web-training?” His simple question made me realize that I assumed there is a common language around virtual training. There is not.

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Considering Virtual Learning in 2015? - 3 Pros and Cons to Think About

Considering Virtual Learning in 2015? - 3 Pros and Cons to Think About

Yes, the learners you serve are getting increasingly global in nature. Whether they work in Beijing, Berlin, Boston or Buenos Aries, providing teams with the needed skills and knowledge takes time and is expensive in both real and opportunity costs. Your clients may have asked for virtual and you feel a bit awkward because you don't currently have the capability to check that box. Based on our experience in helping clients add virtual training capabilities, here are some virtual learning pros and cons that you'll want to consider before moving in that direction.

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Transitioning Coursework to Virtual? Easy, right?

Transitioning Coursework to Virtual? Easy, right?

I was speaking with a client recently who said, “We’ve made the decision to convert all our face-to-face sales courses into virtual classes.” When I asked him why, he responded, “We’re facing budget cuts and more remote locations to train. It will be cheaper and faster to develop and deploy.”

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Recent Comments
Kim Moran
This is really good information Laura, especially of having SME's in the room with you. I did this recently in a Field User Networ... Read More
Monday, 04 February 2013 02:11
Kim Moran
Thanks Laura. (Excuse me for all caps. for some reason my font won't change to lower case) I am in the same place where clients a... Read More
Monday, 04 February 2013 14:45
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