Collaborative features like polls, quizzes or brainstorms can make virtual meetings more fun. These are ways to keep a workshop group engaged. They help lower defense mechanisms allowing people to be themselves, take risks and be more creative.
Remote work is becoming more commonplace. It’s been on the rise for the last few years, but its prevalence has skyrocketed due to Covid-19 for both small and large businesses. It is an essential way for teams to stay connected and post Covid-19, it appears as though remote working is here to stay.
Though remote technology is becoming the new normal, there are legitimate concerns about productivity, engagement and distractions. Despite this, there are numerous ways to improve or structure remote working to make it a successful collaborative process. This is why it is important to find ways to keep a workshop group engaged.
Let’s take a closer look at one of the major concerns people have with remote workshops – increasing engagement.
There are many ways to keep a workshop group engaged, but now Remotings experts have created an easy, digestible list.
A mindset check-in.
Begin the workshop with a quick check-in with the participants to gain an understanding of their fears and expectations of the session. The right set of questions gets participants to warm up, build empathy and rich bonds.
The facilitator can create a short list of questions to ask participants a mix of questions about the session and the team such as:
- What are you expecting from this session?
- What are you excited about learning from this session?
- Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of three items
- If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
Give each participants a chance to answer the question. This introduction drives empathy and care which creates a safe space in which participants can freely share contribute.
Preparation is key to a executing a successful workshop. While planning, it is imperative to include the participants as much as possible in the early stages. This creates a workshop that is based on participant needs and not what you assume they need. Facilitators can conduct mini surveys sent to participants before the session based on the main objectives of the workshop. Surveys can provide valuable insights into how the team prefer the session to run. Building a workshop with the participants in mind, considering their work/learning styles lets them know that their engagement and participation is valued. It sets a great precedent!
Tip: Surveys are not the only way to get participants engaged before the session begins. Facilitators can also send participants materials, resources and exercises to complete before the workshop. This is a great way to create a line of communication between the facilitator and participants.
3) Establish ground rules.
Set some ground rules
One key way to keep a workshop group engaged is to establish rules before starting. Facilitators must set clear rules of engagement during remote meetings. These are rules about communication during workshops. Participants should be informed of these rules beforehand.
Rules could include:
- Follow the line-up to ensure each person gets the chance to respond
- Find a quiet space to participate free from distraction
- Don’t use the chat function unless instructed to by the facilitator
- Avoid multi-tasking over the duration of the workshop
4) Keep interactive.
Online platforms have multiple features that promote engagement. Collaborative features like polls, quizzes or brainstorms can make virtual meetings more fun. They help lower defensive mechanisms allowing people to be themselves, take risks and be more creative.
Have scheduled breaks
Breaks help people re-energise and come back to the workshop with clear minds. Participants must be free to do as they wish during this period, it is important that facilitators don’t assign tasks during this period. There can be options to reflect on the workshop, but participants should be encouraged to hydrate, relax or stretch.
Tip: Facilitators can play music during the break as a fun timing exercise. Participants should be informed beforehand that the end of the song signals the end of the break.
6) Use energisers
Incorporate an Energiser
Online workshops can be draining. We’ve heard about icebreakers, but energisers are perfect for lulls or dips in energy during the workshop. Energisers prompt fun, laughter and active engagement – this might also include physical activity.
Example: Guess the desk is a great example of an energiser that works in a remote setting. This is a fun virtual energiser that begins by having each participant take a picture of their desk or remote workspace. The picture is then sent to the facilitator who uploads it to the online whiteboard. Participants can take turns guessing which desk belongs to whom.