Top tips for running remote workshops
Top tips for preparing for a remote workshop
Preparation is key:
- You need clear objectives and a clear process for the work. The layout of your work is crucial. Layout out the software as clearly as possible as you have less chance to see people struggling with something, especially if you are in breakout rooms or doing independent work.
Include clear instructions: Include task instructions where possible, so people can refer back to them during tasks (much like you would with a presentation in a workshop)
- Make sure the team have clear log in details and all have a quiet environment.
- Do a tech check BEFORE the session or get individuals to log in early to make sure it works.
- If possible have a secondary facilitator and technological person who is responsible to sorting any technical difficulties throughout the session.
- If you are using software there is a lot of value in running an introduction session to the software to explore the key features. This should minimise disruptions on the day.
- Mix up the format: Can some of it be done independently? Where possible, allow people the chance to work off the screen, as well as online. For this we set a clear time frame and asked all participants to mute their mics and cameras. The team can then un-mute themselves if they have any questions and the facilitators are on hand to support.
- Think about timings: The timings of exercises will differ online, review all timings and don’t assume all timings will be the same online as they would in person. Two hours maximum for discussions or sessions online and 4 hours maximum for a mixture of discussions and independent work.
Top tips for ensuring the workshop runs smoothly
- Make video and mics mandatory: so you can see who is engaging and who might be struggling. This also encourages everyone to talk. It isn’t the worst if someone doesn’t have a camera, but we found it much harder for individuals to engage when some of the team had hidden cameras.
- Ice-breakers are even more crucial: Participating in a remote workshop can feel strange. Some love it. Some hate it. When do I talk? Are people listening? It can be harder to ask ‘silly’ questions. You need to get every talking as soon as possible.
- Break the group up using zoom: If you have a paid Zoom account, make use of the breakout rooms, so you can divide up the group to work on different sections or topics. You can also assign attendees ahead of the workshop if wanted.