How excited would you be about sitting down to dinner when every night you sat down to the same dish of luke warm green peas? Doesn’t sound all that appealing does it. If you were the chef, would you expect people to be very interested in even showing up for your meals, much less being enthusiastic about them?
Sadly, many teachers, trainers, and meeting leaders, particularly in virtual environments, rely on this approach day in and day out. They serve up green peas and expect us to be excited about them. What do I mean by green peas you ask? Obviously, I’m using green peas as a metaphor here. For me, they represent the same, worn out way of presenting things.
For example, in my experience many teleclass and virtual meeting leaders rely almost exclusively on the lecture mode to relate information and learning. This is the easiest way for the presenter to deliver information. It takes little, if any facilitation skill, and it’s the way we were “taught” in the twelve or more years of schooling we all endured.
As more of us shift to virtual modes of training, presenting, and leading, the lecture mode is even easier to fall into. In fact, in an auditory only environment, it’s tempting for us to believe that there are few alternatives.
Why use these other modes? There are several reasons. First, non-lecture modes are a whole lot more fun for both you and your participants; they tend to actively involve people more than lecturing; they can help participants remember and integrate what is being delivered; and they help you appeal to diverse learning styles in the group.
In my journey to use the virtual environment to deliver training and modeling of group facilitation skills, I’ve discovered and experimented with at least 9 other modes of delivery besides lecture that I summarize in the next section.
Multi-Modal Training Delivery
Even though we are typically confined to the auditory and/or visual channel in virtual groups, there are still at least 10 different delivery modes available to us that we can draw on to enrich the experience for everyone. Here is a brief description of each of these modes.
- Typical one-way information delivery.
- Use to orient and stimulate.
2. Experience. Designed to engage all participants in an activity.
- Large or small group activity.
- React to or draw a graphic or picture.
- Journal on a subject or experience.
- Get up and move or pose in a way that represents a point.
- Guided visualization or meditation
3. Story. To invite a one to be told to inspire, teach, or expand perspectives.
- Tell a story to illustrate or reinforce a point.
- Tell a story to inspire or orient around a perspective.
- Ask participant to share their stories around the topic.
- Ask participants to make up a story around an issue or future vision.
4. Role play. To demonstrate or practice a skill or activity.
- Between you and participant to demonstrate a skill or activity.
- Between participants to practice a skill.
5. Sharing. To clarify, generalize, and ground a learning experience.
- After an exercise to clarify, generalize, and ground a learning experience.
- Share individual experience to invite new perspectives.
- Poling: “How many of you …?”
6. Dialogue. A conversation where we seek to unearth assumptions to reach common understanding.
- Collaborative effort to seek common understanding where assumptions are shared for inspection and discussion.
- Helping to identify and release assumptions deepens dialogue, understanding, and learning
- Be sensitive to when a dialogue wants to occur and allow it to unfold for new insights and discoveries
7. M e t a p h o r. To engage subconscious through imagery to better understand a problem or to uncover deeper learning.
- Generate a metaphor by asking: What is this problem or situation like? What image comes to mind when you think of this problem or situation?
- What does this object or image say to you with regard to the problem or situation?
- How might you solve this metaphorical problem?
8. Coaching. To help individuals reorient around new perspectives or contexts around a situation or themselves to enhance performance and understanding.
- To brainstorm solutions.
- To develop a plan.
- To fine tune performance.
- To expand perspective.
- To maintain accountability.
9. Discussion. To facilitate communication among participants to deepen, expand, and build knowledge and understanding.
- To facilitate communication among participants to deepen, expand, and build knowledge and understanding.
- To enhance relationships and connection among participants.
10. 3rd Party Sources. To bring outside expertise to the group.
- Guest speaker.
- Recorded interview with expert, customer, or other stakeholder.
- Live or recorded panel of experts.
- Video or audio recording use to stimulate later discussion
These modes are addressed in more detail in our workbook and teleclass, Facilitating at a Distance. We look forward to hearing additional approaches you’ve found useful in delivering teleclasses and virtual meetings.
You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.
~Clay P. Bedford~
Which of these modes would be a stretch for you to apply in your groups? Which one are you willing to experiment with this week? What ideas have I left off the list? Please share your thoughts, stories, and experiences in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you!