How To Present A Winning Virtual Class
By Kevin Hope the 22 August 2017
When you have created the slides and script for your Virtual Class, your attention turns to how you are going to present it.
A class can be brilliantly planned, but if the execution is un-engaging and, at worst, shoddy and unprofessional, then it can have a detrimental effect on the outcome.
The key to success is in the delivery
Here, then, are some tips on how to present a winning virtual class in a way that keeps the attention of your students and inspires them to learn.
Before you go live…
First of all, you should try to involve a partner to act as producer and manage the more technical aspects of the virtual class. You need to concentrate on the delivery, and this is very hard to do when you have a high number of students with questions or technical issues. Having someone on hand to deal with pressing problems, such as slow video or selecting relevant questions to respond to, frees you up to concentrate on your performance.
You’re probably already adept at delivering face-to-face training, and the good news is that most of the skills required can easily transfer to the virtual world. However, you’ll also need to master the basics of changing slides, running live polls or using a virtual whiteboard – all whilst talking! Practice doing this until you are relatively confident, and record your efforts so you can evaluate and improve afterwards.
Make sure you are fully prepared before your go live. Thoroughly check your equipment, make yourself comfortable and ensure you have plenty of water to hand – as you know, training is thirsty work.
Everything is in place, you’ve practiced to perfection and your producer is standing by. Now it’s time to get on the virtual stage and work your magic. Here are four essential tips to deliver a first class performance.
Make your students welcome
Once participants are connected, find a way to interact with them, such as a greeting them on the chat facility or responding to any comments. Direct them to an ice-breaker if you have one. Your producer can chip in, too, but make sure your roles are clear beforehand. Importantly, start the workshop proper on time – there’s nothing worse than people who’ve made the effort to show up early having to wait beyond the advertised start time.
Create energy with your voice
Aim to establish a presence straight away by making your voice friendly and convincing. Smiling, even if you can’t be seen, helps you project a positive and welcoming vibe. Using gestures whilst talking, just as you would in a real classroom, can help with this too. Vary the tone, volume and rhythm of your delivery, and make sure you sound enthusiastic – if you can’t get excited about your topic, why should your students? Avoid habits such as ‘ums’ and ‘ers’, but don’t be afraid to pause. If some of your students are not native English speakers, speak clearly and check your speed.
Keep up the momentum
Pace is even more important in a virtual setting than in real life. More often than not, your students will be sitting alone and will have nobody to physically interact with. Try to involve students by creating a lively and interactive experience. Ask plenty of questions and invite written responses occasionally. To retain attention, try to have something stimulating – such as changing a slide – happen every minute.
In a face-to-face session, you can pick up on body language and facial expressions to monitor engagement. Unless you have only a handful of students who are visible on screen, you don’t have this luxury in a virtual environment. Instead, try to regularly check that everyone is following your class. You can make this simple by inviting people to show an icon such as a smiley (or confused!) face. Monitor the chat for questions, or ask your producer to feedback anything they feel needs attention.
Don’t be too hard on yourself during your first few attempts at delivering a virtual class. The virtual classroom is relatively new and evolving technology, so we’re all constantly learning how to make the best use of it.
Once you’ve mastered the art of presenting to a virtual audience, however, you open all sorts of doors and give people from all over the world the opportunity to learn from and interact with you.
Exciting times indeed.