For Everything DiSC® Facilitators: Taking It Virtual

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For Everything DiSC® Facilitators: Taking It Virtual…

I want to start by acknowledging that while literally every organization and every individual in the U.S. and likely across the globe are impacted by the current CoVid-19 situation, the way we are impacted is different. Certainly, for those individuals who are dealing with their own or a loved one’s health issues, training is not a priority. Nor is it a priority for those organizations who are working overtime to keep up with demand. Or those organizations who are laying people off – or the people being laid off – due to a lack of demand or governmental guidelines and requirements.

However, some organizations are continuing to operate with some level of “normalcy” – certainly a relative term given these trying times. And for those organizations that can continue to have employees working remotely, virtual training may be an opportunity to keep your team productive and engaged.

I, like many of you, much prefer live training. It is part of what gives me my energy. However, while virtual training isn’t the same as live training – it can be quite effective.

Based on research conducted by Wiley Publishing, respondents who participated in Everything DiSC® programs reported only a slightly higher increase in job effectiveness and culture improvement when training was in-person compared to virtual training. For example, 91% of respondents who participated in an in-person training indicated an increase in job effectiveness compared to 87% who participated in virtual training. And 86% of respondents who completed an in-person class reported an improvement in culture compared to 82% of respondents who participated in a virtual program.

The team at Wiley Workplace Solutions has developed a guide to transitioning several activities from the Everything DiSC Workplace Facilitators Kit to virtual activities. Contact me if you would like a copy of that document.

Also, I spoke to a client who has been doing Everything DiSC Workplace trainings virtually for about a year. She said she has been pleasantly surprised at the depth of discussion that participants have during the live virtual portions of these pieces of training. She also reported that participants are evaluating the course quite positively.

Here are some recommendations from a variety of sources including my own experience with virtual training:

  • Use a platform that allows for break-out rooms. This way you can put participants into partners or small groups for discussion and then have a large group debrief when you bring the group back together. This also allows you as the facilitator to pop into each of the break-out rooms to observe much in the same way as if you were walking around the room. Many platforms provide this capability including Zoom and Webex.
  • Open the session 15 to 30 minutes in advance and talk with participants as they join. Use names throughout the session.

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  • Encourage everyone to have their cameras on if feasible. If this is not viable the facilitator should appear on camera periodically. For example, at the beginning and end of the training and before and after breaks. If you have ever met someone in person that you have seen on television repeatedly you know that you feel like you know that person, even though you have never met.
  • Let participants know upfront that you will be asking questions throughout the session and that you will be calling on people to answer the questions rather than just asking for volunteers.
  • Ask participants to use the raised hand feature when they want to speak or to volunteer to answer a question. You can then acknowledge the people who have raised their hands and take their questions or responses one at a time. This encourages participation while decreasing people talking over each other.
  • Change gears frequently. Maximize the use of the interactive features of your platform. For example, use polls, videos and break-out rooms to keep participants engaged, as well as features such as thumbs up or down and chat.
  • Assign pre-work and self-guided work or even paired-partner and small group work between live virtual sessions. is an excellent resource for this.
  • Make use of discussion boards or forums before the first session, between sessions, and following the final session. Participate as the facilitator by asking and answering questions and responding to participants’ postings, much like you would during a live debrief.
  • Provide handouts before the session as well as supplemental information that the participant can review and digest on their own.
  • Adjust your expectations. There will be less feedback and it will come more slowly. Get comfortable with longer delays between asking a question and getting a response.
  • Remember although virtual training is not the same as live training, it can still be very effective. Be creative in looking for ways to transition activities to the virtual environment.

If you would like to brainstorm ways to transition your live training content to virtual please feel free to reach out.

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