This is a topic that is in high demand and one that we get asked about constantly here at SpecTraining, “How do I get over my fear of delivering a presentation online, I’ve never done it and it is so daunting?” , or words similar to that.

This is something that we hear a lot in our students that are just starting out their journey as trainers and assessors and even seasoned professionals have muttered similar words of apprehension around taking their training content and putting it online.

A seasoned professional may be very comfortable in the training room but that little white dot on the computer monitor just puts them into a state of fear. If a trainer is just starting out they not only have to contend with gathering together their training content, but also navigating sometimes unpredictable technology and internet dramas. This new realm of digital delivery is certainly a challenge for many trainers regardless of experience levels in the VET sector.

I think many have found their way through the quagmire of delivering training on line, yet many are still fumbling their way through Zoom features and functions or pressing the wrong buttons on ‘Teams’ – so here are 6 quick tips for those that are fearful of online delivery or need to be able to take classroom content and replicate greatness into the online space.

Tip 1. Get your equipment sorted:

Just like with face to face delivery you need to be well prepared. What does that mean in the online space? Well it means-

  • Have your desk ergonomically set up.
  • Have a computer with a fast processor, good mic, good headset or speakers and definitely, a 2nd monitor.
  • Have your PowerPoint slides or materials printed as well as on the screen.

Tip 2. Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse:

In face to face delivery it is quite common for people to have their session plans all laid out and people to have rehearsed in their own mind what they are going to do. This is no different in the online space. Before you deliver it is a great idea to go through your session at least once and get to know the features, find the buttons, and minimize the chance that you have the moments of not knowing what to push to get out of a screen or turn something on. Watching a few videos on YouTube about Zoom or Teams will be worth its weight in gold when it comes to delivery day.

Tip 3. Be engaging by knowing the tools:

When you are designing your session, aim to replicate some of the great things that you already do in the training room such as pair/share activities, writing on the whiteboard, showing videos and demonstrations. All of these things can easily be replicated in Zoom by simply clicking on the share screen option or popping people into breakout rooms. The more variety that you have, the more people will be engaged. Play with the features and build your confidence, just like in the face-to-face environment, no one wants to sit through the PowerPoint show and only experience one mode of learning. The same delivery principles apply but are even more pronounced as people find sitting in front of a screen quite tiring and regular interaction is critical.

Tip 4: Give Grace:

Grace? Yes grace. Grace is a term that can relax the learners and is a really helpful term to introduce to the learning environment. Encourage your learners to show grace to themselves, other members of the group and even you as the trainer and be patient with each other as they learn in the online space. As we all know tech issues will happen and you want to make sure people feel comfortable and avoid embarrassment of tech issues coming up or even the embarrassing moments when the cat walks across the screen or the kids come home from school. Somethings just can’t be planned for and the principle of ‘Giving Grace’ can alleviate that tension as people realize they are all in the same boat, so to speak.

Tip 5: Regular Breaks:

This goes without saying but as was already mentioned in tip number 3, sitting in front of a computer screen is so much more tiring and helping your learners manage their focus and energy levels is critically important, so feel free to take even more regular 5-10 min breaks to allow for students to stand up and move around. There are no medals for pushing students passed their saturation point.

Tip 6: Never stop learning

Just like in the face-to-face context real professionals never stop learning and that is the same for the online delivery space as well. Always be thinking about how you can make your session even more engaging, fun and memorable for your learners. Surprisingly many of the adult learning principles do cross over regardless of the mode of delivery so make sure that you do regular self-reflection, have meetings with colleagues and reflect on your delivery performance. As always watch other webinars and online deliveries by people that you admire and look to replicate tricks and tactics that you see that work well.

Over time you will find that the confidence comes and your ability to engage your audience in a variety of ways will become as natural as your face to face delivery.

As we have all seen online delivery and online education isn’t going away any time soon. The above tips will support you on your journey. Most of all, we recommend tip number 2: rehearse, rehearse and rehearse, you will find it will make all the difference when it comes to delivery day and finding that elusive button that you need just when you are looking for it.

Marc Miles