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Videoconferencing & Desktop Collaboration Tools: Top 10 Tips for Trainers

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Top 10 Tips for Trainers

Prepare yourself and your participants.
In video based training as in face-to-face training, it is vital that you're prepared. Make sure you test the equipment beforehand, book your training space well in advance and send any resources to participants well before the session is due to begin.
It's also important to send an email to all participants approximately one week prior to your session and include the following information:
  • What conferencing tool you are using (e.g. Cisco Jabber, MS Lync) and any special links, numbers, login details etc that they may need.
  • A link to this Help Guide so that they can familiarise themselves with the technology.
  • Your contact phone number so that they can call if they have any problems signing in on the day.
Allocate the first 15mins of your session to setting up remote participants. It can sometimes take some time to get people set up, particularly first time videoconference users. They may need help with things like dialling into a virtual room, turning on sound, moving camera to correct position etc.
Limit the amount of quick scrolling that you do as this can result in poor image quality when screen sharing with participants.
Ask questions and invite discussion from participants. You wouldn't stand up in front of a real-life class and talk at them for an hour without inviting responses from them, so don't do it in the virtual environment. Try using control sharing functions to enable members of your audience to show their screen and demonstrate a key point.
The best way to explain something - and make it stick - is to make it relevant. Build your session around some case studies or real life examples that participants might come across in their work.
Spending a long time in front of a screen without a break can test even the most committed of learners. Build short breaks into your session to allow you and your participants to rest your eyes and have a stretch.
Body language, particularly facial expressions, are vital in human communication. Make sure you get in close to the camera so that your audience can see you properly. Sit in a well lit room and make sure that your camera is clean and focused.
Why not take advantage of the flexibility of video communication and invite guest speakers to join in on your session? These speakers might be specialists in the field, people on the ground who actually use the skill or program that you are teaching, or it might just be someone who can deliver an inspiring talk and spice up your session.
Talking to a camera is a whole different experience to talking to an live audience. Make sure you practice your session and focus on relaxing your body and finding a comfortable position. Make sure you practice making eye contact with the camera, just as you would with a live audience; there's nothing worse than a trainer who looks down at their notes all the time. 
Invite participants to provide feedback on the training session via an electronic or online feedback survey / form. This will ensure that any technological issues or training issues are recorded and continuous improvements can be made.