Lights, Camera, Action - Mastering the Art of Virtual Facilitation

Course Length: 6 hours (1 day)
Times have changed. The year 2020 has made us all pivot on how we hold meetings, do training and just plain communicate with the rest of our team. Words like virtual, Zoom (#1 downloaded app of 2020), Webex, and MS Teams are all part of our new vocabulary. Facilitation is a communication skill that is constantly growing, evolving, and developing and this year it has changed by leaps and bounds! To be successful, one must update their skill set to stay current in this new virtual world.

There has been a growing realization that we have to pay attention to the process elements of meetings if we want them to be effective. With its focus on asking rather than telling and listening to build consensus, facilitation is the new leadership ideal, the core competency everybody needs. Managers and supervisors are often asked to facilitate rather than manage their meetings and training sessions.

How can you facilitate, rather than control, group decision-making and team interaction? With no formal training, people may find it difficult to make the transition from instructors or managers to facilitators.

This workshop has been created to make core facilitation skills better understood and readily available to your organization. Participants will learn, engage and practice using our three-step virtual facilitation model. It represents materials and ideas that have been tested and refined over years of active facilitation in all types of settings. 

Learning Objectives:
- Identify the importance of setting the tone and outcome
- Understand the core competencies to guide the facilitation experience 
- Explore managing emotions and expectations for a successful session
- Use tools to bring out the best in a virtual facilitator
- Use a three-step model to feel confident and prepared

Target Student:
- Managers who lead meetings, instructors, and trainers wanting to improve interaction and engagement in virtual settings.

Course Outline:
Section 1: Set the Tone

Start each meeting or session with a purpose and hook that engage the group, followed by the art of developing a mutually agreed upon agenda with an outcome.

Section 2: Building Trust When Starting a Virtual Meeting, Workshop or Webinar
The group will discuss ways to start meetings in order to build trust, reduce stress and have staff open up. 

Section 3: Establishing Ground Rules 
Participants will discuss ground rules and why they are so important in this new world of virtual meetings. They will also work together to generate a list of ground rules for the remainder of the workshop.

Section 4: Facilitators' Skill Sets to Guide the Experience
Next, participants will explore key facilitation skills, levels of facilitation, facilitation language, and things to do to ensure facilitation success.

Section 5: Communication Skills
This session will explore the building blocks of good communication: active listening, questioning skills, probing techniques, and managing your body language.

Section 6: Active Listening
Participants will test their active listening skills in a unique and fun way - by listening to a fairytale. Their levels of judgement and assumptions will be examined during this exercise.

Section 7: Handling Controversial Issues
In this session, participants will learn how to handle controversial issues in a neutral and professional way.

Section 8: Dealing with Difficult Dynamics
Participants will complete a mix and match exercise to identify possible difficult behaviors and ways to manage them. 

Section 9: Lights, Camera, Virtual
Virtual is not live. Don't try to recreate it. Participants will receive the tools to bring out their best in a virtual setting.

Workshop Wrap-Up
At the end of the course, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.