Whilst I really enjoy delivering classroom training and 1:1 coaching with individual clients, I can also see some great opportunities if I move into the world of webinar based training.
I am used to designing and delivering classroom based training, so I thought I would have a reasonably easy transition into the world of becoming a webinar trainer.
Easy is an interesting word!
I researched some courses to boost my knowledge and understanding of webinars and eventually signed up for two webinar based training courses for live online training; one for design and one for facilitation.
But I’m already an experienced trainer…
When I started the courses I confess that I did wonder what I would get from the training. After all, I thought, I do have a lot of experience in designing and delivering training, so whilst there would be some differences, I felt that much of the theory around learning must surely be the same. So once again, I said to myself that this should all be reasonably “easy”, except for the technical elements of operating the software, which I did think may be slightly taxing.
Let me put webinar training into a different context. Think about driving a car and add some learning terminology. If you have driven for a number of years then your psychomotor skills may be pretty advanced and you may have reached a level of skill where you are unconsciously competent. So to this extent, driving had become easy for me. Yes it’s that word “easy” again.
So I thought that stepping into the world of webinar training, with my first course with Jo Cook would be something akin to moving from my usual car and getting into another car. Only it wasn’t! It was like getting into a Formula One car. I had the same psychomotor skills, but felt out of my depth, with not just the software tools, but also the design and delivery within this new environment.
Much of it looked the same inside the driver’s cockpit, but things happen differently, faster and you can struggle to keep up if you want to get the most from your experience in webinar training.
Let’s start with some basics: PowerPoint Images and Facilitator Notes. I have been using PowerPoint since it came onto the market and feel I am pretty proficient with a good working knowledge around many of the issues, for example, limiting the words on each slide and transitioning slides and so on. So once again, this should have been easy to use PowerPoint in my webinar training.
Like driving the car, the basics in webinar design and delivery are easy, however, Jo took me and the other delegates into the world of really using the image to project the message. I realised that for most of the time I had used images in PowerPoint to support the words on the screen, whereas in webinar training, the image is everything!
Jo helped me to understand how the image creates the learning moment for delegates and I have subsequently grasped the tremendous importance of the choice, the size and positioning of images, not to mention how to source them and use appropriate licences to comply with copyright law.
Finally, all newcomers should be using Facilitator Notes to help them design their webinar. Jo has kept me on track, when I have been slightly behind on timing (funny, I’ve never been ahead of time which is often something new webinar trainers worry about) and sent me messages to “WAIT” when she means “be patient” and let the delegates think for a minute – something I am getting better at, but still find difficult because I can’t see the delegates!
So where am I now?
I don’t yet feel unconsciously competent, but I do now feel my conscious competence is growing. Part of this was recognising when to get help and so I spoke with the best webinar presenter and producer I know and that’s Jo Cook!
Using a producer when delivering webinar training was something Jo had told us about during the webinar course and as we worked through the course it didn’t take me long to recognise why this is such an important role, especially for new webinar trainers like me.
The first live webinar I delivered was to The UK Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) in November 2016, working with Jo as my producer. As nervous as I felt going into what was a short 20 minute session, having Jo supporting me in terms of both technical assistance and monitoring the delegates’ activity was such a great feeling. This allowed me to do what I know I am pretty good at, which is delivering the message and talking to people and the webinar went really well.
Since then Jo continues to support me in producing and co-presenting on the monthly webinars I deliver to the PGA of Canada, one of my key clients. They are one hour sessions working with up to 30 delegates. I wanted to make sure that the delegates would be really engaged on chat, open microphone and using the software tools. With Jo’s help, this has happened and we get great interaction and the feedback has been fantastic.
Is it easy? Well Jo makes it look and sound easy, but as I said “easy is an interesting word”. Whilst it is getting easier for me, it comes from learning from someone who really knows her subject, using the skills I knew I already had and making the links to the different style required for webinar training. So easy, no, but easier? Yes!
About our guest blogger
Pete Davies is Director of NSM Training Ltd.
As an executive business coach and trainer Pete designs and develops training courses for clients across different sectors.
He specialises in helping people identify their unique selling points and linking lessons from high performance coaching in sport.