Every so often, Virtual Training Associates (VTA) likes to share virtual training goofs that we’ve seen over the years. We’re not doing this to make fun of anyone rather to point out that virtual training should be as serious and as dedicated as in-person interactions.
On the surface, we will agree that some of these goofs are hilarious, but behind them must come the realization that it will be the goof and not the lesson that will be remembered. Over the months we will keep adding to this list if, for no other reason, than to tap you on the shoulder to remind you what can happen.
10 Virtual Training Goofs
- Music Videos (we don’t think so). Lots of people like to work to music. In fact, a year of lockdown made many of us oblivious. Lots of people like to dance to music – and even do aerobics to music. The combination of one, two or all three don’t work. One trainer, all serious and self-important about an electrical wiring topic, was oblivious to the fact that her husband was in the background (shirtless) bending and stretching to music. Admittedly, it could have been worse!
- Camera Angles. In case no one has told you, Webcam’s are not flattering. There are numerous presenters and attendees who have not gotten the message. Close-ups are silly, if not distracting, as is pointing the lens at the floor, to a bathroom, “at nothing,” to a room with virtually no light, or to a glaring light. We’ve seen all of these – and then some.
- Do I Bore You? Unless you are expecting a text message from the president or the lottery confirming your $100 million win, while presenting, use your phone ONLY for possible communication with meeting attendees. When a presenter absent-mindedly stares or (worse) scrolls for messages, it immediately conveys: “This class bores me, you bore me.” Please focus.
- With the possible exceptions of a veterinary instructor teaching a virtual veterinary class, or a master dog groomer instructing students about the poodle clip, playing with a pet isn’t that cute and may be highly distracting.
- Don’t Settle for a Routine. If you intend a series of virtual trainings, keep them engaging. Understand that one of the key reasons so many high school and college students didn’t engage with the material was due to monotony.
- Pay Attention to Your Surroundings. This can’t be emphasized enough. Political posters, controversial book titles, T-shirt slogans, anything remotely construed as salacious, sexual or opinionated need to go. Remove anything that might offend.
- If they See You, You See Them. Virtual is a two-way street. Stories abound in regard to virtual attendees doing all sorts of stuff when cameras are turned off. Insist on it. You need to make eye contact.
- Nothing is off The Record. A common rookie mistake is in believing your microphone is off. Assume nothing. If you are presenting, it is exactly as if you are standing on a podium in front of a roomful of people. After the presentation, shut it down.
- Safe Place. Do not allow yourself to be disturbed by noise, screaming children, landscapers, pet parrots, landlines, washing machines or Amazon deliveries. Be professional. Interruptions were cute at the very beginning of the lockdown. Over time, they have merely become distracting.
- Be professional. For some unknown reason, many inexperienced trainers feel that virtual equates to casual. It doesn’t. Prepare, rehearse, be professional. Whether virtual or in-person, a one-hour training session still takes one hour of someone’s precious time. Don’t take anyone’s time for granted.
Virtual training must convey information that is valuable, impactful and specific. It can be a fantastic teaching tool or a catastrophe. It is up to you. Don’t be one of these goofs.
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