In-person vs virtual training

At work we’ve delivered hundreds of hours of training both virtually and in-person.

When you’re in-person, you can read the room and adjust your approach. Engagement tends to be higher and questions/conversations come more naturally. The challenges come from finding venues and coordinating schedules, especially if you’re including external partners.

Training virtually helps overcome a lot of those logistical challenges and scales well to dozens of people at once. That said, it can feel like you’re speaking into the void – especially when folks have their cameras off – and, let’s be honest, you can only hope people are paying attention.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, I’m curious about some rules of thumb or best practices others follow. For me:

  • Pay attention to body language in person – do you still have the room or have you lost them?
  • Get out from behind the desk and move around in person – no one likes a boring lecture
  • Encourage cameras on when virtual – you’ll have a better chance to see if people appear engaged
  • Find ways to make it interactive when virtual – tell people in advance so you don’t catch them off guard
  • Deliver it with energy (both in-person and virtual) – as surprising as it may be, droning on in monotone is not the way

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