Oh No! – Virtual Training?

We were a face-to-face training company and although we’d worked with virtual coaching and training for some years, we still had to dynamically rethink our client programmes over the last year.

Our challenges were:

  • Classroom programmes stretched anything from 1 to 5 days – how could we translate that to a remote offer?
  • Our claim was “No PowerPoint. No drifting off at the back of the room.” No PowerPoint? That was tricky!
  • Our programmes were intensive and very interactive – we always got people on their feet. But what did that mean virtually?
  • We had created a very different classroom environment where participants were comfortable sharing, experimenting, learning and being stretched outside their comfort zone. Could we do this virtually?
  • We facilitated powerful face-to-face actor interactions that really challenged participants. What did that mean for participants now?
  • We had 90+ modules to rework – and quickly!

A different approach

Firstly, we decided that we weren’t just going to simply convert courses and deliver our existing days as webinars.
We knew from our theatre heritage the medium we would deliver in would define our performative style. We knew that small screen dramas and radio shows could capture an audience’s attention equally well as live theatre when skillfully directed.

Our creative journey began

We deconstructed the form of our workshops and moved to an intense rehearsal and development period free-styling ideas, but being very selective about what stayed in.
We experimented with visual images, music and sound clips. We recorded hours of on camera rehearsals to review and critique. Every module redesign was approached like a theatre production. And we were absolutely conscious our performance was only as good as the reviews we got from our clients.
At the same time we found that clients often expressed some reluctance towards virtual training, telling us that they had only experienced “dry and disengaging online sessions”. So we ran frequent taster sessions to show off our new form and to demonstrate just how dynamic and different our offer was to other online formats.

The result?

We believe we have developed an exciting and engaging format that can achieve behaviour change and results.

  • We found “less is more” really works. Our workshops are one and a half hours and a typical three day programme has now become eleven workshops and coaching sessions over three or more weeks. And in post-workshops we nudge participants into action with our unique mobile rehearsal app.
  • We have embraced PowerPoint for the first time in our training! But keep it minimal and look for striking images over words. We keep our trainers in the spotlight and ensure person-to-person rapport.
  • We encourage, beg, and implore participants to OVER communicate – getting them on Camera, Mic and chat throughout the workshops.
  • We get individual participants onto our virtual stage and into the spotlight. We nurture, challenge, and coach them to feel behavioural change whilst demonstrating it to others.
  • Our actors’ realistic interactions continue to drive powerful learning – both on the virtual stage with participants, or dropping into their real working world.
  • We now have over 50 training modules crafted for virtual learning.

Have we cracked our virtual training form?

We couldn’t be more delighted with all your positive feedback.

“The session has shone a new light on how I interact virtually, picking out where I can improve and deliver with impact.”

Sarah, Area Business Manager, Biogen

However, we are not sitting on our laurels. We continue to experiment and challenge ourselves to get our messages across even stronger and keep up with technology as it evolves. We are tenacious in our goal to achieve behaviour change for everyone’s personal and professional success.