Virtual Workshops Are Here to Stay!

5 reasons why virtual workshops are set to replace face-to-face workshops

Who would have thought at the beginning of this year that virtual workshops would be the new norm. We didn’t,  but several months down the line and several workshops later, we think they might just be the future. Why? Let’s find out.

1. Everyone can attend, easily 

One of the most frequent problems of organising workshops is scheduling issues. It can be tricky getting people in the same office to attend on a particular day or time, but if they are coming from the other end of the country, or even worse, the other side of the world, that issue is compounded. And that’s before you factor in traffic jams, flight delays and leaves on the line!

Virtual workshops take away that headache once and for all. Yes, if you’re going global,  you’ll have to factor in time differences, but that’s still easier than getting everyone in the same room at the same time. And the other advantage is that people aren’t spending time travelling to and from the workshop.  We’ve found this helps with people’s focus, as they aren’t stressed about getting home on time.

2. Nothing is missed 

One of the wonderful things about workshops is not just the eureka moments, but also those throw-away comments, that might just be the beginning of something special.

The problem with face-to-face workshops is unless you make a concerted effort to use a video camera to capture everything, or have a fantastic scribe who writes everything down, things get missed. And let’s face it, everyone tends to be a bit more self-conscious if there is a video camera roaming the room!

With an online workshop, at a flick of a switch, you can record the whole thing, capturing all those valuable snippets.  It also means you can share the workshop, as it happens, with anyone who was unable to attend. So much better than just giving them a few slides with no commentary.

And yes, we know there will be the detractors who will cite connectivity issues as a reason not to hold workshops online, but who hasn’t been to a face-to-face workshop where the right cable has gone walkabouts, or the presentation won’t load properly?!

3. People feel more comfortable 

Irrespective of whether the workshop is taking place is at your offices or elsewhere, most people feel a bit apprehensive during those first few minutes,  and that’s before the boss turns up!

We’ve found that online, people are more likely to relax and be themselves. Maybe it’s because they are in familiar surroundings or maybe they feel less intimidated as their manager is not sat directly opposite them. True, you still need to find ways to draw out the introverts, but that’s no different to face-to-face workshops.

People argue that in a virtual workshop you can’t pick up on subtle body language cues, which help a good workshop facilitator gauge whether things are going well and so make the necessary adjustments.  But over the last few months something extraordinary has happened – we’ve adapted to doing things virtually.  From picking up on the different nuances and intent of a conversation to expressing our feelings and reactions verbally, we’ve all developed an incredible new skill – how to interact effectively online.

4. They are just as effective 

Our workshops aren’t about lecturing you on how to build a brand identity or write a brief; they’re about working collaboratively with you and designed to get both sides talking – challenging and testing each other’s ideas and thinking.

Does this aim change if the workshop is held virtually? Of course not. The key is to ensure all workshops are goal-oriented and have a strong facilitator to keep things on track.  It’s these factors that make a workshop effective, not how it’s held.

The only thing we would also recommend is to have a clear workshop etiquette, so everyone knows whether they need to mute themselves or switch off their camera for individual tasks. But like we’ve said, we’re all adapting to this new norm.

5. They are great for the environment 

We’ve all read the reports on how the coronavirus pandemic has done wonders for the environment, so it would be a shame if we all went back to our gas-guzzling days. For us as a company, we love the fact that by holding virtual workshops we are reducing our own carbon footprint and helping our clients do the same.

And it’s not just about reducing the amount of traffic on the roads. Virtual workshops also help eliminate paper waste, as handouts can be shared on-screen and saved online.

Virtual is the way to go 

We don’t expect virtual workshops to become the new norm overnight, but it’s definitely been one of the success stories of lockdown and we are really excited about the opportunities virtual workshops offer both us and our clients.

To find out more about our briefing, marketing and branding workshops, virtual or face-to-face,  take a look at our workshop brochure or just drop me a line.

Posted by Rosh.