COVID 19 has set the starting point for new educational and working realities. We work and socialize differently as compared to 3 years ago. Well, we may sometimes experience a pang of nostalgia when we remember those warm and traditional times but we have what we have. The new reality makes us rise to the challenges and adjust our knowledge and skills.
This article will cover 5 tips for successful online workshops.
I KNOW where I am and how you feel.
Make sure you get to know the platform you will be using for the workshop. The tools and settings the platform has that may be fun to use, need to be tested. Usually, one can never plan every single moment of the workshop and make sure they do not have any emergency or last-minute change. That is why it is crucial to know those tools that will get one out of the situation and make changes in the process on the spot easily. You should also test the platform as a participant, not a moderator.
I KNOW you will like me because I believe in what I am sharing with you.
Smile and look relaxed. The light and the background (good light and warm colour background) will set the first impression and the emotional link. People are social creatures; they like to feel comfortable with the person even if they meet the first time. The more relaxed you feel the more relaxed they are. The tone and the pace of your talk should be friendly and warm; this makes people experience the connection and establish a good rapport.
I need to make sure you KNOW the rules because we all need the organization and the plan.
The audience should be informed about the way the workshop will be conducted. People who have been accessing the information online, are used to quick and brisk information. Our brain has already been evolved into a machine that needs to set itself before it starts getting the information.
Give the audience a set of rules (e.g. typing questions in the question box or asking questions at the end of the workshop) and a quick review of what you will be talking about. It is important also to appreciate the participation of experienced teachers and mention that you might be saying things they already know. You may be saying things they do not know but the message shows you appreciate the experience the teachers have.
I KNOW who you are.
This is an important message because the audience wants to be recognized and respected. They want the speaker to identify and distinguish them. Make sure the pronoun “we” outweighs throughout the workshop; this makes people believe that you are not someone from somewhere.
You need to articulate that you know what issues teachers have or may have because you are aware of the situation, the challenges teachers face, the solutions they may have tried.
I KNOW what you want because I am one of you.
Q: How do you get ten English teachers to agree on the best teaching method?
A: Shoot nine of them.
While introducing the topic try to imagine the challenges the teachers have, and the questions they may have saved for you as a speaker. The more real your talk is, the more real the problems and the process are described the more trust you will earn. Always keep down to the earth; people do not like to be fooled. Teachers want reasonable answers to the questions they have.
If you do not know the answer or seemingly impossible challenges are raised, do not try to get out. Never make up any answers. You can either discuss it openly within a group provided that the group is small and manageable for the discussion. However, if the group is big, leave the question open and get back to it after you have researched, and send them the materials or resources; you will need to get their emails.
In short, we know that people do like it when they are identified or distinguished, their needs are recognized and the speaker knows what he or she speaks about. Moreover, the speaker is brave enough to face the questions he or she does not know but is willing to research and share.
Speaking activities are, obviously, essential for English language speaking classes. A lot of students join classes particularly to develop their communicative competence, become more fluent, versatile, adaptable, and confident communicators in English. However, designing speaking activities might be time-consuming and nerve-wracking for any teacher. We have prepared a memo with superb ready-made speaking tasks that will make your student talking. Download it here.