In order to optimize the participants’ experience, and offer quality training, Solutions & Co. trainers are physically present in their classes and give their training in front of large screens. As if you were there in the classroom with them. What we have seen over the past 7 months is that the success of the “virtual” experience is highly dependent on the participants, and that participants appear to be divided into three main groups:
- Thosewho donot have cameras on their computers.
- Those who do not want to turn their camera on.
- Those who turn their camera on voluntarily.
1. Those who do not have cameras on their computers -No worries! Did you know you can use the app on your tablet? On your smartphone? The training is so much more effective by video that it is worth taking the time to reconnect. Do you mind reconnecting at the next break?
2. Those who do not want to turn their cameras on - There can be multiple reasons:
- They are not used to turning it on during internal meetings – I understand that the habit of using the camera during virtual exchanges is not yet rooted in many organizational cultures, but you have to know the difference between an internal meeting where everyone knows each other, and a training where the trainer (and sometimes even the other participants) is unknown. Keeping your camera off with «strangers» creates an unusual and uncomfortable atmosphere.
- They are shy - in the pre-COVID reality, even if you were shy, you showed up to the training rooms in person and people saw you… So why this change? I think the difference is that, in the classroom, we don’t see ourselves. Now, with videoconferencing, we see ourselves in the small window and we feel a certain discomfort. If this is the case, choose the Speaker View format instead of Gallery View. You will only see the person who intervenes at that time.
- They don’t want others to see their personal environment and invade their privacy – Virtual training is not an invitation in your personal space. If you are not ready to share your family life (toddler toys, pets, frames and pictures on the walls, etc…) or invite your colleagues to see the other facets of your personality… You don’t have to! Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to expose your personal life. Neutralize the background of your workspace or create a space where there is nothing personal to see – a simple white wall is enough.
- They don’t want to show what they look like right now – There is something unacceptable about attending a virtual training while lying in bed, in pajamas… A professional training remains an environment where professionalism must remain present. Shower, brush your hair and dress as if you were going to a face-to-face training… Then make yourself comfortable. If you want, you can keep your sweatpants and your sandals - we won’t see it!
- They want to do multiple tasks at once and they don’t want people to know – OK… You were already doing this in class! I can understand how that might sound like a good use of your time, but if you’re attending training, you’re supposed to be there and participate. Multitasking diminishes the understanding and assimilation of the material… Beyond being disrespectful to the trainer and other participants.
3. Those who turn their cameras on voluntarily - Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love you so much! You make our work so much easier and more enjoyable.
But you don’t have to do it just to make your trainer happy. There are many benefits when you turn on your camera.
Benefits of turning your camera on...
For the participant:
- Significantly increases participant engagement and learning outcomes.
- Makes a huge difference in the quantity of exchanges and quality of collaboration.
- Facilitates conversations between participants and optimizes communication by adding more feelings and expressions.
- When you talk to the trainer or other participants through your camera, it gives the impression that you are talking to them directly and looking at them directly – this is "virtual eye contact".
- Increases the impact of your intervention and your credibility.
- Facilitates concentration and listening during longer training sessions and avoids distractions.
- Creates a sense of learner community and generates motivation.
- If the visual environment is heterogeneous (some have their camera on and some do not), the trainer will tend to interact much more with those who have their camera on. It’s natural to talk to someone you see! Thus, the participant experiencemay be more positive for those who have their camera on and more unsatisfactory for those who have kept it off.
For the trainer:
- Seeing someone say something has far more impact than just hearing them talk. Body language contributes greatly to expression. During a training, we don’t just listen to the participant’s words; we also look at gestures, expressions, head tilts, eyebrows, etc… Because they are the bearers of information. Even if we were face to face and had to wear a mask, we would still have these clues.
- It’s demotivating to talk to a bunch of black rectangles with names. The coldness of these black rectangles creates the feeling of monologuing. Without seeing occasional nods, confusion contractions, and appreciation smiles, communication becomes limited. We feel less anchored and less effective when our audience is invisible.
- It creates a dynamic atmosphere – where no one is passive. Good discussions and exchanges require vitality.
- Without the camera, the trainer does not know if you are there, pretending to be attentive, or playing with your dog, or preparing a meal… Without cameras, we are getting closer to anonymity, which destroys ties with participants.
- It contributes to an environment of trust and respect. In trainings, we are all partners looking for the best answers. To that end, when someone formulates an idea or an objection, we give it our full attention. This respect and courtesy are often conveyed and received with visual cues.
The main point of this article is that face-to-face, either in person or virtually, is an important part of a training and contributes to its success. With remote training, turning on our cameras is close to a face-to-face interaction. Of course, video will never replace face-to-face interaction… But seeing someone on the screen psychologically encourages a more authentic human connection.
Please… Please… During your next virtual training – Turn on your cameras!