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Is virtual training even better than the real thing?

I confess: I always thought that virtual training was second best. And often second rate (ouch). It’s okay. But not your first pick – right?

Wrong. Being forced to do it by what Harold Macmillan famously called ‘events’ (and what we call real life) I’ve completely changed my mind. Why?

As a trainer-writer I’m all about the energy: reading the room, feeding it, whipping it up, changing it. Making people feel engaged, more alive and alert. I get them ready to challenge and be challenged – so they actually learn the skills, not just sit back and receive knowledge.

Can virtual training offer that - from a distance, no room to read? If your glass is half empty, you might think not. But the glass half full is altogether more refreshing.

Are you listening?
Right now we’ve got a lot of people stuck at home who crave interaction. So, when you plug in and really listen, you pick up on lots of things you might otherwise miss in the hurly-burly of the training room. 

Virtual training is a gift precisely because we can hone in on each's other's voices. I can really ask people to listen. And together, we'll naturally create a 'gang' where people can go further than they might in a normal session. After all, it’s liberating to not have people scrutinising every physical tic and movement close up, and everyone feels safer in their own space.

Do you trust me?
Relationships are all about trust, empathy, and intimacy. Virtual spaces are strangely and wonderfully intimate. Microphones and headphones put voices right into your ears. I have to trust that your attention is in the session (though I can do things to nudge you). And I have to understand the limitations and work with them, not against them.

Taking part in a workshop online is a brilliant place for all of us to practise those skills. (And it looks like we’re really going to need them.) Where better to explore how language and messaging work?

Turn up and tune in
The best part of online training? You don’t have to risk your blood pressure rising as you try to book a room for a workshop. And you can break it up into bite-sized chunks - which is exactly what we’ve done as a taster while so many of us are working at home.

So if anybody fancies a 90-minute session on storytelling, how to use nudges in your messaging, doing better PowerPoints, making your presentations memorable, or writing better for business, we’ll see you there.

Just not in person.