How’s that for some course feedback?! I’m now 15 months into delivering online Together Trainings, and a theme is emerging in the feedback around community-building, engagement, and accountability. Hoping that what I share here can help you keep your people front and center, too, as we march forward with online learning and Zoom meetings. Happy experimenting, let me know what works (and doesn’t!) for you!
Before Class Begins
- I review my class rosters of individual names, roles, and personal situations. Often, I have made notes from previous classes about who is getting married, having a baby, taking care of a sick parent, or rehabbing from a recent surgery. I know this information from pre-class surveys and people volunteering to share.
- I check my notes on the Class Vibe sheet. What did we laugh about? How did the class feel? Who’s struggling? Last fall when I was teaching a Boston Public Schools Leader course, the superintendent had just made a tricky announcement, and I needed to honor the impact that had on my people.
- I am always in class at least 20 minutes prior to official start time. I do a pre-class chat with my own Together Team. And then I’m on Zoom early just talking with people as they join. I make sure to greet everyone by name.
- I ask everyone how to pronounce their names and model with my own. I also post a phonetic spelling that makes people laugh: Maia (like Papaya).
- We start each class with warm-up questions: favorite kitchen appliance (my favorite question, and one day someone showed off a countertop he built for his wife!), favorite scent, dream profession, and more.
- In spite of it being super loud and awkward, I have everyone pop off mute at the same time and greet each other!
- I ask people what else they are juggling in addition to today’s class, and participants hold up babies (literally), pets, students in their offices, parents at school front offices, and more. I try to honor people making time to join. I often share what I’m juggling as well, like paying my older daughter to pick up her little brother at school!
- In breakout rooms, we try to share responsibilities by assigning leaders in humorous ways: Who Brought the Best Beverage? Who has the Coldest Weather? Has the most Belt Loops? Got the Most Sleep?
- I always stay on our Zoom for at least 10 – 15 minutes following class to answer additional questions, make personal connections, and finish any follow-ups.
- We try to take the time to write up clear notes to incorporate the following week. I put them right on my Facilitation Sheet and/or go directly into my instructional decks and make edits!
After this past year of online teaching, learning and working, what tactics can you add to our list? Would you ever be interested in a Together Training on this topic?
Want the Together Home Studio setup and other preparation tips? More here!