Over the last 10 years I have found myself in countless numbers of virtual meetings, delivered hundreds of virtual presentations and delivered many virtual training sessions, and over that time I have developed my own Virtual Fluency in being able to be effective and efficient when leveraging these virtual technologies.

According to recent research from CAPGemini Consulting companies are recognising that there is a digital skills gap that exists that can hamper the organisations ability to take advantage of digital technologies

There are 4 key focus areas for us in developing Virtual Fluency, each area every bit as important as the other:

Virtual Stage: Regardless of what platform we are going to use to conduct our virtual event, whether it is Zoom Video Conferencing, Skype for Business, Adobe, WebEx or any of the many platforms that are out there, employees need to have both the hard skill of knowing how the actual platform tools operate and function, as well as the soft skill of knowing how the virtual environment shapes and changes the ways in which we interact.

In losing body language and eye contact we have to use the virtual toolset to compensate for the lack of visual references; monitoring levels of activity and the quantity and quality of response from your virtual attendees, leveraging the toolset so that we can “hear” from everyone – not everything has to be verbal, as an example leveraging the chat tool to solicit responses from everyone is a highly effective tool.

Virtual Performer: As the meeting host, virtual presenter, webinar speaker or virtual facilitator, the success of the virtual event will come down to your virtual skillset of being able to captivate, engage and interact with an often invisible audience.

The virtual environments need us to modify and adapt the way in which we connect and communicate with others if we are to be successful – as an example in our virtual facilitator workshops one of the first modifications we share is that when you ask your virtual audience a question they need an instruction – “Who would like to share an experience of working remotely” is likely to get several responses happening at once on the audio, or crickets (as attendees are unclear on who that question is aimed at), however if the question is phrased “Who would like to share an experience of working remotely – go ahead and raise your hand” then the attendees know how to respond.

Virtual Readiness: The technology adds a layer of complexity to the virtual event, recognising what is required to conduct a successful virtual event is a key component of virtual readiness that the organisation, the facilitator and the attendees need in order to leverage virtual events

Not only do we need to have the right equipment in order to take part in the virtual event, but we also need to optimise our environment – joining a virtual event from a very busy open plan office is not conducive to use having a distraction-free, quiet experience.

Planning where you will be when the virtual event takes place is important, how often have you joined a virtual session to have dogs barking, or children interrupting like in this unfortunate interview: https://youtu.be/Mh4f9AYRCZY

These ‘interruptions’ should all be manageable and avoidable, but often we do not appear to plan around the possibilities of these disruptors.

Virtual Performance: Every virtual event has a purpose to achieve – to inform, motivate, inspire, educate, sell or promote and having an eye on ensuring we achieve that purpose is vital to us being able to say that we had a successful virtual event that delivered the performance that we strived for.

Designing and delivering a successful virtual performance does not happen by chance – designing the session flow, the interactions and activities and timing for the virtual event is critical for virtual success.

Thinking through what content will need to be presented, what activities you intend to deliver during your virtual event, co-ordinating with co-presenters and getting ‘on the same page’ are all areas need your attention.

We help organisations in developing their levels of Virtual Fluency for virtual meetings, virtual presentations, marketing webinars or virtual classroom training, message me if you have want to discuss developing your/your employees Virtual Fluency.

About the Author: David Smith

David Smith is a globally recognized virtual working expert, author, and keynote speaker on developing people for the digital workplace, he has become a regular webinar and conference speaker on the subject of moving training from the traditional face to face classroom into both digital and virtual forms, how to engage the modern learner, as well as how technologies change the way in which we communicate, connect and collaborate.

Since 2008, when David began working full-time both remotely and virtually using online virtual platforms such as Adobe Connect, WebEx, GoToMeeting and Skype for Business, he has trained, coached, upskilled, and mentored thousands of professionals in how to engage invisible audiences, design and deliver highly effective virtual events, and take advantage of the web conferencing technologies that help us work globally.