In an uncertain environment, your business decisions carry even more weight – so ensuring you have all the right voices included in the process is more important than ever. Some decisions require more than a conference call – they require engaging, thought provoking discussion, with rich, dynamic content. People want to feel that they can dive into the information, dissect it together, and listen to each other. For the past several years, we have been honing our approach to virtual workshops as we built a transatlantic Butterfly team and needed to find ways of working together. Over the past month, several of our clients have requested virtual workshops, and we have been able to quickly pivot to meet their needs.

As we adapt to our temporary circumstances, we’ll learn that there are opportunities to improve the way we work – not just in a crisis, but everyday. It turns out, virtual workshops aren’t just a fallback option – they carry serious advantages:

  1. More potential to acknowledge people’s different working styles – opportunity to design a process that allows for a range of working styles in terms of the balance and structure of group vs solo tasks during the course of the workshop
  2. Efficiency– facilitated workshops drive the conversation forward by having a referee to drive, park, or pause a conversation, allowing the content to shine and earn the focus of the team
  3. Highly sustainable – no printing, no travel, no plastic cutlery for bad catering – virtual workshops could change the face of sustainable business practices
  4. Reduced time and cost – no time or money spent on travelling, and less money spent on materials – good for budgets!
  5. Scheduling Speed – rather than waiting for a day the global team can be together, you can schedule the workshop the next time the group has a chunk of time – scheduling the workshop out days or weeks, not months
  6. Ultimate flexibility – instead of one long session, you can choose to schedule a series of higher tempo, productive, shorter sessions

Making a virtual workshop successful requires pre-planning and thoughtful execution, just like an in-person workshop! Here are a few considerations for making a virtual workshop successful:

  1. It’s all in the planning – plan ahead and ensure all participants have all of the documents and materials they need ahead of each virtual session, and test the platform to minimise the risks of any technical issues
  2. Build rapport – carefully consider how to help all participants build rapport and ‘bond’ in the absence of the personal connections made in a face to face interaction
  3. Set out key ground rules – there’s the potential for bad habits to creep in so laying down some ground rules is essential. These could include: a system to avoid talking over each other, ensuring everyone contributes equally, commitment to being fully engaged and not distracted by children, pets etc

Get in touch and to find out more about running your first virtual workshop