Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with a friend whose kids are Canadian rock stars in the band, The Trews, currently on tour with Kid Rock. He mentioned that their performances have improved remarkably while touring. When I asked what they attribute their improvement to he mentioned that Kid Rock, a music perfectionist, suggested that The Trews watch recordings of their recent performances. Watching and listening to themselves on stage has allowed the band see the audience’s perspective and reveals to them where they can improve their musical performance as well as things like where to stand on stage, how the set looks, etc.
Facilitators in the virtual classroom can follow this same practice to improve their online facilitation techniques. Recording your session in the virtual classroom is generally a simple process. If you work with sensitive content or for some reason cannot record a live classroom session, try recording yourself without participants. It won’t be quite the same as a real class, but you’ll still learn by listening to yourself. As you review the recording make note of:
- Voice intonation – does it vary?
- Clarity of speech – did participants understand what to do when you gave instructions for an exercise?
- Pacing of speech – was it too fast or too slow?
- Interactivity – did you engage the audience every few minutes by asking questions and using the interactive features in your classroom?
- Chat comments – did you incorporate some comments/questions posted in chat into your session when you were speaking and encourage participants to chat or did you ignore chat comments?
- Screen annotation – did you annotate the screen while speaking to keep emphasize key points?
As painful as it may be to listen to your recorded voice, it can yield tremendous benefits. I recently listened to recordings of my webinars and found that I needed to slow the pace of my speech since I typically have non-native English speakers in my sessions. I also discovered a typo on a slide and a segment of the session where I needed more interactivity
So if you want to be a better facilitator in the virtual classroom, try hitting the rewind button on your session recording and get your notepad ready. It will help you become a rock star facilitator in no time.