The Quest #134: 10 Fresh Ideas for Keeping Everyone Engaged in Your Online Workshop

Hello friends,

Greetings from Barcelona.☀️

🙌Many thanks for reading The Quest, your weekly round-up of tips and insights to help you design and lead exceptional online sessions that your group members will love.❤️

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🙋🏽Hands up if you have been in an online workshop where👇

  • You feel like you are being talked at
  • Most people have their cameras off
  • Lengthy introductions take up most of the call
  • Group discussions are dominated by the loudest voices
  • People (including you) are multitasking and not fully engaged
  • You want to contribute but there are no ways to engage
  • Instead, you are being bombarded with text-heavy slides
  • And there is zero energy in the virtual workshop room

The truth is, that’s most people’s experience in online meetings and workshops. Just another boring painful Zoom call. 😩

When it comes to designing online workshops you want the opposite.

You want to:

  • Engage people from the get-go
  • Make it easy for people to connect with you and each other
  • Get all voices in the room quickly so people feel seen and heard
  • See virtual hands fly up when you launch a question
  • Give your group an experience that leaves them feeling energized and inspired to take action

Online workshops are here to stay.

So it’s worth taking the time to do them well. You’ll be way ahead of most people who still struggle to get people engaged. And your participants will rave about your workshops.

🤔How can you get & keep everyone engaged in your next online workshop?

That’s our Quest for this week🔎

Let’s dive right in!

🌐10 Fresh Ideas For Getting & Keeping Everyone Engaged in Your Online Workshop

1/ 👉Create a welcoming virtual space

You may not be able to organize chairs in a circle and decorate your workshop room. But you can create a welcoming virtual space.

Playing music and showing a welcome slide help people ease into your session. And it sets an inviting tone that makes people want to take part.

2/ 👉Greet people by their name

It’s easy for online workshops to feel like big impersonal spaces. That’s because they are.

Greeting people by name and using names throughout the session makes participants feel seen and heard. It can make the workshop feel like a more intimate space – especially in big groups.

3/ 👉Start with a power prompt

Most online workshops start with 2 prompts: Your name, and where you are calling in from. But this misses an opportunity to unlock a whole level of deeper engagement.

That’s where the power prompt comes in. It invites participants to share something slightly more personal about themselves. For example “a superpower you wish you had”, or “one thing that made you smile today”.

4/ 👉Narrate the chat

One of the biggest engagement challenges when you lead online workshops is to get all voices in the room – especially in a big group.

Narrating the chat switches communication from one way (you → audience) to two ways (you < – > audience). It attunes you to your participants. And it gets their voices heard.

5/ 👉Connect Early and Often

You may feel the pressure to launch right into your content. But if you want to increase engagement you need to start with connection.

When you connect your group members early and often throughout your session, you’ll build a sense of belonging. And your group members will be motivated to engage with your content. (It’s often what people love most).

6/ 👉Ask then tell

Surprisingly few workshop leaders take the time to connect their content to the needs of the specific workshop group. That’s why their content comes off as generic and not relevant.

You can remedy this with a technique I call “ask then tell”. Use polls and prompts to survey your group before your content pieces (ask). Then tie your content back to your participants’ responses, referencing what people have shared in the chat (tell).

7/ 👉Tap the wisdom in the group

You have knowledge to share. Your participants do too. (I can see you facilitators nodding your heads). People feel frustrated when they have something to contribute, but no way to share.

You can remedy this by inviting people to share their knowledge, experiences, and favorite resources. It allows participants to learn from each other and builds community.

8/ 👉Help participants take action

Your participants will get value from your workshop if it helps them to take action and solve a problem. The problem is that it can be challenging for participants to know where to start.

You can help them by breaking down small steps to take action on what they have learned. For example, when you finish your content piece, ask your participants to share one action they will take in breakout groups or in the chat.

9/ 👉Capture insights

Most workshops end with a “thanks for coming out”. But after interactive workshops, your participants will be buzzing with ideas and insights. These can get lost if you end your session too abruptly.

Before you close ask your participants to share their biggest insight. This helps them focus their takeaways. And it helps you understand the value your participants got from the session.

10/ 👉 End on an emotional high

Like every good story, all engaging online sessions have a beginning, a middle, and an end. But it’s easy to skip the end either because you run out of time or you didn’t plan for it.

Don’t skip the end! The end is often the most memorable part of an online experience. It’s your opportunity to end your session on an emotional high. A quick and powerful closing is to ask people to write in the chat: “one word – how you are feeling at the end of the session”.

TL;DR How to keep everyone engaged in your online workshop👇

1/ 👉Create a welcoming virtual space

2/ 👉Greet people by their name

3/ 👉Start with a power prompt

4/ 👉Narrate the chat

5/ 👉Connect Early and Often

6/ 👉Ask then tell

7/ 👉Tap the wisdom in the group

8/ 👉Help participants take action

9/ 👉Capture insights

10/ 👉 End on an emotional high

💡Which of these tips could you use to increase engagement in your next online workshop?

👀Did you know?

You can search the entire database of Quest newsletters by topic. Yes, all 133 editions!

1/ Go to the newsletter page on my website 👉

2/ Scroll down to “Past Issues of The Quest”

3/ Enter a topic in the search box

And voila!

Big thanks to Quest reader and website creator Ryan Clover and his team over at Maple Creative for making this possible. If you are looking to create or re-do your website I highly recommend checking them out👇

Maple Creative – Website Design for Generous Creators.

💌Thanks for reading The Quest

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Creatively yours,

Whenever you are ready there are 2 more ways I can help you:

👉Custom coaching & team training. Book a free 15-minute zero-commitment call with me to see how I can support you and your team.

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