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Operations Chat
May102021
7 Tips for First Time Zoom Instructors

Nicholas Romanowski

05.10.21 | Operations Chat

Whether you have volunteered or were “voluntold” to teach your first class over Zoom, these 7 tips will help you transform your class from good to great. Before you get started, clarify the training needs of your audience and confirm that there is a gap in their knowledge and skills. This step is crucial because it highlights what the audience needs to learn and how your class will help lead to future success in their careers.

Turn off those pesky notifications: Moments before you kick-off the course, remember to mute any apps or devices with a ringtone that learners can hear, or a flashing pop-up notice they can read on your screen. This is essential for two reasons. First, your learners can easily be distracted by an interruption that takes their focus away from you, the presenter. Second, the same interruption that distracted your learners, can cause you to lose your place and waste valuable time getting back on track.

Start off with an ice-breaker: Break the ice with these quick questions to drum up conversation, get learners off mute and on camera, and set the stage for future discussions on topics relevant to your training. An example might be “What was the best concert you ever attended?” or “What is the last book your read?”. When choosing an ice-breaker, be sure that it is safe for work and appropriate for your audience.

If you are looking for more ice-breaker questions, click here to use a free ice-breaker generator.

Check-in every 4-8 minutes: Interact with your audience every 4-8 minutes to engage them in the course content and determine how much they have learned. The real-time feedback you receive may reveal the need to explain a topic in more detail or pick up the pace of your presentation. Present a question to your audience and ask them to respond using one of the Zoom tools below:

  • Poll Questions
  • Green check or red x in the Participants window
  • Chat window
  • Breakout rooms

Include opportunities to practice: Create at least one opportunity for your audience to practice applying their new knowledge and skills during your class. Some of my favorite methods are groups activities, case studies, work samples, debates, and role play. These exercises and others like them encourage a collaborative learning experience in which your audience can learn from one another and presents a unique opportunity for you to provide them with real-time feedback.

Give them a break (and yourself one too): If you are delivering a 2-hour training, schedule a 5-minute break for you and your learners at the 1-hour mark. Taking a few minutes to stretch, use the restroom, and have a snack can recharge your learners for the second half of your course. To keep learners to the time allotted, I recommend using a Google Timer and sharing your screen so everyone can see how much time is left on the clock.

Webcam: on, professional attire: on, professional background: on: Present yourself to your virtual audience the same way you would if you were in the same physical space. By turning on your webcam, dressing professionally and enabling a professional background, you add a greater degree of professionalism to your presentation and reaffirm your subject matter expertise to your audience.

Practice at least once: Practice delivering your course to ensure that you stick to the time allotted and feel more prepared on the day of your presentation. If you are co-presenting, practice together to plan smooth transitions from speaker to speaker and agree on who will be sharing their screen in Zoom. Lastly, this is a great opportunity to troubleshoot any hiccups with your headset, webcam, or presentation software.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, I can be reached at nromanowski@berdonllp.com | 212.331.7609.

Nick Romanowski is a Learning and Development Specialist who challenges organizations to focus on developing what matters most, their people. He consults with leading industry experts to design, deliver and evaluate a variety of professional training programs. Nick earned his master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and an Advanced Certificate in Human Resource Management from Iona College. His scientific and practitioner background in organizational learning and development makes his strategies evidence-based and practical for professional service firms. Nick brings a direct, detailed and down-to-earth style that engages audiences and is rivaled only by his bowtie-wearing dog, Tito.

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