The Corona pandemic caught us cold. The classic face-to-face training with our clients was suddenly over and we had to adapt to a completely new environment and situation. The question was how to deliver our training online at the same level, foster collaboration and generate interaction in the digital space. Suddenly, the agility and flexibility we teach in our trainings had to be implemented 100% by ourselves.
We put our heads together and synthesized the best of thousands of hours of training and coaching. It was very clear that we wanted to live and play to our strengths in the new environment. In doing so, we built on the ingenuity and knowledge of our group. The ideas, perceptions and experiences of our tribe have been incorporated into the W.I.R.K.S.A.M. formula.
W.I.R.K.S.A.M. is an acronym and stands for…
– Werkzeuge (Tools)
– Interaktion (Interaction)
– Resonanz (Resonance)
– Kreativität (Creativity)
– Anker (Anchors)
– Meistern (Mastery)
Which tools support and enable a smooth and successful training in which we transport and convey our content in the best possible way? The answer lies in the hardware we use, such as laptops, cameras, backgrounds and microphones. It also lies in the software used, such as Zoom, Teams, Webex, Moodle, Mentimeter, etc. and, as the third pillar, in the didactics. This includes consciously controlling processes, e.g. with elements from design thinking or from Liberating structures, VAKOG, music, …..
Our HINT: Work with redundancy. The virtual space, like the physical space, is a bundle of possible difficulties that need to be covered.
How can collaboration be promoted? Virtual collaboration MUST be a change from the classic video call. The key is variety. The use of co-hosts, guest speakers, break out sessions or digital flipcharts like MIRO have proven to make the step away from “frontal” to “collaborative”.
How do we create a common vibration (resonance)? The starting point is the energy of the trainer. His or her energy, whether high or low, has an effect on the whole group. Of course, posture, tempo and voice also play a decisive role here. Consciously changing the energy in different phases of the training is, just like music, a powerful lever to create resonance.
Resonance also goes hand in hand with calibrating the participants. Constantly observing their reactions and taking the appropriate steps is essential to get all participants “on board”.
How can an environment for creativity be created? It is not possible to be creative under stress. It takes trust and relaxation to integrate creativity into virtual environments. At its core, it is about building trust. Personal stories of successes and failures are great ways to get closer to others.
Ideas are given their place and not wiped away with BUT and counter arguments. Open mind is allowed. Add to this the promotion of peer feedback as a magical way to bring trust into groups. The trainer is responsible for leading this process.
Relaxation exercises such as guided meditations or short exercises that can also be consciously incorporated into everyday life always provide an impetus to let creativity flow.
What is the best way to convey content? The neuroscience of “modern attention” shows us that attention spans are being greatly reduced across society. Modern technology overwhelms us with information and we increasingly filter out what we want to perceive. In addition, listeners only absorb 20% of the content. The rest is lost. So content is best told with stories. A great framework for this is the Heros’ journey. In addition, the more vulnerable the narrator makes himself, the better the listeners can identify with the stories.
How is the content of the training remembered? A great way to create and store memories are “anchors”. These can be set at all levels of perception. In virtual space, visual and auditory anchors are the easiest to implement. Repeatedly incorporating symbols, images or music into virtual sessions allows content and feelings to be linked to these anchors. In this way, these contents and feelings can be recalled again and again. Even after a long period of time.
How can virtual environments become your living room? By practice, practice, practice. It is commonly said that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to master one thing to perfection. e.g. piano, violin, etc. So there’s no getting away from jumping into the cold water and trying out the WIRKSAM elements yourself, practising and finding your own personal style of virtual collaboration.
Our HINT: “Don’t bowl the ocean”. Concentrate on one aspect. Move on to the next when you feel ready.
Have fun with the W.I.R.K.S.A.M. formula
Werner Etzelstorfer (Author)
Trainer, coach, entrepreneur
Werner Etzelstorfer started his professional career with a degree in civil engineering. Working in diverse environments across Europe in the fields of marketing and sales & product management a massive climbing accident offered him the possibility to hold still and reflect. The intensive time of recovery made him humble about health, time and reinvented his awareness for abundance and gratitude in life. Today, he lives his dream as a transformation coach, trainer and entrepreneur in the fields personal growth, business development, leadership and teambuilding. He leads people to a powerful experience of personal growth and guides companies to the next level. He is the founder of EchoTangoZulu. A coaching company performing in Experience, Transformation and Zen. He lives in Vienna.