Enhancing Virtual Communication Copy

For online virtual communications, the same strategies of clarity, simplicity and organization apply. Using online platforms offers some access to visual cues, so be sure to watch everyone as you go so you have a sense of each person’s comfort.

  • Eliminate background noise and distractions
  • Sit close to your screen so that participants can see you clearly and eliminate visual distractions
  • Ensure that participants can see and hear you – use headphones and a microphone
  • Speak slowly and clearly, and check for hearing and understanding
  • When you begin, assist participants in using their mic and mute options, and to adjust their cameras
  • Watch your screen closely to observe signs of engagement, confusion, frustration, and non-verbal cues

Virtual programs require a great deal of planning and organization in advance to be successful, which will be described more in Module 5: Activity. For your approach in virtual programs, be sure that your participants have clear, printed instructions to use as a reference, including how to access the program, how to prepare or set up for a program, and other support materials as needed. For online programs, weekly emails with this information are very helpful, including the link to the program sent prior to the program. At AGH we have found it beneficial to send that email the day of the program, so that it is at, or near the top of the participant’s email inbox.

When a participant has trouble understanding, refer back to your visuals. Use your mouse arrow or the drawing tools to point out, circle or highlight things that will help participants see what you are talking about. Ask questions to confirm that they can see what you are talking about, and confirm small bits of information one step at a time. Apply the communication strategies to help.

When a participant has trouble with a hands-on activity, use your camera to show them the materials and or the steps, one at a time. When you begin, show an image with the supplies needed to help everyone prepare. Talk through steps one at a time while also demonstrating with your camera to help.