How to lead remote training sessions

Any question? Silent             

Any idea? Silent

Is everything clear? Silent

That was me when leading an online Outlook training in the middle of the pandemic.

I was wondering if I may have had an issue with my internet connection, and people couldn’t hear me.

Just in case
I asked: Can you all hear me? A couple of people replied with a very shy “yes”

Good news – my internet was good. Bad news – I was not able to engage with the audience.

I failed at engaging in a virtual environment.
I failed at making people feel included in the training.
Out of 150 people, I was not able to engage with even a single person who would ask a single question.

The following month I was asked to run the training again for a separate organization.

This time was different. The audience was fully engaged. This was the level of engagement.

100% of the people
who attended the training would recommend it to a friend or a colleague (or even to their parents).

If like me, you struggle with how to lead training online and you want to:

  • Sell more (for example your training)
  • Increase the level of engagement of your audience and
  • Build your personal brand

I explain to you in this post what I did for turning upside down my online training – and get a 100% of the recommendation rate in the training.

How to lead remote training in Teams Skype or Zoom

Leading training is one thing.
Leading training remotely is completely a different thing.

While leading a training online has many advantages (for example you only need to have a computer and good internet) you need to be aware of the disadvantages.

These disadvantages need to be addressed effectively.

One of the main disadvantages is how to keep your audience engaged.

According to recent research (, 7 minutes is the maximum time your audience can keep their focus.
If you go beyond the 7 minutes – chances are high that your audience will lose interest.

This is even more visible in online training.
How do I keep people engaged in online training?
I alternate content (in 7 minutes sections) with breaks. In those breaks, I like to include sections with personal stories related to the topic, interactive Q&As (like Kahoot) and even small videos prepared upfront that summarize the ideas previously shared.


Tips & Tricks to effectively lead a training online

Actionable elements to implement as of the next online training

Encourage people to turn on the camera
Why is important to have people on camera?
You can easily notice if people are following what you say if they understand what you are explaining … it is the best signal for you to realize what is working and what it is not working in your training.

How to encourage people to turn on the camera?
You can say: “All people turn on the camera” – most likely it will not work.
Like my girlfriend – I ask her to do one thing, and she does the opposite.

Or you can be creative … turn on your camera first with a funny background, and wait for people to see if they react by turning on the camera.
If you see a low number of people with cameras on – ask if everyone today is having the same technical issue with cameras.

Believe me – You will see how more and more people will be turning on the camera.

This is my go-to background to encourage people to turn on the camera

Design an interactive presentation

Apple is not only selling you an iPhone but also you an experience
Rolex is not only selling you a watch, but also status
Nike is not only selling you sneakers but also Just do it.

Steve Jobs sold experiences, not products

How you sell things is equally or even more important than what you sell.

Key elements for a good and interactive online presentation:

  • Include personal stories – Connect personal stories to the topic you are presenting.
  • One idea per slide – Keep it simple.
  • Do not read the slides – People can read there is no need for you to read.

If you are curious about how to design a presentation for online training, click here.

Address questions to people using their name, people truly love when you say their name, and you address them by their name.
It is human nature.

Next time, you go to a bar or the doctor (not necessarily in that order),
if you notice their name on the label, address them by their name.
You will see how their attitude will completely change – for good – people love being called by their name.

On this same logic,
instead of throwing open questions to the air, address the questions to a specific person.

As example:
Instead of – does anyone have any comment? you can do: Helen, how do you see it from your side?

Why you should do this:
This way, you ensure your audience will be paying extra action and getting ready to participate in the session

Structure of the training

It may sound contradictory – however, there are more parts to training than the training itself.

Three main parts to differentiate.
Prior the training
During the training
After the training

The training is not only the time when you are leading the session.
The training starts way before your training when you are preparing for it and ends way after the session when you gather the feedback about your session as continuous learning for the next session.

Prior the training

Be creative – Rely on your copywriting skills.
(For the ones who do not know what copywriting is, it is basically persuasive writing, encouraging and influencing your audience by the way you write the info)

Introduce your training in a way that people are curious to join your training.
Imagine you are leading a training -about Outlook like in my case- and you see the following intro:

This is my training about Outlook taking place next Friday at 12:00
I will show you how to use shortcuts, how to manage the calendar and the tasks
(I am even falling sleepy while writing this).

I would be so surprised if at least one person will show up to my training – the “marketing of the training” is terrible and not encouraging people to join.

However, if you use a creative, chances are higher people will join the training, creating a sense of curiosity in the people

I used to struggle with my Inbox management for years – many years.
The only way to manage my Inbox was by spending plenty of over hours catching up with Inbox – it was a pain.

However today it is not the case.

Today I am managing my inbox effectively within 30min per day.

1 hour of your time and I will show you the top 3 tricks to manage your inbox in 30min per day.
I see you next Friday from 12:00 to 13:00

If you think 1 hour of your time is too much time to give me,
and you prefer to spend countless hours on your Inbox then – this training it is not for you.

Compare one intro with another – difference is massive.
Even though the content of the training is the same, the way audience will be more encouraged to join when they see the second intro – the most creative one.

By the way, the training I am talking about it is this one

During the training

Avoid death by PowerPoint.
Do not overload your slides with tons of data – Less is more.

Start the presentation with a Wow moment.
For example,
in my case, if you are leading a training about Outlook,
you can include as the very first slide a number (only the number),
and ask the people (address individual person) what this number can be about.

This way you will be from the beginning setting up the tone of the training,
where you encourage people to participate.

If you are curious about what this number is about – here, you can discover it by yourself here.

After the training

Feedback is a gift
– however, you need to earn the feedback.
You need to encourage people to share feedback about your training.

Same approach as before – you can do it in a boring way or in a creative way.

If you can choose, try to go the creative way.

As the final slide of your training, you can prepare a catchy slide including a good copy and a link to a Microsoft form or any other survey format that comes to your mind.

In my personal case – I included in the thank you message of the survey – my favourite Outlook shortcuts.

Why am I doing this?
I am rewarding my audience – if they want the shortcuts documented in one place, they need to provide me with feedback.
Win-win for everyone, I get the feedback and the audience gets the shortcuts

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