It can be challenging to navigate time zones, schedules, and technological difficulties when working virtually. Add in the need for specialized team training, and you might find yourself in a pickle. How can you train someone you've never met with in person? How do you ensure they understand what you’re teaching? In this presentation of Techniques & Tools for Training Strong Distributed Teams, we've got some epic tips and techniques to interactively train your virtual team.
This presentation is part of the Virtual Life Webinar Series, focusing on building a community of distributed workers and addressing common topics we all face.
The panelist in this webinar is Anna Danes with Managing-Virtual-Teams.com and it was moderated by Mandy Ross, Director of Social and Content Marketing at Sococo.
Hello everyone, thanks for joining us today. I’m Mandy Ross with Sococo, and I’ll be your moderator for today’s webinar, “Techniq1ues and Tools for training strong distributed teams”. This is a third in a series of webinars focusing on best practices for distributed teams and we’re pleased to present this to you in partnership with our friend Anna from Managing Virtual Teams dot com.
A few technical items on the webinar front: note that, as the nice webinar lady said, all participants are muted by default. If you have any questions during the presentation please go ahead and type them into the Questions pane on the GoTo Webinar control panel and our trusty band of webinar elves will make sure that your question is handled when we get to the Q & A portion later on. A recording of the webinar will be sent out tomorrow, and Monday you’ll receive a virtual gift bag with resources discussed in this webinar.
Now, let’s move on to our agenda.
We’ll kick our discussion off with quick introductions of our panelist and your faithful moderator. Next, we’ll go through techniques and tools for training strong distributed teams. We’ll approach this in three sections: people, process, and technology. Once we’ve covered all of Anna’s tips, we’ll have roughly 20 minutes for Q & A, and then a short wrap up.
Kicking it off with introductions, I’m very pleased to introduce Anna Danes from Managing Virtual Teams, or MVT. She’s based in Barcelona, Spain, though she’s coming to us today from beautiful Croatia. Hi Anna, and welcome!
I’m Mandy Ross and I’m the Director of Social and Content marketing here at Sococo and I join you today from Hood River, OR. I’ve been telecommuting since the olden days of 2005, back in internet caveman days. My passion is to help establish best practices for those of us who work in the virtual world. I’m grateful that Anna has agreed to share her expertise today.
Let’s get started on Techniques and Tools for training strong distributed teams.
We’ll kick it off today starting with the topic area of people. Anna tell us your philosophy about working with people on virtual trainings.
So Anna, to begin, let’s talk about the importance of super communication.
Facilitating communication is so important in training, and the size of the group is part of that. Anna, what is your recommendation here?
One thing that strikes me as important is having the team feel comfortable working together. How do you make this happen?
One of the things I always worry about with virtual teams is engagement. With training, it’s even more so. What works here?
That concludes the people part of the discussion, and now we’ll move on to process.
Even though subject matter expertise isimportant, nothing beats a well organized trainer. Anna, tell me how you prepare for your trainings.
One thing that’s tricky is keeping our media-obsessed teams engaged. How do you keep them interested with so many virtual distractions?
Even when it seems like people are engaged, it must be hard to make sure that the message is getting through, especially in a virtual environment. What are ideas for gauging this?
On the topic of engagement, how do real life use cases help training retention?
You mentioned that repetition also helps retention of the subject matter.
That was the last part of the process discussion. Now, we’ll look at how technology impacts training.
To kick this section off, let’s talk about what your virtual training toolkit should include.
Let’s talk a little more about the recording aspect of training.
All right, we’ve reached the end of our overview, and now it’s time for us to take questions from this great audience. We’ve got a nice list that’s compiled here during the webinar, please feel free to continue typing questions into the questions section of the GoTo Webinar control panel.
Now that we’ve reached the top of the hour, it’s time to wrap things up. Anna, can you take us through the key learnings from today?
We really appreciate you all coming today and hope you found this as valuable and informative as we did. You’ve been a great audience and your participation really made the difference in this webinar.
Looks like there were a few questions that we didn’t quite get to, so I’ll work with Anna to craft responses and post them on the Sococo blog on Monday.
You’ll get an email tomorrow with the Webinar recording, and we have a little virtual gift bag you’ll get via email on Monday. Stay tuned for more webinars in the “Virtual Life” series sponsored by Sococo and our partners.
Techniques & Tools for Training Strong Distributed Teams
#SococoLife Webinar Series
Presented to you in partnership by:
Techniques & Tools For Training
Strong Distributed Teams
● :05 Introductions
● :30 Techniques & Tools For Training
Strong Distributed Teams Presentation
● :20 Q&A
● :05 Key Takeaways & Wrap Up
Anna Danes - Panelist
Holds a Degree in Communication, working in web companies since 2000. She has collaborated in the
launch of some of Spain's biggest websites, such as Atrapalo.com and Emagister.com. During her
years of experience working with online companies, she has encountered the types of issues that
companies face by having workers outside of their offices, or even across their borders.
In 2008 she founded Ricaris Have a Nice Day SL, and thanks to this experience she is
knowledgeable in the tools that help strengthen online teams of workers, and a firm believer in
the power of well-managed virtual teams.
Anna is now the CEO of Managing Virtual Teams where she teaches courses and consults for
companies with global teams. Her experience working in the United States, Asia and Europe
brings the added advantage of understanding the ways of work on those three continents.
Mandy Ross - Moderator
Mandy recently moved into the role of Director of Marketing for Sococo, after
serving as Director of Program Management since 2012. Her past employers
include Handspring, Palm, Apple, Sony and Boeing.
A telecommuter since 2005, she lives for helping distributed teams establish
remote work best practices by connecting people to create thought leadership
in the virtual world.
Let’s Get Started!
Techniques & Tools For Training Strong
Distributed teams have their
own particularities and
challenges. To defeat them:
communicate better, more
and diversify your channels.
The smaller the audience,
the greater the interaction.
Smaller groups (under 10
participants) are ideal for
virtual trainings. The larger the
group, the less opportunity for
interaction is possible.
Take the time for a longer
Gauge the team’s familiarity with
each other and make introductions
with fun questions based on this.
The more common ground a team
has, the more open they are to
Be particularly mindful of
Ask direct questions of
participants that seem to be
fading. Reinforce what they say
and give praise to encourage
participation. Ensure they
understand ahead of time that the
training is interactive.
Be extremely well
Know your audience ahead
of time, and ensure the
training will meet their
specific needs. A quick
survey of the team to be
trained can help you
understand the level of team
knowledge and how you can
The more interactive, the
We are used to a fast pace of
media flying through our lives via
tv, internet, etc. Subject matter
expertise is not enough - it’s
about gaining and retaining
Check results as you train.
Without body language, gauging
progress is tricky. Short quizzes
will measure what is and isn’t
sinking in. Provide opportunities for
students to shine by demonstrating
the knowledge they’ve gained.
Use real life cases
Training subject matter
becomes more relatable when
describing a common
frustration or problem the team
is solving. Encourage them to
share their personal use
Repetition must be more
Feedback, training and purpose
must be underscored more
often. Virtual teams don’t have
the same immediacy of
knowledge sinking in. Instructors
must be patient with slower
Your virtual training toolkit
needs to include:
● White board
● Video editor
● Accessible storage space
● Interactive quiz forms
● Tools specific to the training
needs of the team
Record and edit your training.
Creating a set of 2 - 10 minute
clips that capture the entire
training. Students benefit greatly
by having a visual explanation of
the training to which they can later
refer during practical applications.
Make sure they are organized and
● Be prepared and know your audience very well.
● Repetition and reinforcement of lessons is the best way
for a virtual team to learn.
● Keep trainings highly interactive.
● Monitor and encourage individual engagement.
● Learnings must be “real life” relatable.
● Hands-on training returns the best results virtually.
Virtual Life Webinar Series
Thanks for coming!