(Online) Building Your Virtual Facilitation Skills

New! If your employer is a compact member of the Harold Alfond Center for the Advancement of Maine’s Workforce, you may be eligible to take this program at no cost to yourself (or your employer!). Click here to learn more.

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PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

For many of us, virtual is the new normal. The global COVID-19 pandemic has shifted and impacted our daily routines in innumerable ways, including the transition of many in-person meetings to virtual platforms. Many professionals may have moved their work online without any training in virtual facilitation skills.

This online professional development program is designed for people who want to work effectively with virtual groups and generate results through virtual interactions.

This program will benefit people who would like to improve their skills in:

  • engaging virtual group members
  • managing a group’s virtual process and challenges
  • handling multiple aspects of virtual technology
  • adapting facilitation techniques and tools for virtual environments

This new 5-part training series adapts Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills Level 1 for virtual facilitation and was developed through a collaboration between University of Maine Extension and Maine Sea Grant, New Hampshire Extension, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and University of Vermont Extension

PROGRAM DATES & TIMES

January 18, 25, February 1, 8 & 15
1–3 p.m. ET

Register

If these dates don’t work for you, please sign up for the interest list and we’ll let you know when future program dates are announced.

For those looking to strengthen their in-person facilitation skills, Kristen Grant also offers Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills. Learn more here.

MODALITY

Taught synchronously via Zoom. Participants will need access to stable internet.

Basic familiarity with Zoom is highly recommended. Zoom tutorials will not be a feature of this training. An introduction to the platform can be found at Getting Started with Zoom Meetings.

Facilitation is a skill that can only be mastered through practice. With this fact in mind, opportunities for training participants to practice virtual facilitation are central to the training design. Each participant will sign up and prepare to facilitate an activity with a small group during one session.

The Hutchinson Center has a limited number of computers (and plenty of Wi-Fi to go around). If you’d like to participate virtually via the Hutchinson Center, please request support via the form here.

PROGRAM BENEFITS                                                

Participants in this training will:

  • build competence in virtual facilitation skills and knowledge
  • actively engage and collaborate with other participants
  • become familiar with a variety of different approaches for interacting and for
    peer-to-peer learning in virtual groups
  • practice facilitating and receiving feedback in a supportive environment.

TOPICS COVERED

Session 1: Virtual Facilitation Essentials

We will launch the series by introducing the essential virtual facilitation concepts and skills on which the series will build. These include the development of norms and working agreements, understanding the role of the facilitator, applying the facilitation road map, and appreciating the mental models of others.

Session 2: Setting the Stage for Success

In this session, we explore how to set up your virtual environment and introduce some commonly available tools that engage participants and get results. We will also touch on group stages, how they impact facilitation and explore hindering and helping behaviors common to groups in a virtual setting.

Session 3: Facilitation Practice: Putting your skills to work

Facilitation skills require practice and application to master. In this session we will focus on applying strategies for brainstorming, narrowing, decision making, and action planning to virtual meetings. Participants will have the opportunity to practice planning and facilitating small groups using a variety of virtual tools. Small groups will use different techniques so that participants can become familiar with varied tools and methods.

Session 4: Facilitation Challenges and Opportunities

While facilitation can be challenging, there is great opportunity for success with a well-managed group. In this session, we will learn tools for guiding a group to desired outcomes, as well as develop an understanding of how unspoken assumptions and inferences can impact group dynamics and results.

Session 5: Celebrating Facilitation Success

This final session will focus on the importance of recognizing and celebrating accomplishments in groups, including our own! We’ll also test a consulting method for problem solving with group members, and we’ll invite participants’ feedback to process and evaluate the series.

WHO SHOULD ENROLL

This course is designed to benefit:

  • Analysts
  • Consultants
  • Facilitators
  • Executives
  • Managers
  • Trainers
  • Sales Professionals
  • Others whose professional and/or community work involves working with virtual groups to achieve results.

The creation of a cohesive group is a focus of the series. It is expected that if you join the training, you will make a commitment to attend all five sessions and participate as fully as possible. If it’s not possible for you to make that commitment at this time, please consider waiting to take the training.

Not sure if this program is right for you? Contact us at um.fhc.pd@maine.edu or 207.338.8002 and we can help you figure it out.

INSTRUCTOR

photograph of white woman with curly dark brown hair wearing a UMaine Sea Grant button-up shirt smiling in front of blue skiesKristen Grant, Senior Extension Program Manager, Coastal Community Resilience and DEI Leader (she/her)

Kristen’s work focuses on the interactions between the people, and ecosystems of the coast. Her work includes a range of activities to build the capacity of coastal communities to plan and adapt for their future, such as building community engagement and facilitation skills, considering housing options, addressing coastal access and waterfront development issues, and understanding erosion trends and planning for coastal hazards. To this work, Kristen brings a Master of Science degree focused on Environmental Education and has an extensive background in outreach education and community development, as well as nearly a decade of experience in training facilitators.

PROGRAM FEE

$225

Click here for more information about paying for your professional development, including information about need-based scholarships, group discounts and tips on how to get your employer on board.

CLASS CAPACITY

24 students

CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS

1 CEU / 10 contact hours are available.

Learn more about Continuing Education Units here.

A micro-credential will also be available. Learn more about micro-credentialing here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION/ACCOMMODATIONS

For more information or to request an accommodation contact um.fhc.pd@maine.edu; 207.338.8002.