What Does it Take to Engage With Your Participants?

Are you ready to create a better virtual training experiences for your participants?

You may have already searched the internet and talked to fellow training facilitators, but I hope to share my experience from supporting over 500 virtual trainings on what it takes to achieve the highest level of engagement during a virtual training session.

Many people believe it is ok to let participants stay off camera and sit back during a virtual training, but that is most likely hurting their learning opportunities.

If you’re struggling with how you fix the lack of cameras on and engagement, this is the place for you.

Ready to dive into a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into a more successful virtual training session?

Routine for Kicking Off Your Virtual Session Right

I am happy to say that I have helped training facilitators achieve better experiences in their virtual sessions, and this routine directly influences their ability to engage more effectively with their participants.

At the start of the virtual training session, as participants are logging in:

  • Greet each participant by name: This has a multitude of purposes. First it helps check a participants audio quality and second it helps make sure you are pronouncing the participants name correctly.
  • Use an icebreaker to kick things off: This helps get all of the participants involved right at the start of the session. If you ask for an answer in chat, that can help make sure the participants know where this important function resides and make sure they are comfortable using it. It also creates a fun and relaxing environment.
  • Ask the participants to use the “raise hand” feature if they need the participants guide or any other type of necessary documents: This guides the participants to use the “reactions” function and makes sure they know where these are. It also makes sure they already have the necessary documents before you get into the training, so they don’t interrupt training requesting it be sent to them.
  • Most importantly, address those who still have their cameras off: Find out if they plan to come on camera or if there is another reason they might need to stay off camera. Sometimes they just forget to turn on their camera or have bandwidth issues. There may be other reasons but it’s best to encourage them to turn on the camera. Might as well start with this encouragement right at the beginning of the session.

This routine will greatly improve your kick off and greatly improve the chance of all your participants being on camera and therefor being more engaged.

Don’t be afraid to challenge a participant who is discouraging or doesn’t have a good reason for being off camera. Be encouraging but don’t be afraid to push a bit, after all you were hired to provide training for these individuals.

Share with them that it helps you be a better training facilitator and that it’s going to help them have a much better experience with the material being taught. 

Helpful Post: Want to start strong by using Icebreakers at the start of your virtual session?

Bring Good Energy

Now, just because participants aren’t on camera or are lacking enthusiasm, doesn’t mean you can let it show during your training. Do not take it personally! It may have nothing to do with their interest in you or your training. There are so many factors that could be going on that you may not know about. 

It can be a balancing act between encouraging participants to engage and not being overbearing. Don’t be afraid to communicate your desire to see more faces on camera but be respectful that some may not have the ability to do so.

Lack of Engagement

If you ever find yourself in a situation where no one is on camera and their is a huge lack of engagement, here are a few suggestions:

    • Ask the participants if their is something distracting going on at their end: Sometimes their might be a big issue at the location where individuals are causing distractions. Can’t hurt to ask.
    • Talk to the company or individual who hired you: Reach out and have a conversation about how they might be able to help encourage participants in the future. Adding it to emails with the session links.
    • Increase chat questions, polls and breakout rooms: Revise the agenda and training materials to added more features that promote engagement. 

Engagement is such an important part of virtual trainings sessions. Encouraging participants to be on camera and using other tools available to drive engagement will make you a better training facilitator. You will enjoy yourself more and your participants will be raving about your sessions.

Do you follow any of the suggestions from this post? 

You are well on your way to having the most engaging and exciting virtual training sessions in your industry.

Check out my tips sheet that can help you in additional ways, specifically around using Zoom for virtual trainings.

Click here to download “BEST PRACTICES WITH ZOOM” Tip Sheet >>

I hope this post has been helpful!

Any questions? Comment below or shoot me a DM on or shoot me a message HERE.