Oh boy I'm psyched! I was invited by the board of DARQA to host a webinar for them.
Over the years, I’ve been on stage millions of times both as a speaker as well as a musician and I’ve facilitated loads and loads of workshops. I’ve organised and hosted online Open Space events and do online retrospectives all the time, but somehow this felt like something new. And my goodness, did it make me feel nervous and excited at the same time!
The theme of this webinar was "Man versus Machine; how can Quality Assurance people stay innovative and relevant in a digitalized world”. It wouldn't be a real Happy Scrum Master Webinar if it didn't involve a lot of Serious Play!!
One of the games I chose, however, was a game that I'd never played online before and I was clueless on how it would work out. It's called "Contamination" and I thought it would be a perfect fit with the current ongoing situation in today’s world ;) . The person who taught me the game years ago, Dov Tsal - yes, he’s one of the "Meeting Spicer people”! - was also very curious to see if it would work the same way as it would in a "live" situation. It was a wild guess but I decided to go for it and I prepared it in such a way and with a Plan B in mind, that if it, by any chance, should fail; I'd have a great example to clearly demonstrate why I believe you should experiment more! Because, even if an experiment turns out completely different than you had expected, it is still a successful experiment! It’s a win-win situation. HA!.
What I wasn't prepared for though, was the fact that all the attendees to my webinar had their cameras turned off and their mics on mute. I can tell you that it's a very weird experience as a presenter. It sort of feels like you are talking into a wormhole…
Every joke you make, every nice thing you say; where you would normally get laughter or another form of verbal or non-verbal feedback. Nothing! Which makes it even more important to truly believe in your message and to be able to dig deep in yourself for all that energy and passion instead of getting into a flow with the audience.
At the end of the webinar I was absolutely clueless on the reception of the audience…
Luckily, I had prepared a feedback page on Mural so I could ask people to let me know what they liked or had missed and if they wanted to add or ask anything.
I was blown away by all the wonderful reactions. And obviously the Board of DARQA liked it too because they immediately asked me to do a follow-up session, so I'm sure that I did a great job.
And best of all? I tried something new, and it felt GREAT to have pulled it off!
The most important things I’ve learned:
Ask for direct feedback after a session, and make sure there is some room for afterchatter.
Make sure you have someone to help you with the technical stuff. It was nice to have someone take care of the chat, who muted attendees and shared links to the online tools that I used during my session, so I could focus on my message.
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, but don't be scared to experiment a little. If you are well prepared you will be able to create room for yourself to improvise, without losing sight of your story and timelines.
Be authentic and believe in your message so you don't "need" feedback from your audience to show they understood what you’ve been saying and let you know that you’re on a roll.
Oh, and be sure to keep an eye out for my blogpost on The Contamination Game, I’m planning to publish it some time next month. :)