Watching you, watching me … using online facilitation to assess myself

One of the advantages of the rapid immersion into online facilitation over the past three months is that I have an instant means to assess myself. Most of the participants I work with, primarily on Zoom, want a recording of the session. What an opportunity! I replay the sessions I facilitate and host, within a day or two, and then again in the following weeks, to see how I have improved.

When I facilitated in-person sessions, I rarely video-recorded myself for various reasons. I move around; I would need to ask someone to video the session; participants might feel uneasy to have a camera person walking around; and typically, the length of the session was usually over three hours.

On Zoom sessions, I usually facilitate for 60 to 90 minutes; the recording is built-in and runs unnoticed in the background. Of course, I ask and gain permission participants to record. I find that participants agree much more willingly than during in-person sessions.

I need to be very objective to watch myself on the recordings. However, I got over the vanity factor quickly! It is easier than I thought because I see myself in the Zoom session gallery. I got over how I look and concentrate on my behaviour, words, delivery, and listening skills.

What have I learned from watching the videos?

I like:
  • I like that I smile frequently.
  • I like the warmth and friendly approach that I use while, at the same time, being professional.
  • I like that I encourage participants to speak, to listen, to share their knowledge.
  • I like that I honour competencies of a facilitator as developed by the International Association of Facilitators.
  • I like that I adapt techniques to best suit the needs of the participants as they arise during the session.
  • I like that I intently listen.
I want to change:
  • I learned that I usually ask questions two times. I don’t know if I did this during in-person sessions. I will ask a question and within two seconds, say it again, with only one or two different words. It is not because of silence. I repeat it again too quickly for anyone to have a chance to be silent. And I am very comfortable with participants being silent as it is their silence.
    • Solution: I will ask a clear and understandable question one time. I’ll watch the recordings to see how I improve.
  • I notice that when I listen intently, I  have a serious expression on my face, to the point of being stern. I know that I have a “resting solemn face” and now see that it could be misinterpreted as disagreement or anger.
    • Solution: Well, my face is what it is! I am now aware of how I look when listening and concentrating and deliberately relax my face muscles, nod, and smile as appropriate.
  • I learned that I over-explain a technique. I repeat instructions from small groups (breakout rooms) at least two, and sometimes, three times. I think participants can likely understand if I explain clearly the first time.
    • Solution: As part of my preparation, I will deliberately review my instructions and practice to keep them short and clear.
How do you use online recordings and what have you learned from watching them?
Watching you, watching me … using online facilitation to assess myself
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