How to use a pair of shoes to increase online engagement

How to tap into the diversity of the group and increase online engagement

In a recent post, The Three Point Check In, I shared a framework I’ve found particularly useful in helping to facilitate in the online space and increase online engagement.

It comes from the work of Sam Kaner from San Francisco. I’ve done some training with Sam, and he’s got some really valuable and practical processes to apply.

Sam has developed a model that describes the role of a facilitator as being one that helps groups in three ways:Three point check in

  1. Taps into the diversity of the group
  2. Helps the group to do their thinking
  3. Delivers outcomes for the group

The importance of diversity in groups

We need to recognise, understand and give voice to the different types of people in the group along with the range of perspectives and experiences they bring. It’s important here for us as facilitators to help them to consider each other’s views and not necessarily change them in the time they have together.

Two tips to help you to tap into the diversity of the group to increase online engagement

Tip No 1. Pre-workshop

I often use to get people connected online before a workshop. It’s a great tool for people to provide a few points about themselves and where they’re from.

This can provide you with entry points for discussion when your workshop starts. If people have identified their locations, it should give you a sense of what may be going on in their worlds and potentially what might be on or off the table for discussion.

Tip No 2. During-workshop

Prior to the workshop, ask participants to bring two pairs of shoes. At the start of your workshop, ask people to take off the shoes they’re wearing.increase online engagement

In addition to raising their curiosity, this will keep them engaged as they’re now involved in the workshop in an active and tangible way, rather than being an observer on a screen.

Ask them to put on their second pair of shoes when they hear a viewpoint, idea or perspective that is very different to theirs.

At this point they should simply make a note of what they heard or saw that prompted them to do so. Then do regular check-ins to find out who’s swapped their shoes and have a debrief conversation around this.

The aim here is to start to get people seeing things from someone else’s perspective and understand what it might be like to walk in their shoes.

This helps to highlight that diversity in a group is a strength once we understand what each person brings to the group and how this can be treated as an asset for everyone to draw upon.

More ideas

Further resources

Here’s the podcast version of this post for you to listen to and share

If you really want to develop your online facilitation skills and make your sessions 100% engaging, then it’s time to act!

I’ve teamed up with my facilitation bestie, Cynthia Mahoney, to deliver ‘Facilitate Standout Online Experiences‘. It’s a four module program to help you to build, utilise and adapt your skills into the online environment.

You’ll get specialised coaching and practical tips based on our practical experience in running online workshops and events.

The next program starts on 18th March – time to get movin’ and a groovin’…

Looking forward to seeing you there 😉

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Andrew Huffer

Andrew Huffer has over 25 years experience in working with organisations, businesses, managers and communities and at a state, national and international level. He designs and delivers specialist engagement processes, with a focus on facilitating open decision making processes and skill development of clients. He has delivered presentations and workshops at a number of state, national and international conferences.

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