the 20 keys you need to dynamize an online session effectively

The 20 keys you need to dynamize an online session effectively

The digital transformation of companies was already a reality. Now, with the situation caused by COVID-19, it is a requirement. Online sessions are part of our day to day and with practice we have optimized their development. This guide of useful practices can help more than one person.


``Can you hear me? I cannot hear you. Can you hear me? ”
``I do not see what you are sharing. Wait, get out and come back in. ”
``Do you all agree? I'll interpret the silence as a yes”.
“How should we do it? Are you sharing or should I share the notes?
``I can't see your faces, are you still here?``

Managing online sessions is more complex than we might think. The digital medium itself offers barriers that are important to keep in mind to ensure that the dynamism of our online session is optimal. That a teleconference takes place does not mean that it is done effectively, efficiently, or to its full potential.


First, attendee engagement tends to be lower – especially at events and trainings – which is why the audience can be greatly reduced. In addition, attention is reduced because of multitasking. Think about what you did in more than one meeting that you did not find interesting.


Participation is also infrequent, there is no tendency to interrupt during presentations or to give an opinion, and it is difficult to read the reactions of the audience because of the lack of non-verbal communication; therefore, something we think has been a success may have turned out to be a failure (and we may not have realized it). Not to mention the complexity of technological logistics: the Internet connection can fail and there are always problems with the camera or microphone that make communication difficult. In addition, new digital tools are used even when you are not familiar to them; and all of this means that the efficiency or even the purpose of the meeting may be affected.


Let’s see some tips and good practices that can help you to conduct effectively any type of online session: internal meetings, presentations, trainings, workshops, or even consumer groups. For this, it is important to:

  1. Have a clear objective and communicate it to all the attendees to be aligned with the output of the session. Thus, we are focused on what is important to make sessions productive and efficient.
  2. Dedicate the appropriate time, setting a duration that does not take longer than necessary.
  3. Use the appropriate digital tools for each moment of the session which might help to accomplish our objectives.
  4. Manage well the 4 key phases of the session: previous organization, the beginning of the session, its development and the closing.




  1. Writing a schematic script of the session that considers the development, optimal duration and the time for each part. Try not to exceed the 2h duration and, if you need more time (workshops or trainings), take a break of about 15-30 minutes.
  2. Choose a platform that is easy to use for the people who will attend and confirm that all attendees know it and can use it. Otherwise, send an email explaining its use. Avoid those platforms that require you to sign up or to create an account, as that can make access more difficult and that can raise barriers between attendees. Some of the most common are Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
  3. Ask attendees to check that they can connect to the session and that the camera and microphone / speakers are working properly. Try to have a test before the session, connecting 5-10 minutes before or even the day before.
  4. Launch a calendar call for the session with the link to access and ensure the reception. Ask for confirmation from all attendees to ensure their attendance on D-Day. You can send a reminder the day before to better manage a lack of engagement through online media.




  1. Avoid silence during the minutes before the start of the session while waiting for everyone to connect with a chit-chat, especially if participants do not know each other. It may seem irrelevant, but it helps lower your nerves and get to know each other. You can use general and disconnected questions about the purpose of the meeting such as “Let’s see who has the prettiest office!?”, to some more focused on the purpose of the meeting: “Have you had a chance to read X? ”,“ What do you think about…? ”.
  2. Ask the attendees to turn on their cameras to humanize the session and facilitate attention and participation. There’s nothing worse than talking alone at a meeting without seeing the faces of the attendees. The video will provide more information about the audience and their reactions.
  3. Introduce yourself and let everyone present himself/herself in order to create a good work environment. You can suggest that they present themselves in a creative way (depending on the audience), adding phrases such as “introduce yourself with the verb that best defines you” or “tell us something we don’t know about you yet” in meetings where they all know each other.
  4. Manage the expectations of the session by asking what the participants expect from it and showing the agenda for the day or explaining the expected output. This way you can better adapt the session to what your audience is looking for.
  5. Capture the attention of the participants from the beginning to create engagement and maintain attention. You can start with a slide where a question appears or a curious image that invites reflection. You can also use tools like Mentimeter to ask questions, survey the audience and see real-time results.




  1. Avoid sharing screens when it is not necessary, such as in debates and similar activities, in order to establish eye contact with your audience and prevent your audience from disconnecting from what you are explaining.
  2. Follow the reactions of your audience and check regularly whether there are raised hands. This is important to be sure you don’t overlook the comment of someone who doesn’t dare to interrupt. Enable chat notifications so you can instantly see possible comments from participants.
  3. Ask questions addressing participant’s by their name because it is the most effective way to motivate participation. It is not the same to ask “What does it suggest to you?” in contrast to “what does it suggest to you, Maria?”. In this way, not only does the question become more personal, but it also warns others to be alert due to other possible questions. Extend the participants window so that they all appear as a list on the right of the screen which will make it easier to call upon them.
  4. Take breaks to keep the attendees’ attention especially in long sessions. It is even more important than in face-to-face meetings. The recommendation is to stop after a maximum of 2 hours. Breaks should be long enough to be able to unwind and make a coffee (15 minutes minimum).
  5. Alternate the presentation with practical exercises for greater dynamism. You can use collaborative tools like Google Jamboard or Miro. Any exercise (with a purpose) will be positive to break with the presentation-listening mindset, create engagement and regain energy.
  6. Split the group into small subgroups so that attendees can work more comfortably in a more dynamic way. You can use Zoom’s Breakout Rooms or Teams’ channels.



  1. Try to leave 5-10min at the end to end the session. As William Shakespeare said, “all’s well that ends well”. Finishing well is as important as starting with a surprise effect: it helps participants feel satisfied and have a good memory of the session. You can use tools like Kahoot to help you to create questionnaires so the participants have the chance to show that they have been attentive during the session.
  2. Summarize the main conclusions of the session for further alignment, as well as the next steps. Sometimes, with Internet connection issues, you may have some attendees missing part of the session.
  3. Ask for feedback at the end of the session to find out everyone’s opinion. This will let you know if you have met your initial expectations or if there are any open points that may have been overlooked. It will also help you to improve in the future. You can also create a survey in Microsoft Forms or a similar tool and send it to them later.
  4. Finish on time. It’s very important! No one likes a session that takes longer than expected and this happens even more in the online world.
  5. Finally, take note of those things that you could use for the next session so that this list of good practices will keep growing. There is always room for improvement.