10 Top Tips For Virtual Trainers From a Quality Assurance Expert

Virtual training comes with it's own challenges. Here, Mark Smith, an Expert Trainer and Curriculum Writer at People1st give us some crucial tips on how to prepare and commence a virtual workshop in a way that will ensure learners listen and retain information for time to come.

Mark Smith, Expert Trainer and Curriculum Writer at People1st International, has nearly 10 years of experience working in education design and training delivery – including lecturing positions in further education, commercial training and work-based learning.

In today’s environment, virtual training delivery and facilitation are critical skills for trainers. Even for those with experience, running training sessions using web-based platforms is a completely different experience to classroom, training room or face to face delivery.

There are many things to manage when delivering a virtual session. Here are some best practice suggestions that will stand you in good stead:

In advance of the session

  1. Check your settings: Ensure all of the features required are switched on and check for any restrictions that are in place so you’re fully informed of the tools and techniques available to you on the platform you’re using.
  2. Set your media: Ensure you have a photo uploaded and prepare a virtual background that looks professional and avoids distraction.
  3. Prepare for the session: Make sure you’re ready to deliver – proofread and rehearse the content. Practice using the platform and hold a trial run to ensure all aspects go smoothly.

 Just before you start

  • Dress to impress: Dress appropriately for the training session and make sure your appearance is neat and groomed.
  • Set the right environment: Set up in a quiet place – minimise interruptions and external noise, tidy up your surroundings and get rid of any clutter. Putting a clock somewhere visible will also help you keep track of time during the session.
  • Avoid distractions: Avoiding distractions is easier when you don’t have them in your face. Turn off your phone, other devices and notifications and close down any unnecessary applications.
  • Check your tech: Make sure your connection and the platform are all working as expected and check your camera position, plus the lighting and audio quality.

At the start of the session

  • Be early: Be there early and make sure you start on time, with your camera switched on.
  • Welcome people: Greet people as they join and start the conversation with a huge, infectious smile and be as warm and expressive as you can.
  • Make your introductions: Introduce the platform and run an orientation if necessary, set your ground rules and inform people if you are recording the session.

Developing your virtual training delivery style

Before you can plan and write content for delivery on a virtual platform you need to know the platform and its functionality and to recognise your own technical capabilities. You also need to understand your own online delivery style: How well do you know your delivery style? Will telling jokes be as effective on a virtual platform? Will pregnant pauses still have the same desired effect? Will long anecdotes still capture people’s imagination in the same way?

You’ll need to adapt or develop a style specifically for delivering on a virtual platform. It doesn’t have to be a huge shift from your face-to-face persona, but it should be tailored to ensure that your participants can get the best from the virtual training sessions that you deliver.

Engaging your audience

A good way to start planning engaging content is to ask yourself the question ‘What would I like the group to be able to do?’ followed by investigating what digital solutions are available that will help you to achieve this.

An approach that you sometimes see is people making a big effort with something flashy at the start of a session as a hook to engage people. Whilst this is a good start, when delivering content virtually, you cannot solely rely on a show-stopping opener at the beginning to hold people’s attention for the full session. Participants on a virtual platform can easily become distracted, therefore you must think about other ways to keep the whole group engaged throughout the whole session.


The human brain can process pictures and imagery much more efficiently than lots of text. The key to successful communication in virtual workshops is to maximise the impact of your content by making it visually appealing.


Best practices for delivering virtual classroom training

There are many things to manage when delivering a virtual session. Here are our top three tips on virtual training for trainers:

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare: In advance of the session check your features and settings, rehearse your content and practice using the platform
  2. Clarity and speed: To maximise the effectiveness of your delivery during the session, speak clearly, explain thoroughly, pace yourself and use micro pauses
  3. Encourage engagement: Know your audience, keep it light and invite and target questions, use emoticons, check the chat and indicate when to add comments

Transition your skills for virtual delivery with a train the trainer course online

Whether you’re a professional trainer, freelance trainer, in-house trainer or teacher and want to develop your trainer skills to deliver virtual classroom training and become a certified online trainer, People 1st International can help.

The Certificate in Virtual Delivery train the online trainer programme has been designed to cover all the key issues from how to plan, write and adapt content for virtual delivery to the ability to manage virtual sessions and keep learners engaged. It also includes tools and techniques for assessment.

Here’s what one of our attendees had to say:

“I attended the Certificate in Virtual Training to find out and practice the skills required to plan and deliver virtual training using platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams before having to face a ‘live audience’ for the first time. Using virtual platforms is not easy as it is not particularly intuitive.  The programme really helped me understand the importance of planning how to approach a virtual session and it was so beneficial to have an expert to demonstrate and explain the different techniques and tools available. It has certainly given me the confidence to deliver virtually and made my role much less challenging and stressful!”

– Tim Ripper, Creative Learning Solutions

This was a guest blog written by People1st International, check out their courses here. Or if you want to contribute your own content, please get in touch.

This post was last modified on 17 June 2021

Nola Garavaglia-McGann

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