Online Skill-Building Sessions that Don’t Suck

You’ve probably found Presentation 101 training isn’t enough when you’re crafting online interactive experiences with partners, colleagues and clients.

We built Mach49 initially to support intense, face-to-face teaming. You all know the basics of effective team activities: clear agenda, define goals, blah blah blah. However as we shift interactions online into focused 1-2 hour sessions, I’ve noted four success principles that weren’t obvious at first…


Attendees engage much better if they can choose their areas of focus. Rather than a canned exercise, it’s best to (a) provide multiple topic areas for attendees to select, and (b) allow groups to self-assemble around topic areas.


Looming deadlines are energizing! Exercise teams working remotely need clear (and near) deadlines to deliver output, and must understand exactly what result is expected. A digital timeclock is a big help.


Each team should expect to present their output to the entire group. No one wants to look like an unprepared donkey in front of the full audience, even on a screen.


Competition is helpful. Teams should understand that they’ll benefit if they provide great output. Figure out a motivating award. Examples are prizes, seed funding, and recognition from senior leadership.

You’ll need these trick to keep your audience engaged in the activities. Remember…ATTENTION IS THE SCARCEST RESOURCE IN 21st CENTURY BUSINESS.

Do you have a fifth principle to add? Something you’ve discovered since your world changed in early March? Let me know.