The Secret to Engaging people remotely — Daniel Stillman
VARK refers to “Visual, Auditory, (W)ritten and Kinesthetic learning types. Although the theory is contested, it’s still a good shorthand for engagement. While you can’t really diagnose and customize for a specific learning style, adults usually claim to excel in one over the other. I like to make sure I move around the VARK circle early and often. When I work with leaders on developing their facilitation approach I like to get them to think about what other types of variety they might use to engage people. Any one of these modes of engagement can get boring if overused! The code word is variety! Spectrums to create variety across include: Visual: I love to get people to sketch their ideas on paper…it’s a cheat, because it also uses written communications and is highly kinesthetic. It’s a 3-for-1 Auditory: Clear instructions, judicious use of music (one facilitator invited folks to play their own music during a silent, muted brainstorm. Written communications: Anchoring the conversation in written text, either in slides, in chat or in a shared document can create engagement if not overused. Kinesthetic modes: Like stretching, or using objects in their space. Conversational Size, Interpersonal to Intrapersonal: ie, making time for small and large conversations, including time for individuals to think. Tempo or Cadence: making time for short, focused bursts and more slowed down conversations. Control or Power: Making space for structured work as well as creating space for unstructured, decontrolled or decentralized conversations. Patterns: I am a huge fan of breakouts and “think-pair-share” but even that can get boring if over-used. Leveraging a greater variety of group conversational patterns, like round-robin, popcorn-style share outs or fishbowl conversations.