A deep dive into virtual facilitation with Gwyn Wansbrough
Virtual facilitator. Experience designer. Coaching course creators. Consulting with organizations. Gwyn Wansbrough does many things but they all boil down to one passion: helping others design and lead exceptional live virtual experiences. As the world has shifted to embrace online modalities with the help of the pandemic, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a huge opportunity to collaborate better and learn together online. Accessibility barriers have been removed, allowing for the creation of a new playbook.
With so much of the space unexplored, Gwyn founded Breakthrough Facilitation—a live online course for professionals who lead online groups. After working in both the in-person and online spaces, she’s found that people need help navigating this new space to facilitate group experiences online. The course teaches a framework for leading consistently high quality live online experiences, and StreamAlive is one of the many tools at her disposal.
From watching the chat scroll by and knowing that no message is getting lost, to simply clicking a button to find all asked questions, Gwyn found that StreamAlive just acted as a tool to do the work of many. When she first heard about it and was first introduced to it, she mentioned, “this is something that I really want to bring into Breakthrough Facilitation, not only because it makes my job easier in leading an engaging meeting, but it also has been a really useful tool to the people who are in my Breakthrough Facilitation course that they can use in their own live experiences.”
StreamAlive solves many of the headaches that a person faces as a virtual facilitator by making the process frictionless. Running a poll and just being able to drop your answer right in the chat and have the results come up straight away is something that Gwyn hasn't seen on any other platform. When integrated with StreamAlive’s Run of Show feature, this allows facilitators to control their time effectively. Watch how Gwyn uses her favourite StreamAlive feature—Magic Maps—to learn that she’s talking to people around the globe.
Preparation is such a key part of coaching and education, and in preparation for her live online sessions, Gwyn creates detailed outlines. However, it’s easy to stray from the plan when presenting so she’s learned to allow herself to improvise over the years. To do so, she focuses on setting up clear intentions for (1) the purpose of the session, and (2) the transformation she wants her students to have in her sessions. StreamAlive’s Run of Show feature allows her to think in more dimensions than one, focusing on what her students will gain from her. Watch as StreamAlive collects all of her questions for her so that she can access them at once without having to narrate the chat:
Gwyn has trained over a thousand professionals to become exceptional virtual facilitators: She's coached talented course creators like Billy Broas founder of the Keystone Accelerator to mentors of Write of Passage. She has led interactive sessions with community platform Circle.so, the World Innovation Education Summit (WISE) and the International Association of Facilitators (IAF). Her thoughts? We are still at the beginning stages of learning how to untap the potential of working and learning together online.
Stay up to date on Gwyn’s musings through her free weekly newsletter The Quest, check out her website, and follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter. If you’re interested in virtual facilitation, learn more about Gwyn’s 6-week live online course Breakthrough Facilitation here.