Virtual Support Sessions: VSS for Pathways
Pathways Guides across the world have been conducting online training for VPEs and others, to help them with their leadership roles. Thousands of hours of volunteer time and effort has been implemented steadily since early last year when the first rollout of Pathways began. The Guides were required to provide a virtual support service 15 times during their term of office. These may have been: one on one training, small group training or large group training opportunities. Guides have used a variety of web conferencing tools and have engaged attendees in easy training webinars and workshops online.
Virtual support sessions enabled club leaders to view presentations, ask questions and to network with others who were at the beginning of their Pathways journeys. The VSS concept was embraced enthusiastically by the Guides and seen as a most pro-active method of contributing to club leadership training.
VSS was a strategic, targetted program of club leadership training initiated by WHQ at Toastmasters International.
The Guides were supported through a series of online webinars in which they were able to view demonstrations of navigation in Base Camp and listen to a series of FAQ and answers about Pathways. These were scheduled and conducted by WHQ personnel who were skilled as Trainers of Pathways Guides.
Vital Support Sessions: VSS for Club Leadership Training Online
I am proposing a slight change to the term VSS – Vital Support Sessions. We need to move forward and ensure that clubs can integrate Pathways smoothly during the transition period to June 2020. Many districts are now setting up a framework for that ongoing support, including the appointment of special Pathways Champions and scheduling of Online Workshops.
I recommend the use of District focused VSS – Vital Support Sessions, as a method of providing ongoing leadership training opportunities, for new club executive officers. These can be used for the incoming executives for specific and strategic training in Pathways:
- choosing a Path; accessing Base Camp; completing projects, completing levels and Paths
- accessing online resources and learning tutorials
- roles and responsibilities of Base Camp managers including verifying completions and submitting awards at Club Central
- club management tools and strategies to assist with the tracking, scheduling and recording of Pathways projects
- Toastmasters Mentoring projects for supporting the members progress in Pathways
Training for VSS on Pathways
When the Guides in D73 were needing some training in how to prepare, structure and facilitate a virtual support session, I created a set of slides to step through the process and ran a couple of live interactive sessions. You can download the complete slide deck here.
A few of the slides are presented below to help others in preparing for VSS.
This is how a VSS may be prepared:
This is how the content of a VSS may be structured:
This how a VSS may be facilitated:
Here is an example of the scripting of your VSS:
Here is one way to add spice to the VSS with a Q & A segment:
Finally here is a method for introducing stories from attendees:
Lessons Learned: Scheduling
- Set a regular day of the week and time for the VSS
- Invite participation from leaders AND members of clubs in your area
- Follow up with emails to ensure that all club executives are included
- Setup a Facebook Group in which the VSS are scheduled as Events
- Alternatively, post the scheduled VSS sessions in your website, blog or district page
- Follow up with a link to the recording for attendees
Lessons Learned: Facilitating
- Be flexible and accommodating eg be a logistics manager to help newcomers
- Encourage participation in a variety of ways eg voice, text chat, screen sharing
- Do your preparation homework and be ready
- Have specific websites and resources open on desktop ready to share
- Appoint a timer and keep to time
- Finish with a reminder of the next session
For those using Zoom software, this second set of training slides will help!
If you are preparing for Club Leadership Training opportunities in your Online Clubs, this set of slides will be of interest.
If you are a member of an Online Club (or want to be ) and want to hear about the next Club Leadership Training being planned for Online Clubs on August 4/5, join us in the Online Alliance Meeting #15 scheduled for June 30 at this time converted to your zone at Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/5886309612