A 6-Week Training to Master the Design, Tech, Tools, and Mindset You Need to Lead Engaging, Impactful Virtual Experiences that Stand Out from the Crowd.

Join the pilot program January 11-February 22, 2023
Enrollment Is Now Closed-Get On the Waitlist

Attention leaders, facilitators, trainers, group therapists, and educators who host group experiences online:

Have you been getting by with “good enough” virtual sessions?

Are you ready to take your virtual experiences to more than you imagine they could be? 

Join this pilot program to learn the design, tech, and behind-the-scenes secrets you need to confidently create group virtual experiences that are not just productive, but memorable, fun, and exceed expectations.

The ability to facilitate virtually is an essential skill nowadays.

Even if you’ve been facilitating virtually for a while, and you have the basics down, you still ask yourself…

 

How can I make sessions that aren’t just engaging, but that exceed expectations?  I have a routine that’s working… but am I just running on autopilot? Or are there things I’m doing now that I shouldn’t be doing? 
What else can I do to get better at this so there’s more interaction, so that students have a better learning experience through the virtual classroom? Is there a better way to track and bank activities and session plans, so I’m not always reinventing the wheel?
Can we create an environment online that feels as close as possible to the energy we’d get being in a room together? What can I do to stay personally engaged and energized, keep my own energy high and not leave the session completely drained? 
Am I using the best engagement tools for the job? Is there anything I can do to alleviate that ever-present anxiety that my internet will crap out on me? And what will I do if it does?

You can have the confidence and mastery you desire! 

Join my 6-week pilot program (plus a bonus week for office hours = 7 weeks) and you will learn the skills, tools, and secrets to confidently lead participatory virtual experiences that will have attendees raving. Your online meetings, sessions, classes, or programs will stand out from the crowd as “engaging,” “memorable,” “energizing,” “impactful,” and even “fun”!

I will teach you how to:

…build an “engagement container,” that ensures engagement is happening before, during, and after your event.

…design experiences that take your participants on a journey to remember.

…bring the energy of “in-person” to your virtual sessions.

…create and scale connection, and intimacy, even if it’s a large group.

…select the right engagement tools to take your sessions to the next level, and get up to speed on them quickly.

…set up your physical space for success (lights, camera, background, monitor, building your “internet outage/power outage armor” setup, and more).

…use a virtual facilitator’s toolbox, so you’re organized and ready for anything.

“To succeed in this new world we all need to adopt a “beginners mind” and Melissa makes that a reality by providing a space of experimentation and discovery that is essential if we want to create genuinely engaging and energizing on line experiences.”

John Brewer

Conference Designer, Event Moderator, Facilitator, Ideax

Join the pilot program January 11-February 22, 2023

Enrollment Is Now Closed—Get On the Waitlist

“Such creative ways to engage team members! I’ll be recommending this workshop to friends and colleagues, because it’s really easy to disengage from virtual meetings and do other things. Your ideas give a reason to stay tuned.”

Christopher J. Wesley

Why This Is So Hard

You’re not alone! Facilitating online is a different animal from facilitating in-person.

Most people try to take what works in-person, and do it exactly the same on Zoom, Google Meet, or MS Teams. Then they wonder what went wrong! 

The thing is, virtual facilitation requires a completely different mindset.

When you learn the skills, tools, and secrets I teach, and start to think with the virtual mindset, everything becomes a whole lot easier!

You’ve already made an effort to make your virtual sessions engaging. Now you’re ready to step it up a notch, and take it to the next level.

You’re ready to take people on a transformative journey that has the energy of being in a room with them.

You’re ready to go from “okay” to “WOW!”

Join the pilot program January 11-February 22, 2023

Enrollment Is Now Closed—Get On the Waitlist

Why Work with Me?

Hi, I’m Melissa Dinwiddie! Former professional artist, creativity instigator, jazz singer, improviser, I now run a consultancy helping innovative companies, teams, and leaders have greater impact through play and creativity. Almost always virtually!

But let’s back up a minute. 

Until 2020, the work I did with companies was all in-person. 

But then COVID happened, and not long after the shut-down in March of 2020, I noticed that a lot of people were really struggling when it came to virtual meetings. 

Even the most skilled facilitators didn’t quite know how to get the same results they were used to. 

In my role as a creativity instigator, and online community leader, I’d been hosting virtual experiences since 2010 (I’m a Zoom early adopter, and I’d used every virtual platform known to humans), and I was part of a community of applied improvisation practitioners that was actively sharing ideas about what was working on Zoom. I was also scouring the internet for games and activities that create transformation, and that worked online.

And because everyone was suddenly on Zoom (or its equivalent), we were all part of a massive social experiment, and I was taking careful note of what worked, and what didn’t. And I knew I could help a lot of people who were struggling.

So in the Spring of 2020 I started offering workshops on how to lead “Non-Boring Virtual Meetings,” incorporating play-based activities I was curating from my research. 

Those Non-Boring Virtual Meetings workshops were so successful, some big companies, like Facebook, noticed and reached out to me to design virtual team offsites. 

Since then, I’ve led virtual creativity retreats, virtual play days, a virtual “recess” for managers at Google, designed virtual instructor-led trainings for a craft company, and delivered interactive virtual keynotes, on a variety of platforms. 

Meanwhile, I’ve continued to study how to improve the virtual experience for both participants and hosts.

Cut to the end of 2022. More than once I was approached about virtual facilitation training: was this something I could do, to take someone to the next level in their virtual facilitation? 

Well, yes… and it was immediately clear to me that this is a topic that would benefit from being taught in a cohort, rather than one-on-one. So I decided to share my secret sauce and offer this certification course as a pilot program. 😊   

Why Study with Me?

Imagine if you could…

Get feedback from your attendees “that was the most fun/engaging/energizing Zoom I’ve attended all year!”

Create memorable, standout experiences that attendees rave about because they’re so unique and different from the boring “talking head” webinars they’re used to

Be able to structure meetings well in a way that facilitates engagement and responses in the most meaningful way for your participants

Create an environment that feels as close as possible to the energy of being in a room together

Easily access new ways to draw people in and help them get present

Personally stay engaged and keep your own energy high throughout an event

Have an entire toolkit for setting your virtual meeting, event, or experience up for success, so you can relax

Never again worry about your internet connection or power going out on you

And make it all look and feel easy!

Let’s get you there!

I’ll help you master the design, technology, and delivery so you’re confident about leading engaging and impactful virtual experiences that stand out from the crowd, so you get stellar results, your participants rave, and people are knocking down your door to work with you.

Join the pilot program January 11-February 22, 2023

Enrollment Is Now Closed—Get On the Waitlist

“This great and fun event was an order of magnitude more effective than a regular meeting. The structure, the organization, the use of time, the interactions with other participants, the exercises, the fun we had while participating. I am still amazed by it! It was fun, it was enjoyable and most of all, it was far more effective than any regular meeting. Even the best regular meetings become boring when compared to this workshop. It should be called Amazing Effective Meetings!”

Nilce Alves dos Santos

Writer | Specialist in Mineral Processing Technology

What You’ll Learn

Draft! This is a pilot! Curriculum subject to change!

Session 1: Creating the Environment

As we enter our learning journey together, we’ll build our learning journey “container” by looking at what’s involved in creating an environment that sets a tone of engagement. I’ll also introduce you to my F.U.N. Method™.

Session 2: Designing the Journey

When we design a virtual experience, we take our participants on a journey, from Point A to Point B. I’ll share a framework I use to help make this journey engaging and transformational (and fun!).

Session 3. Creating & Scaling Connection

Learn techniques for “reading the room” (even if cameras are off!), weaving connection and engagement throughout a session, and breakout room best practices to create a sense of intimacy and connection in even the largest meeting.

Session 4: Tools of Engagement

What are the best ways to engage with participants? We’ll look at what goes into the decision of which engagement tools you use, from where to meet (Zoom, Teams, Meet, Butter, etc.), to native polls and whiteboards, to a range of external tools. I’ll also share some hacks for getting up to speed quickly with a new tool.

Session 5: Lights, Camera, Zoom!

I’ll take you into my studio to show you options and hacks for setting up your physical space: camera tips and options, lighting secrets, background options (green screens, virtual backgrounds pros and cons), secret acoustics settings and tips, using multiple monitors, plus I’ll share my recommendations for creating an “outage-proof” setup, so you never have to worry about your internet connection dying, or your power going out!

Session 6: Behind the Scenes

This is where the rubber hits the road. I’ll walk you through an actual session — from the design process, through to running the session. You’ll get to see the tools I use, how I set up my desktop, the “run of show,” how I work with a co-host/technical assistant, and all the logistics of planning and running a virtual experience.

(Bonus) Session 7: Office Hours

Bring any questions you have, or use the time to practice with my feedback!

Schedule

The pilot program is happening as a 6-week program from January 11 to February 15, 2023, with 2-hour training sessions on the following dates from 1-3 pm PST / 4-6 pm EST:

  • Wednesday, January 11
  • Wednesday, January 18
  • Wednesday, January 25
  • Wednesday, February 1
  • Wednesday, February 8
  • Wednesday, February 15

Plus a BONUS 1-hour Office Hour session on the following date:

  • Wednesday, February 22 – 1-2 pm PST / 4-5 pm EST

Additional 1:1 Dates for the Mastery Level

If you choose the MASTERY LEVEL package, you also get additional benefits, including a 60-minute Tech Setup Session, a 45-minute Session Review & Rehearsal, which we’ll schedule at times that work for both of us. (Note that these sessions must be used within the first 6 months of 2023.)

What’s Included

The FOUNDATION LEVEL includes all the essentials:

6 Live 2-hour Workshops where you’ll learn to design and facilitate engaging, memorable, impactful virtual sessions, and set up your space and process for success
1 Additional Office Hours session, to ask any additional questions you have
Recordings of all the sessions, to watch on your own time
Private Community, to ask questions, share ideas with other members, and get support 24/7
Additional Materials to save you time when planning your own virtual experiences (checklists, templates, guides…)
Certificate of Completion and virtual badge to share on social media, for those who attend all 6 live sessions

Plus, in the MASTERY LEVEL you also get:

60-min Tech Setup Session: You’ll get my personalized help to set up your tech
45-min Session Review & Rehearsal: Borrow my brain to get personalized feedback on your curriculum design, address any questions or concerns, and run-through any areas you want help with.
Feedback Review & Notes on your event video: Send me a video of your session (up to 60-min), and I’ll tell you what I think worked well, and what you might try differently next time.
Additional Collection of my favorite go-to activities
6 Recordings of my live Learning Lab workshops (not available elsewhere), so you can watch me in action, and see a variety of activities being run and debriefed
Set of emoji signs to use in your virtual meetings 

Who Is This For? 

Executives, group therapists, managers, facilitators, trainers, coaches, teachers, and anyone who creates participatory group experiences–whether meetings, sessions, conferences, or classes–on virtual platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, MS Teams, and wants their attendees, participants, or students to be more engaged and more connected with one another. 

You want to bring the benefits and energy you’d get in-person to your virtual sessions, and keep everyone engaged. 

More than that, you want to craft your sessions in a way that suits the needs of your attendees. 

And you want to not only make it look easy, you want it to feel easy, too. 

Note that this is NOT a Zoom 101 course. I will not be teaching the basics of how to run a Zoom meeting. You should feel comfortable leading sessions on virtual platforms like Zoom already, and be looking to take your facilitation to the next level. 

Enrollment closes on January 9, 2023

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Custom Workshops using LEGO® Serious Play®, applied improvisation and graphic faciliation in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley

Custom Training

For organizations

Looking to train your staff, managers, internal facilitators, or team members? Contact me about a customized training to meet your needs. You get:

 

  • Dedicated cohort
  • Customized curriculum
  • On your schedule

Our Commitment to Diversity

At over 80% female and white identifying, the larger events and experiences industry does not represent the population at large, due to centuries of systemic racism that have created generational disparities for Black and Brown communities. 

In an effort to make my trainings more accessible and inclusive to participants of all backgrounds, I’m offering a limited number of spots available at 50% off (the standard level of support), or the level of support that would make the program accessible to you

FAQs

When are the sessions happening?

Click here to see all the dates and times. Once you register I’ll send you a calendar invite for all the dates with all the details.

What if I can’t attend all the live sessions? Can I still participate?

Yes, all calls will be recorded and you can absolutely still participate. Be aware, though, that certification is only available to those who attend all 6 training sessions live.

What is the time commitment? Will there be homework?

The time commitment is 6 x 2-hour training sessions (one live call per week for 6 weeks), plus an optional 1-hour office hours session. There is no homework outside of class.

What is your cancellation/transfer/refund policy?

Registration is non-refundable. However, you may transfer your ticket to someone else for a $100 transfer fee if you let us know within 72 hours of the first class meeting by emailing my team at hello@creativesandbox.solutions. Please note that we will need to speak with the person you’re transferring to first, to make sure they’re a good fit for the program!

Can you do a custom training for my company/organization?

I love creating customized trainings for companies and organizations! I’ve worked with organizations from small nonprofits to big enterprises, and would be happy to speak with you about how I can help your organization.

Do you offer any discounts or scholarships?

In order to make this training as accessible as possible, I am offering financial assistance for those from under-represented communities. Please click here to apply.

I have another question that isn’t answered here

I’ll be happy to answer it! Email me at melissa@creativesandbox.solutions or click here.

Will you be offering this training again?

That’s the plan! The next training will likely be in Spring or Fall of 2023. Though be aware that the price will go up after it’s out of pilot. Sign up here to be the first to be notified when the next dates are confirmed: 

Be the first to be notified when dates for the next cohort are confirmed!

Drop your name and email below to get first dibs when enrollment opens for the next cohort! And check the box to also get tips from me on the regular.

This was the first Zoom meeting that didn’t leave me feeling drained (despite being an awfully extroverted activity for an introvert).

Heather Leide

Director, Airport Development, Metropolitan Airports Commission

Ready for your team to break through?

Book a Team Performance Assessment call now!