UpStart’s Guide to Facilitating in the Virtual World

Facilitating in the Virtual World UpStart how-to guide
by Taylor Epstein, Managing Director, Learning & Design

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We’re thrilled to release a brand-new guide called “Facilitating in the Virtual World: 26 interactive exercises to engage participants at all stages of the learning journey.” As so many ventures in the UpStart network began to pivot their programs to the virtual realm at the beginning of the health crisis, we saw a need for more resources for engaging participants and learners – whether they’re in a board meeting or a Jewish afterschool program – digitally.

And we know that nearly everyone in the UpStart network is a facilitator – whether they’re an entrepreneurial rabbi facilitating a program for their community, an institutional leader navigating a team meeting, or a funder conducting a small group conversation with key stakeholders.

At UpStart, our team has been facilitating programs for bold leaders from all areas of Jewish life for nearly two decades. Over the past several months, we’ve seen how so many people need to adapt their current program from in-person to virtual. This is both a challenge and an opportunity.

Virtual facilitation is a chance to think creatively and design an environment for your participants that is fresh and meets their current needs.

Zoom, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime are all newer technologies for the facilitation environments, but remember that a pencil and paper are also forms of technology that we can easily integrate into facilitation. It’s also an opportunity to include more people with different learning styles, in varied locations, and with different access needs in your programs or meetings.

As you transform your environment to the virtual space, consider how you can take specific technologies and leverage them to create real impact and meaningful interactions with your participants. This guide is designed to help you adapt and create a new participant experience, in which you can build off of your past programs and meet your participants wherever they are in their learning journeys.

This guide is applicable for many settings, including traditional classroom environments, meetings within your organization, gatherings with external stakeholders, and more. All of the activities in this guide work best with groups of 30 people or less, as most activities rely on participants interacting with one another.

We’d love to hear how your facilitation goes! Feel free to reach out to us: to share stories or ask questions.

Our purpose is to enable entrepreneurs to bring bold Jewish ideas to light. We help them reach Up to people in new ways that are meaningful, more inclusive, and create a brighter future for our Jewish community and the world we share.

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