September 2022 Newsletter

Get Yourself "Off Book"

It’s “back to school” time. My daughters have returned to college. The house feels a little empty, truth be told. But this seasonal change is giving me renewed energy and focus. I invite you to join me in the next NetSpeed Nuggets session as we explore Six Theater Techniques to Enhance Virtual Learning (see below for more information).


Our approach to virtual training at NetSpeed Learning has been inspired by my background in Theater (I have a master’s degree in Directing from the University of Washington). When a group of actors begin to rehearse with a director, they usually begin with a written script. Often, the first few rehearsals involve reading the script together while sitting around a conference table. A good director will begin to clarify and explain the structure, the themes, and the characters in the play.


Some directors like to get the actors up and moving early in the rehearsal process. But getting everyone moving is hindered if any one of the actors has failed to memorize their lines. In the theater, knowing your lines is called being “off book.” It’s essential to the creative process that the actors master their lines as quickly as possible. Out of that mastery arises the freedom to explore, react, and respond to their fellow actors.


Let’s connect getting “off book” to facilitating an engaging virtual training experience. The more a facilitator masters the content they present, the better the learning experience for participants. A facilitator reading a training script aloud is usually boring. Either the facilitator’s voice becomes flat and monotone as they read, or their voice becomes singsong, much a like a first-grade teacher might sound reading a story.


But beyond how boring the trainer is when they are tied to their “book”, they lose the opportunity to connect with and engage the participants in the virtual training session. It’s fine to have brief notes ready to make sure you state a fact correctly. But reading from those notes makes it harder for the facilitator to be fully present with the participants in the course. So, get yourself “off book” as quickly as possible and shift your focus from the content to the participants.


In our next NetSpeed Nuggets session, we will explore more techniques that theater professional use, and apply them to creating vibrant, engaging learning experiences. Join us at this 30-minute, complimentary session, Six Theater Techniques to Enhance Virtual Learning, on Wednesday, September 14, at 1:00 pm ET / 10:00 am PT. Registration is required.

Cynthia Clay Signature
Cynthia Clay
Virtual Trainer Tips
I’m proud to be a contributing author to the 3rd edition of ATD’s Handbook for Training and Talent Development (edited by Elaine Biech). My colleague, Cindy Hugget, and I wrote the chapter, “Designing and Delivering Virtual Training.” In our chapter, we share five tips for designing for interaction and five tips for delivering engaging virtual training.
With 57 chapters, written by 100 thought leaders, this is a valuable resource for talent development professionals that you will want to have on your bookshelf. You can buy it at the ATD website or for Kindle at the Amazon website

Cynthia Clay's Upcoming Speaking Events


Cynthia Clay delivers engaging, memorable keynotes that motivate people to take action. She combines humor, deep experience, and original insights to create interactive, engaging keynotes and workshops. Coming up next:


TechLearn 2022 Conference

Achieving Maximum Retention: Brain-based Learning Principles for the Virtual Classroom

September 21, 11:00 am-12:00 noon CT

Austin, Texas


LEAPS Learning and Performance Summit

Hybrid Training Models that Work (Keynote)

September 23, 8:00 am-9:30 am CT

San Antonio, Texas



Here are some comments from a recent in-person conference:


“Great, applicable information. She is personable, fun, and informative.”


“Cynthia was very engaging and informative, and provided meaningful content related to the listed topic. She did very well engaging our audience.”


“The variety of activities and interaction was much appreciated. I also felt like the session had a wealth of useable information.”


“Very engaging! The presenter has great presentation skills.”

NetSpeed Nuggets

Join us at the next NetSpeed Nuggets virtual session. These 30-minute, rapid learning sessions will introduce strategies and tactics that increase your effectiveness in the virtual workplace.

Virtual Training: Six Theater Techniques to Enhance Virtual Learning

Imagine that your virtual training is so lively and compelling that people clamor to attend. Even for dry or dull topics, most learning professionals prefer to design and deliver engaging virtual learning experiences.

In this session, we will take a page from the stage, exploring six theater techniques that are guaranteed to uplevel your effectiveness in the virtual classroom. Take your virtual and hybrid training to the next level by acting more like a theater professional.

Wednesday, September 14th, 1:00 pm ET/10:00 am PT. Complimentary.

Learn More and Register

Become a Certified Online Learning Facilitator

Now is the time to build stronger virtual facilitation skills!

The Sept/Oct 2022 Virtual Facilitator Trainer Certification (VFTC) course is now open for enrollment.

This popular course has received rave reviews from participants as it provides a deep-dive into best practices for virtual facilitation and design.

Now it's your turn to rock the virtual classroom! The Sept/Oct course opens on Thursday, Sept 15 with the first webinar on Thursday, Sept 22nd.

Become a Virtual Producer

Every virtual facilitator needs a capable virtual training producer.

As a skilled virtual training producer, you perform a critical role by supporting the virtual facilitator behind the scenes, manage the technology that can sometimes distract from the online learning experience and free the facilitator to focus on the content and the learners’ needs.

Develop your skills in our September Virtual Producer Training! Class starts Thursday, Nov 4th. Pre-webinar assignments start Thursday, Oct 27th.

Read More Client Testimonials
One Final Thought

Download our ebook, Create Great Hybrid and Virtual Training for tips and practical techniques for hybrid training.

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