Remote Ideation on Miro

3 ways to spice up Remote Workshops

Ever since this pandemic started, there’s been a lot of coverage on how to run remote workshops and remote facilitation. For me, it’s a new experience. Here are 3 things I’ve tried to close the distance of remote workshops.

1. Add some background music to liven things up

When facilitating in-person workshops, facilitators may play some background music during ideation activities to break the silence and stimulate creativity. How do you do that online?

Sure, you can play songs on your phone and put it close to your microphone but what participants hear from their end isn’t going to be great.

The folks at Rogue Amoeba (Strange name. Great software.) created this amazing app, Loopback, which I’ve been using for a while now.

Rogue Amoeba's Loopback
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It allows you to route sounds from any sources into a virtual audio input channel which you can then select on the audio settings of the conferencing apps you use such as Zoom, Google Meet, MS Teams and etc.

For example, if you add Spotify as your source, then any sounds from Spotify will be heard by the folks on the other side. This allows you to play your favourite Workshop Playlist during those minutes of brainstorming.

“These elevator music makes me feel like I’m back in office having a workshop” – participant

2. Add Sound Effects

Once you discover the wonders of background music, try sound effects 😏. Virtual crowd cheers and drum roll are easily found on Youtube, and again, by combining this source with Loopback you can introduce sound effects to your workshop.

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Personally, I found another of their app Farrago perfect for this. Farrago is a software-based soundboard that fires up sound bites or effects using keyboard shortcuts. Option-R for a clock ticking sound to let participants know time is running out or Option-T for some crowd cheer to celebrate the participant’s effort.

While sound effects can never replace the real applause and cheer, it can add some fun to your remote workshops. But remember! Use them sparingly and don’t annoy others, it can get addictive firing Laser or Bike Bell sounds.

3. Make any of your microphones noise cancelling

Not everyone works in a quiet environment. You may have kids shouting, dogs barking, or even cats meowing. The worst, a fan blowing in your direction! 

As a facilitator, ensuring you sound clear and audible to participants is important as that’s the only ‘cue’ participants have.  In fact, whether you are a facilitator or a participant, I’d encourage you to make sure you sound clear and audible so that everyone gets the most out of the session.

To do this, I use Krisp to remove noise in my background and also to remove the background noise from the others.

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I’ve also written an article on how to use Krisp. Give Krisp a try and if you’d like, here’s 1 month of free Pro for you 🙂

Disclaimer: I’m sharing Rogue Amoeba’s app because I really like their products and benefited from using them. They don’t have an affiliate programme so this isn’t a sponsored post. If you know of any other free or cheaper solutions, leave it in the comments for the benefit of everyone!

Good luck with your next online workshop!

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Design coach, Lift buttons enthusiast, Creator of bad puns. @IxDA Regional coordinator for Asia. Let’s make things better!