The COVID-19 outbreak creates a critical need to consider other options for delivering DISC.
These are uncertain times and uncharted territory with the COVID-19 outbreak causing us to implement social distancing. It has made in-person DISC training highly challenging, and in some cases even impossible. The good news is we don’t have to stop DISC training; we can use virtual training as an effective and productive option.
Our role as DISC trainers and consultants is being altered by the current pandemic. We may feel like we are scrambling to find alternatives. At Extended DISC we hope the following information provides you with a grounding point to continue your practice of delivering DISC effectively.
How can I deliver virtual DISC sessions effectively?
You will need to consider the purpose of your session and the expectations of your participants. Never forget why you are conducting the session.
You do not have to reinvent the wheel. Oftentimes, the training materials you have can be adapted to online learning. We use the 4 Steps to Effective Communication as our template for a variety of DISC trainings including sales, leadership, and team development. See below for available resources to build your own sessions.
Determine what online meeting or training platform you will be using (i.e. WebEx, GoToMeeting, Zoom, etc.) and get it set up. Don’t forget to practice using your online meeting app before your first session. This includes knowing how to send out invitations to the session and going live. This will help you to minimize technical difficulties, as well as familiarize you with all the platform's features.
How can I prepare my participants for online learning?
Prepare your participants for the session if possible. Would they benefit from having a copy of your PowerPoint in a PDF file? Your S and C-styles would likely feel more comfortable. You can always put it on your learning management system (LMS) or other virtual file application as an option for them to download.
Also, some participants may not know why they are attending your training. A simple introduction before your session is to have them watch the quick 3-minute Introduction to Extended DISC video. We often notice people enjoy learning about themselves, regardless of how the session is done. So, you are likely to start off on a positive note!
When should I send out DISC reports?
Just like any DISC session, you will need to determine how soon to send out invitations to the session and the Extended DISC® Questionnaire. The timing for your participants to receive their reports can improve their understanding of their DISC results. Ideally, it would be best is the participants receive their results during the session, but that is not always possible virtually. It can end up diverting their attention from the session itself if they are reading through their report for the first time.
One option, if you are conducting a one-time session, is to email their reports a day or two prior to session along with a reminder of the session date and time. You can include a note in the email to remind them to have a copy of report handy, preferably printed out. You can let them know that they will need the report to follow along during the session.
If you are using a multi-session virtual DISC training approach then the recommendation is that you complete the first session that provides an understanding of the DISC styles and then email out the reports. Participants will then have a better understanding of how of read their results and ask questions during upcoming sessions.If you plan to email Extended DISC® Assessments and need instructions for reordering reports, please refer to Extended DISC® Client Resource Site.
Virtual DISC training toolbox
We have over 15 years of experience in training our clients virtually. We have a wide range of resources, videos, and materials that were designed for virtual training applications. We have created a virtual DISC training toolbox which includes PowerPoint presentations, agendas with timing, and additional resources. They include:
- 4 Steps to Effective Communication DISC Workshop
- Understanding DISC Styles (Step 1)
- Understanding Our Own DISC Style (Step 2)
- Identifying the DISC Styles of Others (Step 3)
- Adjusting Our Style for Success (Step 4)
We wrote some notes in the PowerPoint to help you along. We still would encourage you to add your own facilitation style. Remember, there’s not one right way to do it. We have the basic content here which you’re welcome to use. You can find these training tools on our Client Resource Site.
Additional Extended DISC Resources
At Extended DISC® we are committed to providing our clients with resources for virtual delivery of our assessments. We want to ensure facilitators can continue to improve the performance of their employees and clients. As our active client, you have access to our Client Resource Site which houses a large amount of virtual training materials, exercises, PowerPoints®, handouts and more. We also have training videos, webinars and blogs on our Extended DISC website to assist you in delivering DISC virtually, and for your clients to understand DISC more effectively. A helpful hint is to use the "Search" field to find specific topics of interest.
When thinking about your participants, consider support materials you can email such as exercises and handouts to raise the level of engagement and interactivity. Some of the more popular DISC workshop handouts include My Communication Strategy Worksheet and How Do I Relate? Worksheet. You can find these worksheets, as well as a wide range of activities, on our Client Resource Site.
Trainer preparation tips to be more efficient
Just like with any training, you need to know your material. We suggest you review your materials (e.g., 4 Steps to Effective Communication Workbook, PowerPoint slides, and agenda). Print out the PowerPoint Presentation in Notes format for tips and facilitator notes to review, take notes, and have them available during a live session.
Getting to know your audience will also help you be better prepared. For example, generate a list of participants names. If possible, include their role in delivering DISC to their organization and their goals for going through your DISC workshop.
You can use the Extended DISC® Name Map to review the overall DISC-styles distribution of your group. For example, you may need to remind yourself to slow down and answer questions in more detail if your participants tend to be more reserved. If your group is more task-oriented, you may want to focus more on the big picture and individual exercises. Apply your own DISC knowledge to prepare for your session.
Tips for running your virtual session
It's important to respect your clients time online so have a timepiece to stay on schedule. Log on before a live session to check for internet connectivity, learn how to mute participants, activate video and audio, share PowerPoint presentation, etc.
Set session ground rules (e.g., encourage questions, breaks, one person talks at a time, personal DISC reports and exercises available to reference) to ensure the session runs smoothly.
If your audience is larger you may consider how to minimize distractions (e.g., turn off phone and apps on computer to prevent alerts). You will likely need to build in extra time and consider more interactive activities to keep your remote group of learners engaged.
Whenever possible, turn on your video camera and encourage participants to do the same in order to create a more personable and engaging session. Make sure your audience knows how to raise their virtual hand and encourage them to ask questions. Keep up your energy to share with your audience! Remember, you are a great virtual trainer because you are already a great trainer!
Tips for following up after your virtual session
We have Extended DISC® Reinforcement Reports, designed to reinforce your client’s ongoing DISC training. These reports focus on specific targeted areas, such as time management, maximizing strengths, and handling pressure situations. Your clients can keep practicing confident self-awareness and learning how to modify their behaviors to become more successful. Best of all, they do not need to retake the Extended DISC® Questionnaire. Typically, Extended DISC® Reinforcement Reports are emailed to clients automatically. We recommend following a 30-45-day interval schedule to reinforce behavioral modification. You determine what reports to use and when to use them. You know your participants and clients best.
Training others to understand DISC and learning DISC yourself is now easier due to our series of DISC training videos which are great as post-training reinforcement. These training videos remind participants of the four DISC styles and the importance of DISC assessments.
You can also do a brief virtual check-in to follow up on assigned homework, hear how they are putting their learning into practice, or answer any other questions they may have now that they are applying DISC. The most important thing, regardless of what method you use for follow-up, is to do it. Your clients know how to use it, but consistent application; which comes from reinforcement, ensures it will be used to make them more successful.
Regardless of whether we are face-to-face or in these virtual settings, we continue to practice what we teach. We own our style, practice identifying styles of others virtually, and modify our own styles to be more effective in our interactions. You got this.
There is not one best way to deliver DISC. We have provided you with curriculum templates; just add your own expertise and personal touches. Our team of Extended DISC® coaches are ready to help you to deliver effective, virtual training programs. Please let us know how we can better assist you.
Most importantly, we value our relationship with you as our client, friend, and colleague. We want you to be safe and healthy so we can all come out of this better and stronger.