I still remember. I used to travel a lot – to seminars at clients’ or education partners’ premises. Usually it was a half or full day event with a delicious lunch, exchange between participants and an “experience” for those who attended the seminar.
Today, this world already looks different. I am hardly ever on the road as a speaker. In fact, most events are now online. When I talked to my former colleague about this, my opinion was: “I don’t think this will change any more. The continuing education sector will be much more online”. She replied: “Are you sure? I often find myself struggling to concentrate and listen all day in such an online event”.
That’s right! It is not a question of taking events from offline to online format. Rather, the question is when which format is the most appropriate and what the future may bring us in customs and export processing.
You know how it is – at the beginning of every seminar there is planning. Where do I have to go? Is the trip already planned and booked? Do I have all the necessary documents with me? On site, the first meeting in the face-to-face seminars is the welcome round. Everyone gets to know each other a little and a kind of community feeling develops. You exchange information about the content, discuss it and can start interacting with each other directly. From the speaker’s perspective, the feedback and the mood of the group can be felt very well and is also visible from the body posture. How often have you thought after such a day: “Man, that was really interesting and also fun”. It is not uncommon for new contacts and relationships, new networks and even friendships to develop from these face-to-face meetings. At the end of the day, it’s time to go home again, after which you’re just glad to get home.
Today, with online seminars or trainings, you can simply reduce the time required for organisation. For example, if you have a training of 4 hours, it allows you to do things both before and after. Even with all-day seminars, you are much more flexible. You are independent of location, whether as a participant or speaker, you have no organisational effort with room and travel costs, and there is no travel time. Often, the online trainings are also more effective, as all external influences are reduced to a minimum. For you, this means that the offers are simply shorter and more specific to your needs. A prerequisite for this, however, is an adaptation of the methodology of the respective instructor. The needs of online training are different from those of face-to-face training. Starting with the necessary technical infrastructure, the motivation over the distance up to the solution and design of an interactive training. First and foremost, you should make sure that you are familiar with the online training tool and how to use it. This way you avoid unnecessary delays, which can also lead to dissatisfaction within the group of participants.
But how exactly can you implement this? What are the possibilities for online training? In order to be able to give you some tips, you should first find out exactly what kind of webinar you are planning. Ask yourself the questions: What is the goal of the webinar? As a consultant, do I want to convey solutions to my client or rather expertise to a group? What functions should my tool have in any case? How many participants will there be in the training? Should everything be recorded? And finally, how much should this tool cost? Some good tools for online seminars are: Miro, Lucidchart, Mentimeter, or Zoom, mikogo, or GoMeetNow. There are no limits to the design, depending on your needs. Once you have chosen the right tool, you can use games, surveys, whiteboards, group work in virtual rooms to actively involve all participants and thus turn the webinar into an experience without anyone switching off or falling asleep. You can also make the breaks more interesting and lively for the participants. Maybe you include some music for a while, or offer the participants a virtual lounge where they can exchange ideas and talk.
A quote from an event on “the future of education” reads: “Technology will not replace the speaker. But speakers who don’t use technology will be replaced by those who do.” So one does not exclude the other. The important thing is how you can make the most of both now.
In the past, the target group for seminar providers was much more local, i.e. they often limited themselves geographically to a certain radius. But if you wanted to grow, you often had to open up new locations. Today it’s different: through social media and the online presence of the offered portfolio, you can easily book seminars online, regardless of location. Even more so, if we think, for example, of US report control law or other areas of law. The online market and trade can now also tap into much larger markets and target groups. At the same time, you save the costs of rooms and catering and the organisational effort involved. But it is also important to change the offer. Simply changing the presence offer and adopting the same approach will not work in the long run. The online offers for the participants must be adapted through special tools and methods of the speakers, so that people can network, exchange and be picked up at online seminars in the future.
It is now much easier than before for entrepreneurs to offer compliance and awareness training via, for example, LMS platforms such as Memeberspot, Kajabi or Looop. Participants are no longer on the road for whole days, but can sometimes use only 2 hours for a special training through a flexible webinar offer. Thus, the combination of work and training is much easier, and the digital affinity is much higher due to the trainings. Since the selection of free webinars with good content on the market is increasing, it is important to look carefully where I can get which information. Because knowledge is available online almost indefinitely, and at any time.