By Donna Harding, Marketing Manager, NAL Ltd
With those of us who can work from home told to continue to do so by the Prime Minister in his last address to the nation, I thought it was appropriate to share the strategies we at NAL have implemented to remain productive throughout this restrictive period. The “react and adapt” approach to Covid-19 moving forward, echoes the approach we have adopted in relation to our services and has guaranteed our customers have continued to benefit from the solutions we have to offer. Thankfully, the changes we have made collectively have ensured we all remain extremely busy and my husband for one has been grateful I haven’t been able to find too may new home improvement projects!
With all of us now governed by the regulations of social distancing, we found ourselves in the unprecedented position of no longer being able to offer our traditional Demonstration Days, Lunch and Learns or Toolbox Talks. Over the years these sessions have been invaluable to NAL – so often providing us with the necessary feedback to continue to develop innovative solutions.
As we began working from home, initial calls to customers, centred around staying safe and the ramifications of the restrictions imposed upon us. Day by day the gravity of the working situation we found ourselves in increased, and it was clear remote working was here for the foreseeable future. Identifying an overwhelming need to remain connected under the restraints of social distancing, we had to react. During one of many calls between the marketing and sales teams, we discussed the possibilities of adapting our existing services, in order to deliver them remotely through a series of CPD accredited webinars. With some initial trepidation, having never adopted this approach before, we forged ahead. Today, with nearly 750 attendees and 12 webinars behind us and with further sessions scheduled, normal service has resumed, albeit virtually!
I thought it was worth sharing some of the lessons we’ve learnt over the last few weeks and some points we had to consider in delivering our webinars;
Tips for Hosting Webinars
Review condense and use supporting images to substantiate content.
In the absence of reliance upon the reaction and participation of a live audience, our presentations were condensed and re-worked into a story format to keep audiences engaged. Relevant images and film footage were selected to support content and enhance understanding.
Practice, practice, practice and then practice again.
Unable to read the body language of the audience and uncomfortable with silences they were not used to, our Business Development Managers (BDM) were initially talking too fast. We went back to basics and got them to practice presenting within the time frame available.
Show the slides, images and footage – not the person presenting.
Children in the background and unfinished DIY projects are distracting to the audience – we have also had an incident where a BDM took a drink to quench his thirst and spilt the entire contents over himself during his webinar. Thankfully the audience remained unaware and he carried on regardless!
Have a ‘back up’ presenter in place.
Although technology and its advancement has been vital to enable us to carry on – it isn’t always reliable. A WI-FI issue that affected an entire town saw one of our presenters disappear 15 minutes in during a webinar. Thankfully another presenter in another city was able to ‘jump on’ and take his place.
Provide additional support.
We decided to include a panel of experts on our webinars to answer questions from delegates during presentations. Panellists can use an ‘answer privately’ function to address queries as they arise, without interrupting the presentation.
Points to Consider
Choose your medium.
We decided on Zoom, mainly due to a process of elimination as many of our customers couldn’t access Skype or Microsoft Teams. However, we have also been able to benefit from the features Zoom has to offer as it enables us to send out reminders both the day before and, an hour before webinars are due to start. We are also able to thank delegates for attending and identify those who were unable to join and follow this up. Zoom also provides the opportunity to include our branding and provide delegates with our contact details and reminders advertising future webinars.
Offer bespoke sessions.
In a few isolated cases some of our customers are unable to access Zoom due to company IT restrictions, therefore we also offer to run bespoke sessions using a different platform such as Microsoft Teams or Skype. Others are juggling child care and home schooling need to meet at times to suit their other responsibilities.
Finally…offer a variety of topics.
We were overwhelmed by the requirement for places on our first webinar, fortunately we had adapted various presentations to be delivered remotely and were therefore able to maintain momentum and offer additional topics to keep up with demand.
I am surprised to find positives about the situation we find ourselves in. The impact of our new working constraints has given us the impetus to react, adapt and achieve our objective to make our webinars a success. As a direct result and by popular demand, we will be continuing to run our webinars in addition to our Demonstration Days, Lunch and Learn sessions and Toolbox Talks even when social distancing no longer dictates. Wherever you are in the UK, you can continue to “Stay Home” “Stay Safe” and “Learn” by joining a NAL webinar.
Click here for our latest webinars.