What's Better - Virtual or In-Person?
I assumed when the latest wave of COVID faded, people would be booking in-person media training. Some are, but many of my clients are keeping it virtual.
I did a quick count of the media training workshops I have booked for April and May. There are 14 of them and eight will be delivered in-person, but six will be done virtually. I expect to get a few more bookings for late April and May, so those numbers may change, but it's obvious virtual training isn't going away.
There are benefits to both in-person and virtual training, but some of the selling points of virtual training may surprise you.
The Power of YouTube
I did my last in-person media training workshop before the pandemic on March 7, 2020. Four days later, the pandemic was officially declared. I didn’t do a workshop in-person again until last November, something like 600-days after that one I did in 2020.
When the pandemic was declared, I remember thinking that I had better figure out how to do media training virtually because “This COVID thing could last for a few months.” Looking back on it though, I’m not sure I would have done anything differently if I would have known we’d be entering our third year of COVID.
I remember those days of trying to figure out the best equipment to get and how to set it up to do media training virtually. YouTube was my “go to” to find out how to do things. If I needed to figure something out, I would spend a half an hour looking at YouTube videos and had all my answers.
One video in particular was terrific. It was this one from Caleb Pike, who showed how to build a complete setup on one desk. The video has well over two million views and I think a couple of hundred of them were mine as I kept checking back to make sure I was doing it right. I recently bought different lighting and put it on stands and off my desk because I found the lighting looked better a little further back. You can see my key light in the photo above.
The other video that really helped was from Ben Johnson, who gave me the info I needed to use seamless paper to make my background look better. I moved into our daughter’s abandoned bedroom when the pandemic started and built my studio office. About 15-years ago, she wanted the walls painted a dark plum colour. When I moved in, I realized that trying to light my background was a real problem because of the dark colour on the walls. A roll of seamless grey paper took care of that (see below), but as you can see from the photo above, the other three walls in the room are still that colour.
Thank God I set myself up to deliver sessions virtually. Business dipped a little when the pandemic hit, but within a few months it was business as usual, with the only difference being instead of driving or flying to clients, I walked across the hall in the morning to start a workshop.
Virtual Has its Advantages
What’s better – doing media training virtually or in-person?
Each has its advantages. The list of benefits for virtual media training is actually longer than for training done in-person.
In late March, I did a series of media training workshops for the federal government. 36-people took the training and they were spread throughout Alberta and parts of BC. Everyone did the training online and many took it from their homes, because they hadn’t gone back to their offices yet. Instead of everyone needing to travel to Edmonton or Calgary to take the training, they did it from where they were located.
Think about the savings. A pile of money in travel costs was saved alone. 36 people would have been forced to drive for several hours. On top of the money and time saved, there’s also the environmental aspect that needs to be considered because nobody needed to drive or fly. It’s obviously safer too.
Virtual training also works well for provincial or regional associations. One of my clients is in northern BC and has Board members in places like Prince George, Williams Lake, Fort St. John and several other locations. That client wouldn’t even consider in-person training now.
The other important consideration is, clients can find media trainers online and hire who they want, regardless of where they’re located. A few weeks ago, I did media training for a group of doctors in Hamilton. During the pandemic I also did sessions for executives in Austria and the United Arab Emirates.
A Better Customer Experience
For many organizations though, there isn’t a lot of money that can be saved by doing training virtually and they can’t save much time either because everyone is in the same area.
These organizations are returning to getting media training done in-person. In fact, some of my clients were actually waiting for the fifth wave to pass earlier this year so they could get media training done in-person. They didn’t want to do it virtually.
It’s easy to understand why. Far too many meetings and training sessions have been done virtually and people are tired of it. They’ve been “Zoomed out” for months.
While the content of my media training is the same whether it’s done virtually or in-person, there’s no doubt there’s a different dynamic when I’m there. People have more fun. They laugh more. They get and give others in the room energy and there’s more life. Simply put, it’s a better customer experience.
It will be a long time until we return to “normal” and even when we do, I expect a sizeable percentage of training to be done online. Media training will be the same.
The genie is out of the bottle.
To Book an In-Person or Virtual Workshop....
Here's a link to the best page on my site to get more info about getting media training done either in-person or virtually. .