When it comes to productivity, nothing makes the workplace flow smoothly like getting everyone together. Meetings and educational sessions are important to enriching and enhancing the work experience. Whether a manager gets together employees for a conference or gathering the office together for training, face-to-face communication is incredibly useful for ensuring understanding and improving safety and productivity at work.
What about sharing new ideas? Relaying information? What about the many updates that businesses see every year to technology and practices, and how do employers make certain that workers who are stationed in remote locations stay current on them? In years previous, training seminars required travel across the state, the nation or even the globe. Today however, the modern business puts the online seminar to work for these same purposes and avoids the need for travel, entirely.
What in the World is a Webinar?
Putting the costs, time constraints and other drawbacks of work-related travel aside in favor of technology-driven, human-led meetings has led to the rise of such tools as the webinar. Derived from the words “web” and “seminar”, this type of virtual conference allows those who utilize it to broadcast valuable information, media and other material to viewers or listeners via the internet. According to Beth Hayden, industry expert, it is also one of the most commonly used resources in the corporate world today.
Hayden also makes some good points for those who are unfamiliar with the concept of these live broadcasts about what sets them apart as a tool for business. These points include:
- These are live events. Unlike other types of informational media that might be shared with students, employees or other participants, these webcasts typically happen in real time.
- There are visual and audio components. Virtual seminars usually include a live feed of items on the presenter’s desktop screen, and may also contain videos, voiceovers, music or other sounds and assorted media.
- Some of these sessions are interactive, but not as much so as a traditional meeting.
- The primary goal of these broadcasts is to educate and inform. There is typically some planning beforehand and structure to the order of events, much like a traditional classroom lesson.
- Webinars are typically hosted via designated broadcast tools or programs, used by the presenter.
Having the right tools in place to best use these digital resources is key. Companies like BlueJeans which provide communication solutions for the needs of corporate clients are experts in putting tools like webinar software to work for their customers.
Education for the Electronic Age
Today’s corporate training uses as many of the day’s modern resources as any college classroom. The screen has replaced the whiteboard in most circumstances, and that is certainly true in the world of business. Making this transition a simpler one for both employers and their staff requires an understanding of how the technology works, as well as how to make it work to meet their individual and workplace needs.
In addition to basic computer literacy, knowing webinar etiquette is also important, for both presenter and viewer. According to Minitex, some key aspects of this etiquette include:
- Being prepared. Whether you are spectating or giving the presentation, you should have everything you need within reach before the session begins. Ensuring that you have your log-in information, correct web address or any other access tools in place beforehand is important.
- Being on time. Just as with a typical, in-person meeting or conference, being punctual in your arrival to an online forum is advisable. In addition to possibly missing content that is shared early in the presentation, participants who arrive late may slow down the lecture or otherwise interrupt the flow. Being online and logged in before the discussion begins is polite.
- Being courteous. If you are participating in a discussion or forum that allows interaction and your microphone is turned on, do not allow for audio interruptions or distractions. If they are unavoidable, using the mute function of the microphone is advised. In addition, making sure that your communication schedule is clear before the session starts is recommended. No one wants to put up with pauses caused by phone calls, instant messages or other distractions while trying to learn.
Most good business behavior is common sense, and this is certainly true of the webinar setting. A brief review of these policies before calling for an online seminar can be helpful for employees, and help clear up any confusion without taking time away from the presentation. Making sense of web-based resources makes good business sense for everyone involved, from CEO to entry-level hire. By understanding the procedures and plans that go into making these sessions happen, employers and educators can use them to improve their employees’ output, workplace experience and grasp of relevant materials. It’s an application of modern technology that helps to create the products, services and experiences of tomorrow.