When the first lockdown hit us last March, I do not think many of us thought that the restrictions would be with us for so long, and we probably did not see the severity of the future lockdowns coming. Provision of financial advice is built upon trust, and it is very hard to build that trust by telephone, or even via meetings on online platforms such as Zoom.
With face to face meetings effectively banned for over a year, it was very clear that we needed to find new ways to communicate with our clients, and the online medium was a logical choice to explore. Of course, an additional benefit of doing things online is time – a one hour session takes one hour for both presenters and participants – no travelling involved, so it is both easier to attend, and good for the environment too.
So “How about using webinars?” was the suggestion. Well, the word “webinar” is a blend of the word “seminar” with “Web“, suggesting it is simply a web-based seminar. Therefore, when you think of “the online transmission of seminars, presentations, or similar content using video technology” (the dictionary definition), it suddenly sounds much more user-friendly than the word “webinar”.
Webinars have become plentiful in number recently, and we were therefore keen to differentiate what we were planning to do from others. We made a few rules, many of which we learned and implemented following our first session last November.
One key lesson that we learned was not to describe the session as a webinar. 2020 has been described as “the year of the webinar” but the word “webinar” seems to put people off – and what we wanted to achieve was an interactive educational session, where our clients could learn more about Estate Planning, and put questions to our panel of experts. We want to present and discuss various topics which are engaging, relevant and informative, and for our sessions to become known as interesting, thought leadership events.
It is a great forum for us to be able to show our expertise and industry knowledge, in conjunction with our guest speakers from specialist legal and accountancy firms.
Obviously, engagement is key – firstly, having an audience, and secondly making it easy for them to interact. For that reason, we use polls to both gain interaction, and to understand our audience, but the key is the Question & Answer (Q&A) function. The online format is ideal as it is more likely that participants will raise questions than they would have done at a live seminar. We cannot see or hear our audience, so without questions coming in, we have no idea how things are coming over to the participants. This is also where our fear of the technology issues comes in – can everyone see and hear us?! We normally have a “spy” participant online to keep us in check and confirm that everything is as it should be.
So, back to those rules. We aim to keep the sessions to maximum 1 hour – any more than that and the audience will lose focus. We always record the events for viewing by clients who could not join us “live” – and these are hosted on our website. Finally, key to us is the post-session survey. It is crucial to know that what we have provided adds value, and also to fully explore any comments or suggestions for the future. So, if you do join us on a future event, please be sure to tell us what you thought!
Our last session was on February 10th when we debated “Will the UK face a more hostile tax environment following the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic?”. All of our sessions to date plus our Budget Update are available to view on our website.
Lifestyle planning before and after retirement: what are the key considerations?
Our next online event will investigate what planning is possible and sensible to undertake, both pre and post retirement, with an emphasis on making the most of your available resources.
Date: 30 June 2021
Find out more and register at whirelandplc.com/webinar