The coronavirus and social distancing, as we have noted in this blog before, has given a boost to digitisation, including the digitisation of our services. Four webinars this summer have proved that we don't always have to be on location to promote Feed Safety Worldwide.
In the spring and summer, GMP+ International organised four webinars, two of them specifically for Thailand. The 'turnout' exceeded a hundred participants on several occasions, which is quite impressive.
At first sight, a webinar may seem less appealing than a seminar at a nice location, but the internet does make courses accessible to larger groups. Moreover, participants do not have to travel, which also makes webinars inherently sustainable.
Our experience with the webinars gives cause for optimism. There is an element of pioneering about it for us, too. Webinars call for a different approach than physical seminars. The presentation is different. The interaction is different. And the challenges are different. People are sat behind laptops – how do you keep them focused and prevent them from doing other things?
The hardest thing about webinars is the lack of real contact – eye contact. In contrast to speaking to a room, you don't really get any non-verbal feedback during webinars, which is normally the biggest element of communication.
In my opinion, webinars are therefore not particularly suitable for reaching new groups. In the end, nothing beats face-to-face encounters for establishing contacts, gaining trust and building relationships. Such encounters remain indispensable for the promotion of Feed Safety Worldwide in emerging markets, although they are currently on hold. However, in the subsequent phase, once feed safety has gained a foothold, we see a greater role for online contact and knowledge sharing.
That's why we are already planning more! This autumn, we will be holding several webinars on the three themes of our international conference in Berlin in April 2022. A warm-up if you like, having had to postpone the conference by a year due to COVID-19. So keep an eye on our website. Unfortunately we cannot offer you real contact, but we can offer urgent themes, substantive debate and – remotely – connection.