There is a war going on.
There are folks whose inbox is perpetually jammed by free webinars. On the other side are folks who have vowed to teach the world virtually and for free.
This has got to stop. At least, the free part.
I am old school. ‘Free’ doesn’t inspire much confidence. Remember, ‘free lunch’? There is no such thing.
A fairly accomplished associate of mine is fairly clear that he will not do free webinars. His rationale – his skills and time are invaluable. To continue with free webinars is to completely devalue the time, skill, and expertise that you actually do bring to a setting. While I agree with him, he could be an outlier out here in this situation. Most of us are doling out free webinars.
Full disclosure: I offer them just as much as the next person. But, I have a massive moral dilemma every time I do it. It’s a strategy to reach out and increase visibility my colleagues reason me out. And I continue.
Here is the deal, if this is a strategy to reach out, maybe it’s time to up the game. Get creative. Write a blog, make a video, record my webinar, and put it out there. If I am half as good, I am sure I will find takers. It might take time, effort, and handwork but it’s a better way of putting the spotlight on me. There is a good chance of me getting better visibility and building my brand than this endless deluge of ‘free’ webinars.
Of course, some of us are doing better than others. It’s a classic tale of the ant and the grasshopper. The ants, I feel, owe their success to the fact that they didn’t just wake up on the day the lockdown started and opened the flood gates of free webinars. Pretty sure they were already in the game much, much before. They were investing in their digital marketing and brand-building effort since the time of ebola, I guess. Turns out, there is value in being the early bird, after all. It just seems to me that they are the ones offering better content, simply because they have their finger on the pulse of their target audience. If nothing, they at least know who their audience is.
Over to the grasshopper – me. I have got to stop shooting in the dark. In the middle of a global pandemic, and lockdown; a short and engaging live webinar isn’t really on top of my list. Neither is leadership, nor finding myself. To be honest, if I survive this nightmare, I will find myself anyway. Right now leading myself out of the bed is hard enough. It seems pointless and when I do stay in bed, the anxiety of work bludgeons my mind. So, I guess, the ‘new normal’ (Read – webinars) will have to wait for the time being.
Now if I can help myself through the horrors that I wake up to every morning, then we might have something. The problem is – how do I help someone when I am going through pretty much the same stuff and haven’t really found a way out.
Fact – the world is struggling. This is new. New for everybody. We are all on the same boat. Another associate of mine put it as the world being on one massive boat heading in the same direction, not many small boats going in different directions. And we haven’t seen land yet. So, how do I cry ‘land ahoy’? That would just be lying.
Don’t get me wrong, I have started to discover that webinars are a wonderful way to learn or teach some things. It’s short, can be impactful, and is quite intimate in the sense that all you need is a small space in your home as opposed to standing in front of a crowd of strangers. It’s interactive contrary to popular belief. It’s actually brilliant for the quiet types to participate from the solitude of their room rather than hold back great ideas in front of a room full of people.
Now since most of us are into crystal gazing these days, let me throw my hat in the ring. If done right with empathy and authenticity, virtual learning could well be the preferred mode of education. There are so many virtues to it. I will not list it because I do have anxiety disorder. There I said it.
So, who will be Sir Free Webinarkiller? That’s the thing. I don’t think anyone can play god with it other than ourselves who is creating a monster out of it.
The trick is to not devalue it or ourselves. If we can get creative and genuine right now without outpacing demand (which we already have) the supply will remain. And that, we owe to ourselves because end of the day, that’s how we pay our bills.
I Train Consultants India Pvt. Ltd.
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