When time is money, webinars might seem like the last thing you think you need to be spending your time on.
Yet they can provide valuable information for crews, owners and business managers. These are learning opportunities that do not require any costly travel and some can even count for continuing education credits. The key is selecting the right webinars to attend.
Depending on what services you offer, and your target client base can direct you to sources of good webinars. For example, the Irrigation Association and RainBird offer a number of webinars related to irrigation if this is an area where you are trying to increase your skills or knowledge base.
Many webinars are free, but even if they are not, they can be well worth the cost to attend as successful industry professionals are providing valuable information. Also, webinars leave room for a question and answer segment, which is a perfect time to get some important questions answered or get feedback from others.
However, it’s important to avoid one key mistake many landscape professionals make while attending the webinar is continuing to do work.
It’s very tempting to sit at a desk and continue to work while half listening in on a webinar. However, half listening is like doing a job half way.
If you’re going to invest time into a webinar, make sure to really invest your time.
Here are a few tips from the Harvard Business Review on how participants can maximize their webinar experience:
- Choose webinars carefully. Time is limited and not all webinars are created equal. When selecting which webinars to attend, consider how much value each will provide for particular projects with which you’re involved.
- Watch the webinar with a group. Not only does this practice make employees more likely to attend and pay attention during webinars, but it also signals the importance of the topic and the value that the organization’s leadership places on professional development.
- Take and distribute notes. Taking notes helps participants pay attention. Distributing them to relevant colleagues is not only helpful for those who weren’t able to attend the session, but it also gives the note-taker recognition as someone who has learned and synthesized the material presented during the webinar.
- Use the webinar to network. When presenters and other registrants distribute their contact information, don’t be shy about following up with questions or ideas. It’s perfectly acceptable to use the shared experience of the webinar to present queries on other topics, too.
- Ask questions. Take advantage of technologies that allow you to ask questions of presenters, following up in an email if your question doesn’t get asked or answered. In addition, talking to colleagues about questions or themes that emerged from the webinar can be an important piece of understanding the information and making it work for your organization.