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  • Writer's pictureSteve O'Hare

Face-to-face workshops means those 'water cooler moments' are back!

On October 7th, I will be making a big step in SCLO Consulting’s return to a ‘near normal’ as we strive to move on from the pandemic.

In Birmingham, we will return to face-to-face delivery of workshops after what seems like forever delivering them online.

Working in partnership with AELP, I will be delivering a ‘RoATP Refresh Workshop’ at the Holiday Inn.

Unsurprisingly, I am really looking forward to seeing people in person for work purposes.

Covid-19 pandemic

Don’t get me wrong, I think technology – and our ability to adapt to it as a necessity - has been tremendous during the Covid-19 pandemic. I know some people who had never even heard of either Zoom or Teams before March 2020. People who never knew you could video dial on WhatsApp. Now, it has become a part of their daily lives!

The online meeting or workshop will stay around in business for some time to come and rightly so. The last 18 months have certainly taught us all in the tendering world that we can still get plenty of ‘stuff done’ if meetings and workshops have to be held online.

But in Birmingham, we’ll be able to see each other and talk to each other in person.

There will be none of the technical issues which are impossible to avoid when you are delivering online content.

AELP team

There is always someone whose browser doesn’t support the event, someone always gets knocked off the event with connection troubles. I know that for a fact because it happened to me during lockdown when I was about to deliver a workshop and a broadband glitch kicked me out of the system. Thankfully, the AELP team supporting me knew what to do and it went without a hitch after that point.

Ultimately people/organisations are paying to attend and learn, dealing with technical issues isn’t what they signed up for.

One of the biggest benefits of face-to-face delivery is the peer-to-peer discussions and informal break-out groups (those water cooler moments) that are really hard to replicate online.

We have tried it online and it was okay but sitting in small groups discussing various topics can really get the creative juices flowing and I genuinely think more can be achieved in those in-person sittings, than online.

Shared ideas

They are the sort of things that add to the experience for those attending because, as well as listening to me passing on hints and advice, they can meet people in the same situation as them and learn off each other with shared ideas.

As a host, it enables me to be flexible with timings of my delivery, as opposed to the more rigid structures of an online session.

In line with much of what the Government are advising at the minute, this will be viewed as a trial event with hopefully more to follow.

The content will focus on the latest round of RoATP applications. We will go ‘back to the future’ with similar topics to those I covered during what was a hugely successful set of workshops around the country for the 2019 applications.

Of course this time, it will be updated with all of the latest news and information we have for the 2021 round and will aim to make attendees able to return to the office both confident and well equipped to produce a successful application.

WATCH: The latest news on the RoATP application process...

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