Tim Barker | English UK | Linkedin
As over 100 members and over 200 agents prepare for the first English UK Summit, taking place online from Monday 14 – Wednesday 16 September, our business development director Tim Barker gives his top tips on how to make the most of a virtual business-to-business workshop.
First, a caveat, and some expectation setting. This is a new format for all of us. The events industry has pivoted to online as many ELT member centres have, a sort of graceful, stumbling, experimental, exciting, scary, hasty, well-planned, oxymoronic pivot. We're learning as event organisers, and you're all learning as online delegates about how you can squeeze value from an event in your pjs. So, this is an evolving list, but bear with me – I've been working with some great events minds at English UK and you might find a nugget in here.
There are some amazing benefits to a zoom room that go beyond the tired jokes about what you wear on your bottom half. You can invite members of your teams into the room with a click of a button from all over the world. This is a huge benefit for your meetings:
Language centres - if an agent is interested in the academic content of your teacher training course then you bring in your academic manager to speak with authority. If they're concerned about your accommodation provision, you can invite in your accommodation manager.
Agents – if one of your partners has a new exciting academic year programme in one of their centres, you can invite your academic year salesperson in to hear about the course.
How to invite people into your call? It's easy – once the meeting has started, use the zoom function to invite someone to your meeting.
We have an amazing line-up of seminars on Monday 14 September for agents, educators and service providers. You might glance through the list and think everything is relevant to you and plan a whole day of sitting and listening, after all – why not just pop it on in the background in case something comes up?
Maybe it's just me – but having a webinar in the background has never worked for me. I don't concentrate on the content and I don't concentrate on what I do. Instead why not pick and choose the right seminars from the programme using the programme descriptions, and then be in the room properly – contribute to the discussions and take notes. The seminar programme is free for members – invite your team to attend the ones you can't and manage your day so that you are fresh for the ones you can!
All the sessions are open for agents and members – and we want you all in the room, so you'll be amongst friends wherever you are on Monday afternoon.
It may not look a lot, but 10 meetings with short breaks in between on zoom is a gruelling day. You can finish the day wondering if you're real or just a head in a box. Block off a couple of meetings, or better yet, rope in a colleague to take them and take a break. You're better being 100% for 75% of the time than 75% for 100% of the time. And you owe it to your own mental wellbeing to be kind to yourself. We've all learnt a little more about that in the last 6 months.
How to share your meeting schedule? It's easy – either you invite them into the zoom call after it has started or just share your Marcom login with your colleague. Maybe don't use the password that gives them access to your whole life though.
These are meetings online, but they're still meetings. You know what you're doing from your times at StudyWorld, Alphe, ICEF over the last 1, 3, 5, 10, 20 years. Don't forget what you've always known. Do your research. Take good notes. Don't be scared to be direct. Set your goals. Use the Marcom system the way it is supposed to be used. You got this.
We all have different ways of celebrating the end of a long day of meetings. At our face-to-face events some of us crawl back to a hotel to go for a run or the gym, others find energy in their friends at the bar and on the dance floor. Whatever works for you, make sure you note the end of the workshop and reward yourself. There is still a lot of energy in an online workshop, make sure you put it somewhere at the end of it.
Not yet booked to join us at the English UK Summit? Members and agents who work with ELT are welcome to join our seminar programme for free on Monday 14 September.