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Add “Social Distance” to your conferences and education!

I hope this finds you healthy and connected with people that are important to you. It won’t be easy but we’ll get through this struggle together, as humans have throughout history. Meanwhile, as increased “social distance” forces us to work remotely, alone or with a house full of kids and pets, may I share a few brief thoughts with you?

Don’t quit!

In the timeless words of the great coach, Vince Lombardi, “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” The stakes today are far greater than a gridiron game but the principle holds. This dark moment will pass and the winners will be the teams that worked together and didn’t give up. When the virus threat stops travel or group meetings, change tech/tactics, try again, learn, and repeat. Indeed, that is the same strategy Nature uses in the endless cycle of life.

Don’t cancel - CONNECT online!

Conferences cannot happen in-person right now, but instead of canceling, look for ways to move key elements of the experience online. Sadly, with travel and “groups of 10” restrictions, the conference venue may be a casualty for attendees. What about the most important parts - connections with people and information, and revenue? Find ways to capture what the speakers have to share, give the vendors and sponsors a place to share their creations, and *connect* people so they can interact meaningfully – all online.

Perhaps it’s not as good as “being there”, but it’s better than “let’s try 2021”, and it is safe, accessible for all, and connects attendees with one another and other stakeholders. Plus, how cool would it be to pioneer a “virtual conference” in your domain?

Don’t cancel - LEARN online!

If your company’s in-person training plans have been halted, don’t cancel or postpone, go virtual. If you’ve not done it before, it’s easier to create a compelling learning experience than you might think - for employees or customers. With a bit of coaching and templates, subject matter experts can ensure good learning outcomes. Bonus points: good learning design can create a learning community where learners help and learn from one another.

Train and educate your employees on how to be successful - online. Research shows that companies with robust employee training programs have over 200% more income per employee and over 20% higher profit margins than companies who don’t train their employees. Educate and support your customers - online. Customers who are trained and educated on how to use your product are almost 70% more likely to use your product while working more independently (87% more). They also renew at a 10% higher rate.

Challenges for people and businesses

Together, we can follow Nature’s example and adapt quickly to the enormous challenges presented by COVID-19. In life and business, that is who wins. The novel virus must trigger our novel virtual strategies to succeed!If the NextThought team can help with your transition online, please reach out.

Let's Talk

Ken Parker
Ken Parker

Ken is the co-founder and CEO of NextThought, a Norman-based education technology and media company started in 2011 with the mantra, “Change the world, have fun, make money – in that order.” The NextThought platform connects people while they learn with the goal to help education become more effective and accessible. Prior to NextThought Ken co-founded RiskMetrics Group, a Wall Street-based financial technology company launched in 1998 and sold in 2010. Ken enjoys spending time with his wife, Carole, on their ranch in Noble, OK.

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