Last Friday Gaia organised an open, 1-hour long webinar on practical tools for circular economy. The idea was to share Gaia’s knowledge and gathered information about the hot topics in sustainable business. This was the first time Gaia posted an open invitation to a webinar online. Invitations were sent via our social media channels, LinkedIn and Twitter, and our newsletter. Obviously, we were very excited to see how many participants would eventually turn up in our virtual webinar room at show time. In addition, the technical side of the webinar made us slightly nervous – we all know how discouraging it is to start a meeting with connection problems.
Webinars offer an easy, cost-efficient way of communicating and sharing information with stakeholders. The participants only need 5 minutes to register to the event and one hour to participate. No travel time is needed. A little bit more effort is required from the organiser to invite people to the webinar, managing the registrations and planning the contents of the webinar. Again, not to forget the technical side of it – every single feature of the virtual room must be pre-tested and a detailed script for each “mute” and “start video” shall be prepared beforehand. But once the first test is successfully over you have an easy, replicable tool for communicating and sharing information with a varying size of audience.
Apart from some individual connection problems, the technical implementation of the webinar with several speakers, video and presentations was successful. Also, we were delighted to notice that 25 eager participants showed up to the webinar. Interestingly, the audience comprised both familiar names of our clients and partners, as well as previously unknown company representatives, researchers and students.
Information sharing and interaction are both crucial elements of any webinar. By the feedback we received after the webinar, it seems like we succeeded in sharing information and raising awareness on practical tools for circular economy. The interaction side of the webinar, however, needs to be further developed. We knew who was present by the participant list, but there was very little immediate participation from the audience. Although open, interactive webinars have the potential to be quite unpredictable, we definitely need to come up with ways to encourage the audience to share the stage with us. There are still many more Gaia webinars to come.
- Elina Heikinheimo, Consultant, Gaia Consulting Oy, firstname.lastname@example.org