UPDATE: Our insurance CE webinars turned out pretty darn great. All the worry below was for no reason. To read more about how well our insurance CE webinars work for agents, check out these other blog posts: LIVE CE IN SAVANNAH GA, INSURANCE CE WEBINARS: GREAT SUCCESS, and CE WEBINAR INSURANCE CLASSES.
Our new WEBINARS start this week, and I have to admit, I’m nervous. I’ve been doing this so long that normally, I do not have one bit of anxiety about teaching an insurance continuing education class. CORRECTION: Sometimes there’s a little anxiety, but nothing I can’t push away with the years of experience of everything working out just fine.
Not so with our WEBINARS beginning this week. I’m really nervous. This anxiety comes from multiple places.
The first thing on my mind is possible technical difficulties. I’ve done a number of mock runs with friends in the Zoom room. Showing the videos and other graphics and determining the best method. So far, it seems that the share screen function with a few enhancements gives the viewer the best experience, but there are also times that the screen I can view the class on moves to my primary screen, or I lose my curser in one of my various screens, or I can’t get the sound working just right, or a whole BIG list of various technical difficulties that might come up.
I’m also worried one of our many insurance continuing education WEBINAR class participants will have some technical difficulty that they are not able to work through. Since I’ll be teaching the class and unfamiliar with their device, I will have limited ability to assist any agent with working through that problem. While I can ask for your grace with technical issues on my end, the rules to gain insurance continuing education are clear, and to comply, I cannot offer exceptions to the access requirements to the LIVE WEBINAR.
One reason we never offered WEBINARS before was my concerns about keeping agents engaged in the material. Live in a real classroom environment, it is difficult enough to keep agents involved in the information, especially when you consider sitting in an uncomfortable banquet chair for eight hours, but place them on their couch with various distractions in their home or at their desk with a few piles of waiting work, and it turns up the difficulty quotient for keeping someone’s attention in the class content.
Granted, I think it’s impossible to keep all agents in the material for every minute of class, but the course doesn’t work well unless we all get involved more frequently than not. Heck, I’m even worried about this one myself. I’m broadcasting from my home. I’ll be getting an Amazon delivery, the sirens will go off, or I’ll realize I forgot to turn off the coffee pot in the middles of section two of the morning session. There is much to be distracted by when we don’t remove ourselves from all the things in our home or office, we “should” be doing. I figure I can control these impulses for myself, but for those in the class, much harder. For this, I’m asking you to bring your same lively, communicative, fun attitude to our LIVE WEBINAR Zoom rooms.
There’s also the matter of class administration. Normally, I have people sign-in as the course starts. I can witness them in class, and I give them a certificate at the end. In this way, I usually was able to report credits the afternoon of class. Super easy, but that process doesn’t work so well in a virtual, online classroom.
We plan to have agent’s text us a sign-in message at the beginning of the class, and then text random polling questions throughout the course. Each of these text messages must be received within a specific time limit to receive credit for the class. It’s a method that should work pretty well; however, it requires a lot more administrative work to ensure all requirements are met. It’s also more information we must keep on file to ensure compliance. All of this means that our reporting will be delayed.
I’ve considered hiring additional staff to help manage some of these items, but so far, we do not have enough increased interest in the WEBINARS to merit hiring someone. Also, I hate to hire and train someone for a job I find I can manage on my own.
There is also the matter of lighting, and this one REALLY should NOT be at the end. This is a BIGGIE! There are times, due to the brightness of the screen, that agents can’t see me. The camera focuses on the bright screen, and I’m blacked out. I’m blessed to have a friend who’s in production lighting and since he isn’t really working right now, he is letting me use the professional lights you see in this picture. Going forward, I may need to get creative with some new ideas, especially if we do LIVE WEBINARS at our various classroom locations.
In all of this, the whole purpose of this blog, is to ask for your patience with us as we transition through this process. I’m certain it will work out, as it always does, and in the end, I will be wondering, “What was I so worried about anyway?” In fact, just sharing these concerns has reminded me that all of this really isn’t a BIG deal. Tomorrow morning, when I log on, I’m looking forward to seeing the faces of the agents that I’ve come to love and whom I’ve missed so much.
Stay safe and be well. We are blessed that we can meet in a virtual classroom and maintain our good health, and the good health of those we love.
This blog highlights our initial insurance CE webinars and how great they turned out.
Published April 2020. Renee E. Bryan also publishes writing at her blog: WrongWayLizzie.Me.