By: Cherry Birch On: October 5, 2020

Back in March, an associate and good friend, invited me to partner with her as she took the workshops which we had been running together completely online. I declined.

Six months later, virtual training sessions have become a way of life for us and if there was a Certificate IV in Zoom, I think I would have earned it (I am now working towards a Diploma!).

As has been written by many others, COVID has forced us to change and whilst face-to-face facilitation of courses will always be my preferred option, I have risen to the challenge and I now enjoy finding new ways to engage more with participants in the virtual world. I even find myself being critical of other presenters who use the same facilitation style as they would if we were all there in person e.g. Throwing out a discussion question to 40 people and expecting a number of people to respond and seeming surprised when greeted with silence!

Another change for us is what clients are requesting and whom we can now serve.

Financial Wellbeing

We developed a short session last year on Personal Finance at the request of one of our major clients which we delivered as a Lunch and Learn workshop. We are now delivering this as a 90 minutes virtual session (with quizzes and break out rooms to keep participants engaged!) and the demand has been tremendous! Whilst I find it heartening that more and more employers are wanting to run these sorts of sessions for employees, at the same time it is naturally concerning that so many Australians are financially stressed and many were pre COVID. We are not financial advisers so our approach needs to be generic, but we take people through the steps involved in actively managing their finances and direct them to the help that is available – from tips and tricks to websites and apps. Click here for more info on Financial Wellbeing.

Business Partnering

In March we were due to deliver a day’s workshop for the 30 strong Finance team of a large MNC, when it needed to be postponed the day before due to COVID. We reformatted this workshop, redesigning it into 90 minutes virtual session modules with work in between. This format allowed for the team to complete a self-assessment of their business partnering skills, with the summarised results allowing for a focussed approach to the topics covered in subsequent modules. Development needs identified ranged from the technical to the soft skills areas – commercial awareness, business insights, handling difficult conversations and persuasion and influencing skills. Click here for more info on Business Partnering.

Financial Acumen Skills

It has been a pleasure to run short virtual sessions for 4 State managers of another client, whereby the accessibility and convenience of the virtual delivery has made this possible. Demystifying financial statements for a small group who know each other well has meant I have been able to run the sessions at their own preferred pace and the questions have flowed! It has also been a lot of fun! Click here for more info on Financial Acumen skills. 

Whilst I and my colleagues have not finished pivoting, this new way of working has opened up a lot of opportunities for us and I, for one, am excited to find the next fun and engaging thing I can incorporate into my next Zoom session!