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Pause, reflect and adapt

We headed into lockdown 2.0 with a varied and thriving online event programme – this is far from the situation we found ourselves in at the start of lockdown 1.0.

Jo Jackson

In early March we were busy preparing to host our two largest client events of the year, ready to welcome over 2000 participants, then COVID hit. Not only did we have to postpone these events; our entire event programme was practically wiped out overnight. Like the rest of the world we found ourselves in unprecedented times and facing much uncertainty about how we would deliver moving forward.

Whilst we offered a range of e-learning, all our in house training courses and events were delivered face to face for all of our clients. We knew we would have to make some radical changes but were keen not to rush things, as we pride ourselves in the provision of high quality events and workshops. We allowed our team time to take stock, to check in with our customers and explore our options.

Our adviser and senior teams worked tirelessly to convert our face to face sessions into formats suitable for online delivery whilst my event team were rapidly getting to grips with delivery platforms such as Zoom and MS Teams to ensure we sustained the professional and high standards of service we are known for.

We have come a long way since we first dipped our toes into the virtual world in the early days of lockdown. We have repeatedly reviewed the timing, duration,content and presentation style of our sessions, in line with delegate comments and increased experience in running online learning, as we are keen to continuously improve our offer and delegate’s experiences.

The dust has now settled and although we miss face to events, we, like many of you, have adapted to virtual working and we are delighted to have a busy, well attended and well evaluated event programme.

We continue to deliver our commissioner training programmes, which have been refreshed and now include surgery style networking sessions, which offer additional support to our annual contract clients. In addition, we have included personal resilience, HR issues and challenges in primary care, virtual team working plus vision and reflection training, which have been developed in response to client feedback. Among other subject matter these sessions provide protected time and opportunities for individuals and teams to discuss, reflect on, and manage the ongoing impact of COVID which delegates cite along with networking as being invaluable during the pandemic. During the autumn we introduced a number of workshops focused on providing an insight into and the implications of becoming a GP partner. As we roll towards 2021 we are excited to launch other new topics so do keep an eye on our event programme.

We deliver our national events via Zoom, rather than other platforms, due to its functionally and ability to best mirror face to face settings and interaction. However, we can work with your organisation’s preference and we are currently delivering local and bespoke consultancy sessions via Zoom and MS Teams. Since the end of April we have run over 250 in house and client training sessions and events online. Recent clients include Cheshire LMC where we managed their annual conference virtually in September plus follow up workshops, as well as the British and Irish Orthoptic Society who we supported earlier this month. Should you or your organisation require support with virtual events give us a call to see how we can help.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all our clients, delegates and expert speakers for being part of our 2020 events and joining us on the journey. We cannot wait to see you all again in 2021.