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A check list to delivering CPD in 2021

A check list to delivering CPD in 2021

The impact of Covid and the consequent increase in home working has created an opportunity for the product manufacturer offering CPD. It has also acted as a leveller between the large and the smaller organisation.

Past research (Architect Communication Channels October 2019) said architects’ preference was for delivery of CPD in the office, an option which was four times more popular than online delivery and used twice as much. But this has now changed, with Covid acting as a catalyst in 2020, leading to increased use of cloud based systems and home working. Online delivery has now become the norm for communication including CPD.

For the manufacturer this provides some opportunities. No longer is a national sales team required to provide national coverage for CPD delivery. You can even deliver to decision makers located overseas. Reducing travel time and cost and increasing your accessible audience. It was often not cost effective to visit smaller practices. But with online seminars this has changed and the audience can represent a number of small practices, making CPD more accessible for specifiers.

There are a variety of delivery forms:

The traditional face-to-face CPD may currently be on hold, but it is likely to remain popular. For many products, specifiers want to see and handle samples. They also see the visit of a manufacturer’s representative as an opportunity to discuss a project in detail. We can expect this to continue in the future.

A recorded podcast which people can view at their convenience has been an option for a number of years. This has the advantage of being available on-demand at a time which suits the viewer. However, checks have to be in place to confirm that the seminar has been watched in its entirety and understood before a CPD certificate can be issued.

A structured webinar which is a broadcast to a large audience is something we are all familiar with. A live event, it is similar to a recorded podcast in that it is very much a one-way flow of information. But it does have the facility for the audience to ask questions. If a CPD certificate is to be issued there is still the need to include some form of evaluation of the audiences’ understanding of the subject.

An online presentation to a smaller more specific audience is the digital equivalent of the face-to-face presentation. Typically, it will be held for a single practice and allows them to raise and discuss specific issues, perhaps relating to a project they are working on. These might be conversations they would not want to make public. There is the opportunity to make the presentation more interactive although if the seminar is accredited there is a need to keep to the structure of the approved material.

Not only is your audience working from home. But the CPD can be delivered from home. This has its own potential hazards. Here are some points to consider:

• Delivery via a screen is very different to delivery in front of a live audience and you need to make sure your presenter is familiar and comfortable with this. Practice sessions are a must.
• Make sure you have a good internet connection. You don’t want the screen to be freezing or the audience unable to hear what is being said.
• It is wise to have a pair of people in the delivery team. One to make the delivery, the other to collate posted questions and as a back-up to take over if the presenter’s internet crashes.
• Take advantage of online capability by using video clips.
• Think about how you can display your samples. Perhaps using virtual reality as well as in-situ photographs.
• And to ensure you have your audience’s attention make the delivery interactive.

Further Information
Chris Ashworth is founder of Competitive Advantage Consultancy which specialises in helping building product manufacturers to be more effective at getting their products selected. Services include bespoke market research, learning and development programmes a range of sales and marketing tools and consultancy to help implement change.

Competitive Advantage will be running an online CPD Mastery Programme designed to walk you through the process, ensuring quality CPD is delivered which also represents value for money. A step-by-step programme with modules delivered over 8 weeks, the programme starts in March 2021.

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