blog.frederique.harmsze.nl my world of work and user experiences

April 30, 2018

Do not forget to follow up

Filed under: Adoption — frederique @ 20:51

Recently, I encountered an example of the need to follow up on a series of webinars. It sounds obvious. But when people are busy, the follow-up ball gets dropped too often. You need to plan ahead, who should do what, where and how to follow up on the sessions, to make sure everyone gets what they need.

IT organized a series of webinars on Office 365. These webinars were quite well attended, by over a hundred participants, which was great. And even greater: many of these participants joined in seriously, rather than just listing half-heartedly. They were very active in the chat window, asking questions and adding comments.

Because there were so many questions and because some of the questions were so complex, the presenter and the moderator were unable to address of all them during the session. That was not a problem, because they promised to get back on these questions in the Yammer group they had created for ongoing knowledge sharing, before the webinar series started. Also, in every session, at least one of the participant asked if we would share the recording and the slides materials with them. No surprise there, I always get these questions in every training I give. And yes, they promised to share these materials afterwards.

And that is where it got difficult.

After the sessions, the promised follow-up did not appear, because the one IT-guy was out of office for two weeks, the other IT-guy was too busy, and the project manager had not planned for it. The webinars had been planned up to the point of the actual session, but nothing afterwards.

What you want to plan for, in addition to the webinars themselves:

  • Capture the questions and comments.
    Fortunately we did copy the chat conversation from each session and pasted it into our OneNote notebook. So at least we know what we have to get back on. Not just questions in need of answers, but also interesting ideas mentioned by the participants that we may will want to take up in our programme.
  • Quickly send a thank-you message with links
    Send the links to the recording and the slides immediately¬†after the session. Then the participants can quickly check they are not sure about. And if you don’t send these links soon, people will start harassing you to hurry up…
  • Plan resources to answer the questions soon
    In the hours and days after the sessions, somebody knowledgeble should formulate answers to the questions that have not been answered yet. In our case, these answers were to be posted in the Yammer group, mentioning the person who asked the question to draw their attention to it. One caveat with respect to Yammer: in our case, some participants could not access our Yammer group, because they were stuck in an old Yammer network. They had told us in the chat of the webinar. So these people should also get their answers via another channel, like email.
  • Ask for feedback
    Immediately after each session or at the end of the whole series, ask the participants for their opinions. Not only on how they liked these webinars, but also in what they want or need to learn next: More details on the same subjects? Other perspective on the same tools, like how to use them in different situations? Introductions on other tools in Office 365? There are plenty of ways to ask for feedback, like a poll in the Yammer group, a Form, a survey in a SharePoint site…
  • Keep at it
    When people start using the new tools, they will have more questions and need more information. So after the sessions, keep sharing tips and answering subsequent questions. Actually, start a tip campaign before the series of webinars starts, so that you can give tips beforehand that help them make the most of the webinars. For example, how to check their audio, get a headphone, find the chat-pane.

So: organizing webinars is great, but do not forget to follow up on them

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