This morning we held our first Zoominar. It was very much an experiment with nine invited participants who spent just over an hour discussing how to maximise your FreeFrom Food Awards win and (very much the point of the exercise) whether Zoominars were a good thing.
So what it a Zoominar?
A gathering 10 to 15 people on Zoom. First of all listening to one or two speakers – this morning it was Cressida and I on maximising your win. Then going, in groups of five, into Zoom ‘break out rooms’. Here the group should meet and get to know each other, discuss what the speaker had said and generate at least one question. We had allocated 8 minutes for each break out session but we all agreed that you needed much longer – probably 15 minutes to do or say anything useful.
After the first break out, you have a Q&A session – quite easy to run thanks to Zoom’s ‘raise your hand’ facility – and then repeat the process.
After a final Q&A/discussion, participants can leave or, if they wish to continue talking to any other participant, we keep the meeting open and put them into private rooms by themselves where they can chat.
So how did it go and what did we learn?
Well, first lesson. To Zoom flatteringly, you really need to get your lighting and your camera placement right!!
I need to shut my shutters or the light from my huge windows makes me look like a ghost; Karen from Glitterbug Bakery needs to be careful not to lose her chin. (This was the only frame in which it appeared!) Only Cem from Dolfin UK got both of those right – alhtough what is that lurking on the top of that cupboard?….. In the group above, Mel from Twelve Below Tonics above had a pretty cool back ground, but Cressida definitely had light issues. However, the one who had really got it hacked was Nigel from Freefrom Italy whose desert island palm tree really did wave its fronds!!
But whatever we looked like – what did we learn and did it work as a format?
Maximising your win
Well, I am not sure how much our participants learnt but we had a lot of useful discussion around the winning logo and what a brilliant sales tool it is, no matter whether it is gold, silver, bronze or shortlisted. (Never underestimate the power of being shortlisted. Think Oscars, think Grammies, think Booker – what actor, musician or writer would not kill to get nominated – or even long listed for the Booker!)
We noted how important it was that the logo was recognised by freefrom consumers – and how recognition was growing with the ever greater participation of the supermarkets in the awards – and their use of their winning logos on their products. (Our bronze logo is appearing on TV right now on a Lidl ad for their vegan burger!)
We also discussed getting it right on Social media (definitely a subject for a dedicated Zoominar), using your local press, giving your staff ownership of your win (every time they tell one of their friends that is one more person who knows about your product) and leveraging your win to create sales contacts and sales.
Are Zoominars a good thing?
We asked everyone whether, if they could go back to attending a ‘live’ seminar (which presumably at some point we will be able to do) would they prefer to do that or, would they rather Zoom it? Of our nine participants, six were definite Zoom converts; two were on the fence; one would definitely prefer a live meeting.
- Convenience – don’t have to leave your desk
- Time saving
- Cost saving (obviously we would charge less for attending a Zoom meeting than a live one – and you don’t have the cost of getting there)
- Saving the world – less travel
- Meeting and chatting via a screen can be less intimidating than meeting in person and it enables a more easy going workshop atmosphere
- The Zoom break out room facility allows one to have private meetings – as one would at a ‘live’ meeting
- People who would never realistically get to a live meeting can attend. Such as Mary and Peter from Liberate Crumpets in Australia below – seen with Yonas from Lovegrass Ethiopia – but Yonas does live in London!
So are we planning to do more Zoominars?
We sure are…. Just watch this space.
If you wish to know who all our were participants, here they are: