One of my clients is the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, located in Oklahoma. They are a membership organization fostering scientific research, advancing the science of geology, promoting technology, and generally bringing a centralized voice to professionals in the petroleum geology field worldwide.
Part of their mission is to provide educational opportunities for their members. Traditionally this has been done with local seminars and classroom training. Now, with the guidance of Susan Smith Nash, Director of Education and Professional Development, AAPG has extended its training sessions with webinars. In addition, they now offer asynchronous e-learning. The education division invites guest speakers from a variety of companies and educational institutions to share highly specialized expertise with association members.
Yesterday we held a webinar on a technical topic with a title so long that it would take up much of this paragraph and you would still have no clue what I was talking about. But it was a subject of great interest to a certain niche subset of their membership. They signed up a subject matter expert to lead the session and put it on their website.
Signups came from all around the globe. We had attendees from Cairo, Trinidad and Tobago, Nigeria, the UK, Uruguay, Colombia, New Zealand, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Germany, Korea, Norway, and the USA.
Then our speaker got called to Russia on business and ended up giving the webcast from his Moscow hotel room at 11pm! He had never given an online presentation before and he was an absolute champ… Using annotation tools to mark up his slides in a way he couldn’t possibly have done in an in-room setting.
The AAPG managed to serve all those people, in all those countries, with a speaker situation that would have forced cancelation of a local event. The ability for a headquarters education group to concentrate purely on the content of their events without having to deal with international logistics, room rental, travel, and high costs is breathtaking when you think about it. They think locally about what they want to deliver and it magically becomes a reality for a global audience and presentation team. If you are looking for a justification and business case for webinars, take this as exhibit A.