Last week I had to fly to a client site to give a local training class. This is an unusual occurrence these days. Given the nature of my webinar consulting business, I do almost all my work remotely. I have clients I have worked with for many years on a first name basis whom I have never met.
But this particular client had asked me to modify my webinar presenter training course to train their executives and upper management on how to deliver more impactful and persuasive in-person presentations during board meetings, client visits, and company gatherings. You have to train in the same context your audience will use, which meant getting on a plane and flying from Raleigh to Chicago.
That’s a short flight - between 90 and 120 minutes of flight time. But we wanted to start at the beginning of the work day. That meant flying out the preceding afternoon, grabbing some inferior and overpriced airport food, taking a taxi to a hotel, spending the night, getting to their office the next morning, teaching the course, taking a taxi back to the airport, waiting around for the flight, getting back to Raleigh and driving home. Total elapsed time, well over 24 hours. Add to this the hassles of airport security, the frustrations of flight delays (I had three separate announced delays in the airport and on the tarmac), setup time and effort to make the travel and lodging arrangements, and all the extra costs involved in the trip.
But wait, it gets better. The first time I gave the training course, it went over extremely well. The participants said “We need our other executives to take this.” So they flew me out again. And then a few people couldn’t make the training on that day so we scheduled another visit to cover the additional personnel. Three separate trips with all the associated costs and lost business time.
I couldn’t help comparing this to the training I give companies over the web. They pay for my time during the actual delivery of the course. I suffer no lost business opportunities, no travel headaches, and no travel expenses. We usually record my session. If a few people can’t make the live training, they simply watch the recording later. No additional expenses or coordination.
I’m not saying that all face to face business should be replaced by web collaboration. That’s silly. I’m just pointing out that once you get used to the advantages of web-based communications, those times when you have to travel feel even more odious than they used to. Sure, you can still get me on an airplane. But not willingly and not when I have any other option!