Catherine Rutland, Clinical Director reflects on how the 2020 Denplan Forums adapted virtually.
In a normal world our series of Forums occur across the country over the last few months of the year. It is a great opportunity to meet our members and have time to talk and learn their views. Usually a morning of business and professional updates is followed by an afternoon of clinical presentations. Dinner and an overnight stay give us time to talk to so many people over the usual nine or ten events.
In 2020 of course, things had to be done differently. With no face to face possible for large events, we had to rethink. It was important for us to find some way of updating our members on the business and share what we had learnt professionally. We also were keen to know what members wanted to ask us, as this is usually an important part of our live events and feeds into our future plans.
The decision was therefore made to do four virtual forums, one for each jurisdiction. Throughout the crisis we have seen each nation react differently, on guidance, timings –and that is ongoing. First, we reached out to the membership to ask what they would ideally like covered and that was then fed into the presentations.
I am very used to presenting, and actually really enjoy it, however, presenting virtually is a little different! When you can’t see your audience you realise how much you respond to people’s reactions and how this helps adapt how you present - a little difficult when you can’t see anyone at all and only your slides! Knowing there are hundreds of people watching, many of whom you know well is a comfort.
We have all got used to watching webinars and the almost inevitable technical challenges. When you are presenting, any glitch feels like it is going on for hours, not the minutes it really is, and keeping calm and your head together to continue is imperative. Luckily we were well supported by our brilliant events team, even in the scary, ‘my slides won’t move’ moments!
Our aim was to answer the main areas that had come into us as questions and to explain why decisions had been made, and also to consider our plans for 2021. Whilst there is still so much unknown, as with last year, we will work as agilely as possible to provide support as changes occur, both from a business perspective and also on guidance.
For anybody who didn’t get a chance to join us live, the recordings for each jurisdiction are available to watch here and please get in touch with us if we haven’t answered your questions, we will be only too pleased to respond.
This year will continue to bring restrictions on live events and as we have had some great feedback from the virtual forums and many of our other virtual events, we will continue to work to make sure we stay in touch.
As I said at the events, I have really welcomed the feedback from you all in 2020, both directly to myself and fed to me through our field team, so please continue to do this, as it is invaluable.