If we were worried about having less to do during the pandemic restrictions, we need not have, as there have been endless webinars and virtual conferences to attend without leaving our homes or offices.
Although September onwards is normally the conference season, providers have been quick to catch onto the fact that we could be a captive audience.
I mean, we have no excuse about it being too far to travel or having to take two to three days out of the office.
We can collect our CPD points from the comfort of our lounge, bedroom, kitchen or office – anywhere, in fact, as long as our devices have enough bandwidth or access to 4G.
Initially, I was not that enamoured with the idea of engaging in this way. It could be rather passive, and the one thing I always enjoy and get much from with conferences is the networking and the odd drink at the bar afterwards.
The Octo Members Group – an app-based community for financial services professionals – has a virtual pub crawl on a Wednesday evening and while the discussions have been informative, entertaining and thought-provoking, it is not quite the same as sharing a bottle of wine with colleagues.
Although, having said that, I have connected with a couple of people on Linkedin as a result of some of those chats.
So, I have attended a number of the offerings and have even been involved in a couple of them myself, such as the one hosted by Intergen.
There have been some really good sessions, albeit at times there have been tech issues, but they keep us connected to the financial services world and its people – and goodness knows we need it in these times of lockdown and uncertainty.
There is the added bonus of recordings being available to look at when more time allows and for future reference.
Will this be the future? Personally, I hope not, but I think a mixture of the real and virtual would be a good balance and a way of reaching a far bigger audience.
Marlene Outrim is managing director at Uniq Family Wealth