Skip to main content

Virtual Realities

Virtual is the new normal. It has become an integral part of today’s society. We have had to change and adapt using new forms of social engagement to do business and stay connected to our customers. It is time to embrace virtual learning.  

We have seen numerous cancellations of floral events, design shows and hands-on classes. With that reality, how are we continuing to get inspired while using this time to learn and try some new techniques? Many educators have created courses both informative and inspirational on social media, and we have seen the rise of online educational platforms. 

Virtual is the new normal. It has become an integral part of today’s society. We have had to change and adapt using new forms of social engagement to do business and stay connected to our customers. It is time to embrace virtual learning.  

We have seen numerous cancellations of floral events, design shows and hands-on classes. With that reality, how are we continuing to get inspired while using this time to learn and try some new techniques? Many educators have created courses both informative and inspirational on social media, and we have seen the rise of online educational platforms. 

At the beginning of March, Chris Norwood of Tipton & Hurst started presenting Facebook Live design videos to bring some happiness into people’s lives. When he began, he said he would keep doing them until the pandemic subsided. Much to all of our surprise, that is not anytime soon. Chris has continued to broadcast his daily “Happy” videos at 2 pm, creating a variety of designs and offering an insider view of floral design.  

In a recent video featuring peonies, he had 47,200 views and 127 shares with designers and consumers worldwide watching. Along with so many others, I am enjoying the videos as an experienced designer. It is a comfortable place to be in the safety of your own environment. Talented designers still inspire you. Furthermore, live videos on social media are getting the most engagement with viewers. This change in how we receive our education will advance the power of online engagement. 

There are several platforms that can be utilized to connect with your audience and two of the most popular are Zoom and Microsoft Teams. They are similar in the format of the meetings; it just depends on your preference. These tools are a very effective way to collaborate with students, consumers and colleagues using interactive meetings and webinar presentations as the new classroom.  

After doing some research, I determined Zoom was the best platform for my needs. I got a pro subscription to have access to the webinar and unlimited meeting time options. Webinars are presentation-style versus meetings that are more of a group gathering. Meetings can be used as a live interactive educational session where you would be able to see all attendees – and they could show their work.  

Webinars have the host’s and panelists’ involvement; however, the attendees are not visible to each other. With the webinar option and the ability to link to Facebook or YouTube Live, I was able to broaden the reach of each seminar. In addition, as staffing has decreased in some floral businesses, the ability to watch at an alternative time was essential. Furthermore, with Zoom you can also record either session on your computer or the cloud for future use. 

Regarding webinar features, one of the best options when using Zoom is the ability to share your screen. A presentation can be prepared to guide you through the webinar. The idea is that people will retain more information if you can stimulate multiple senses. Using this tool will keep your viewers engaged and increase their connection with the material being presented.  

With the screen share option, you can share a prerecorded video and bullet-point details, or do live demonstrations. And the opportunity to have multiple panelists increases the feeling of a live class. Engaging conversations or topic discussions between peers creates the connection of being there in-person.  

Zoom meetings are another option to connect with your audience. It can take on a classroom setting where you can teach a lesson and engage with your audience. They can also ask questions and show their work. 

As we move forward, the demand for online education will only increase. It can be used to connect to your customers or become educated by your peers. The need to embrace technology has vastly accelerated in this challenging time. And you can use that to your advantage. 

For more ideas from Sandy, go to trendondesign.com and follow @sandyschroeck on Instagram.