We are Corporate Trainers and pride ourselves on doing our job well.
I am a Head Trainer and Partner of my firm. My team and I have always prided ourselves on the fact that as trainers, we have been invited by several established companies across the country. Name a sector – automotive, retail, semiconductor, education, fintech, healthcare, software – and high chances are that we have trained various levels of management at some of the largest companies like Finastra, Oracle, SAP, Workday, etc at some point or the other.
I believe our training has always been contemporary, incorporating the latest engagement methods and technology. We deliver what we promise, hence we have a fairly long list of satisfied clients.
We have consistently been rated high, and have been included in the lists of Best Corporate Trainers over the years.
COVID-19 threw all our well-laid plans into jeopardy in 2020.
However, last year owing to the pandemic, we faced an unprecedented challenge as our calendar of scheduled training modules with several companies went in limbo. Many were canceled outright due to nationwide travel restrictions. In most cases, the HR departments were supportive and co-operative, but both sides reached a deadlock when it came to in-person workshops and training. There was no way we could have traveled, and companies were unwilling to ask their employees to work onsite for any training.
Our two-day Workshop was due in June 2020.
A leading law firm, headquartered in New York City, had organized a two-day workshop for their paralegal team in June last year. On the first day, we were to present the legal aspects of contract negotiation along with plenty of case studies which involved fun quizzes and impromptu role plays. Thereafter, we would also cover the wide area of skills with respect to negotiation. On the second day, we were to work on negotiation styles and do extensive mock sessions. The final module was to analyze how the trainees had performed and what it was that they could do, to improve themselves.
For us, this was a big one on the calendar for two reasons. One, we had clinched this after a serious, concerted effort of the team for over one year. Two, it was the first with a large law firm and therefore, it was critical that we pass the test to establish an ongoing business relationship with the firm.
We were at our wits’ end trying to figure out a way how to avoid cancelation or postponement.
Since we were working from home, the core team got together on a conference call to discuss ways to pull off the workshop in June itself, as it was of paramount importance to us. We decided to work around the manual we had created and to cut back severely on interactive time of the participants. However, here was the challenge – we could NOT have eliminated the fun games, quizzes and exercises for the participants altogether.
Apart from evaluating their own selves based on the outcomes of these, we would guide them to chart a roadmap for self- improvement in the future. Hence, the criticality of interaction.
A team mate suggested Personify Presenter.
To be honest, I was loathe to try out yet another new online presentation tool, but decided to try out the free version. It turned out to be very easy to use, fun, and in fact, an answer to our unique situation.
Presenter allows you to present like a weatherperson by being right there in the scene of action using AI and ML. It is an immersive form of presentation using some cool studio functionality. The combination of audio and video could be synced seamlessly with our regular presentation, automatically creating a personalized effect with a wow factor.
What is more, Presenter could be downloaded in seconds, and used very easily. It doesn’t require a tech savvy person or IT guy to install and set it up for you. So you can create and ideate at will, without going through a complicated “how-to” guide.
It was incredibly interesting to me. As Head Trainer, I could finally see light at the end of the tunnel.
Trying out Presenter
I created a demo for trial and was pleasantly surprised to discover that my presentation definitely looked snazzier than before.
So, what were the salient features that elevated my presentation instantly?
- It came ‘alive’ with my face on the screen. I was there right in the scene of action, presenting like the weatherman to my audience.
- I was free to modulate my voice and expressions to drive home the important points, to add a dash of humor and interact with my audience at will.
- I could keep my audience focused on my training all through, despite not being with them physically.
- I could take and respond to queries in real time.
- I could make use of the facility and flexibility to record, edit and share.
How does this work?
Given I am naturally curious, I wanted to find out how how Presenter works? Presenter employs ML and AI making use of computer vision to extract you from the camera stream. Then, your face (or entire self) is placed anywhere that you prefer on an application or website, either on your PC or Mac. So, you see your yourself anywhere that you choose on your screen. Just like the weatherman, your entire persona is on the screen as though you are right there in the room. And, you can easily try out various options – by placing yourself on the left, right or center of the screen – to test which looks most appealing.
When you choose to present in this unique way, you realize it automatically creates a spontaneous association with your audience. Your presentation becomes alive and personal, connecting you to your audience.
There is a distinct element of wow in it. You may choose to pepper it with live humor, making it further memorable. You are free to use your presentation in the background as per your choice, seamlessly moving between various slides, referring to materials and data as required, emphasizing special parts and using your virtual presence to make it personal and effective.
The Big Day
Fully convinced that this mode using immersive video and audio was just as effective as presenting in person, I reached out to the HR head of the law firm for an opportunity to make a brief presentation. I explained how this would stand apart from an ordinary conference call and could well work for the training module.
They responded with a date and time and duration of presentation.
I was relieved that despite the intensely challenging situation wherein our training schedules had almost come to a standstill, we had managed to breakthrough with the help of Presenter.
As this was to be a demo for the HR head and the exec team, I had encapsulated the two-day training module into a compact 30-minute presentation.
With Personify Presenter, I was able to Present, Educate and Entertain at the same time.
I was thrilled to note the allotted time being extended by another 30-minutes because the presentation was highly interactive. I was able to successfully convince my client that we could do the Negotiation Workshop on the appointed date and time from the safety and security of our respective homes.
We received a confirmation to go ahead with our training and workshop as scheduled earlier, without any change in cost outlay, apart from travel costs which were savings for the company. In fact, now that they have had a taste for how virtual corporate training can be as effective as onsite training, they will probably conduct most of their training using Presenter. And so will most other companies.
With this new-age technology, we had effectively blurred the boundaries of work areas without compromising on quality of training or communication. Neither our own top-line growth!
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