My first webinar cycle for games and online activities has just ended. It taught me a lot and came with some surprises.
I practice Linguistic Empathy and I expect you to do the same. Please bear with me if my English is not perfect.
The first surprise was that, contrary to what I had imagined, my webinars found more interest in the English-speaking world. Also, many people trusted me without knowing me or knowing my work (and I had not given that for granted). The webinars also helped me to remember how useful playing is for many reasons. And this brings me to my final reflection, namely that the human element in webinars is super important.
More interest from the English-speaking world
I’ve always lived professionally a little cut in two. Like everyone else, I guess, working with my mother tongue is easier for me. However, I trained almost exclusively in English, I have lived internationally for decades, and the English-speaking world in my field offers many more stimulating opportunities for professional growth.
I have always worked with the two audiences, the Italian and the English speakers. If I have to be honest, though, promoting myself in the English-speaking world has always put me in awe. Call it the Imposter Syndrome, humility, low self-esteem… I am always apprehensive when I offer products and services in the English-speaking area. So I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that my webinars were of greater interest to English speakers than to Italians.
Playing is important
I was telling my husband how happy I was to offer this first webinar cycle. He reminded me of one time when we were living in Honduras, when I had so badly wanted to organize a party only for adults, and only to play. At that time I used to play a lot with my children, but I missed doing it among grown-ups. I missed being into the game.
The party did not take place, but my passion for playing remained unchanged. Playing is a constant in my life, and not by chance. It is through playing that I can honour and channel my two greatest values, support and human connections. Helping people and building relationships is much easier when playing. Because playing is relaxing and fun, and a more inclusive environment flourishes when we have fun. When we play, we are more willing to welcome the other. Games create conditions that have no consequences, and this reduces stress and helps to accept rules other than ours.
The human element in webinars
This is the most important lesson that I take away from the first cycle of my webinars. I already knew that I am a person who communicates easily and thrives in human relationships. When selling products on a professional level, however, one cannot (and should not) think that her pleasantness is enough to satisfy those who buy them.
I put a lot of preparation into my webinars because I wanted them to be perfect. I thought about timing, tested the games in advance, worked on the material for a long time. However, when the first webinar started, and all those unknown faces with whom I had to work satisfactorily in a limited period of time appeared on my screen, I understood that I could never have done it without a warm and human environment. All my power points, images and quizzes would have been of no use had the participants felt uncomfortable, and had I not communicated my passion for connecting in games.
I was certainly lucky because all the members (only women!) were very nice. But I am convinced that the human element in the webinars has been of basic importance, and has counted more than all the material, the timing, or the good organization. For the two hours they lasted, I felt connected to the participants. I gave everything I could not because they had paid and I had to satisfy them, but because this is the only way I know. I want to help them, give them my best part and make them richer. This is how my values are expressed, and my work makes sense.
See you soon for the next cycle!