Homeschooling is not just for the kids

Covid-19– message from our Founder, Chris Dawes

Times are certainly unique right now, and we are only just starting to come out of what I call the “chaos phase”! By that I mean that we are nearly at a stage where things are set up, and the new norms are settling into place for the majority of us, rather than trying desperately to digest everything and adapt both physically and emotionally. We find a way for our personal lives to carry on; even if not as per the usual we are used to; and we are finding a way for many of us to allow our professional lives to continue in some guise in the current situations we find ourselves in.

remote public speaking training

How the professional side is continuing varies based on what we are doing, ranging from being furloughed (every crisis ends up with a buzzword, and I think that will be one of them from this…), are set up to be able to work from home, or the incredible stories of those front-line workers still working incredibly hard to keep us all going and safe (especially the amazing NHS, but also so many others that we all have probably grown appreciation levels for). Thank you so much to you all from everyone at Open Dawes Training and my family!

This whole thing has already brought out the best in so many of us (including 750k people last I heard applying for the 250k required people to support our NHS!!), but also the absolute worst as well (including my sister, who is front line in the NHS and she and her colleagues have had to endure shocking stories such as being spat at and thefts of their PPE which they are already short of themselves…).

All of us are dealing with the emotional side of the lock down and the whole pandemic (of which we are all probably watching too much of on the news and social media, an area that I am managing by rationing my exposure to for sanity and self-preservation reasons) differently. I have noticed that many of those around me (or as around me as they are allowed to be at the moment…) have mixed their focus between protecting and homeschooling their young ones denied their in school education and time with their school friends (as is the case with our own 8 year old daughter, and yes that is also including the Joe Wicks morning PE sessions…), doing whatever work they can do towards their job, and taking the chance to personally and professionally develop during this period of time.

Remote Training and webinars

I have myself spent time glued to various webinars and signing up for some online training since this has started, especially as my media/sports commentating work is on hold currently. And as you can imagine, we at Open Dawes Training have been having to work very hard internally to re-purpose our training to distance learning and development, using video conferencing technology and dividing up the modules to manageable lengths of online sessions. Thankfully it has not been fully starting from scratch, as we have provided training via Zoom video conferencing to international and national clients already. But as it has mainly been face-to-face training, we need to make sure we have it right.

Ironically, we have also been asked to train candidates on using web conferencing software, and how to talk to a webcam and with an audience that either may not be on camera themselves, who may have delays, or a group that all attempt to compete to talk. Areas that I have well over a decade and a half of experience in, having not only provided training and holding general meetings via web conferences, but also demonstrating document management software to potential clients remotely, and successfully closing B2B business remotely without me even meeting them in person in many examples.

distance learning courses

Video conferencing solutions

Our chosen medium is currently Zoom, but we also have experience of meetings, training, technical support and webinars via Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting,,, Skype, and various others to lesser or greater extents. (including HouseParty, but that was more about a virtual pub quiz with friends whilst supping on cocktails at the dining room table… Nothing will stop this country from partying…).

video conference training

Open Dawes Training's Public Speaking Remote Training

Whilst it is fair to say that everything is better face-to-face if at all possible (other than admitting to my wife that I have just dropped and broken her last bottle of Prosecco in the house…), I have become very used to and comfortable with doing things via video conferencing over the years, and now we don’t really have a choice. We are able to provide one-to-one training for our clients, or even one to many in a Virtual Classroom Teaching (VCT) environment for organisational clients. We are able to share presentation slides, videos, images, audio, etc. to our candidates screen, and we can also record practical work done in front of the camera by our candidates and then analyse it and work on it by then sharing this video on screen. So, there is still a lot of personal and professional development assistance that we are providing to existing and new clients on public speaking, presentation skills, communication, effective presence and communication in meetings – and management of meetings, and as previously mentioned now also how to communicate (and use) video conferencing.

These are skills that are both helpful in the current situation, and very valuable investments in yourself for the future as well, no matter what your role, profession, level, or industry. Public speaking is apparently a “soft skill”, but then that means that it is a “soft skill” which gives your “core skills” a voice. We are ready to help you, and for some that has even included how they can deliver training and support remotely themselves.

Please contact us to find our if/how our remote training can assist you or your organisation by emailing or phoning 01793 238259 and asking for me personally. You can also sign up to our monthly tips and news email to receive an update on the 1st of every month with the latest articles to assist/inform you.

Please stay safe, and where possible stay home. All my very best wishes to you all, Chris Dawes.

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