By Mike Sokol
This is a great time to fill you in on one of the interesting things that has been happening in the last few months. While I did have a number of live seminars scheduled around the country for the summer and fall, right now the only one that hasn’t been cancelled is the Hershey Show scheduled for September 16-20, and that’s still not definite.
But all is not lost, since webinars at RV Virtual Rallies are ramping up quickly, and I believe they could be the future of RV seminar training. Why so, you ask? Well it’s a numbers game….
Let’s consider my appearance at the Hershey 2019 RV Show where I was in a room that was supposed to seat maybe 50 attendees and we jammed 80 into the room. I had 60 minutes to complete my seminar and vacate the space in time for the next presenter. That’s generally not a problem for most presentations where the instructor just has a laptop with a PowerPoint presentation.
However, as any of you know who’ve attended one of my RVelectricity seminars, I bring along a bunch of live electrical demonstrations, all of which can be dangerous if not set up properly. There are overhead cameras so you can see what I’m doing on my tabletop, my own sound system so you can easily hear me speak, and there’s lots more information than can easily be covered in 60 minutes. But for most shows, that single 60-minute time slot is all that’s available. And, of course, I’m grateful for any time at all.
However, that’s not the best way to teach, and this is vitally important information that can only be taught so fast. And large shows like Hershey want me to do the same presentation for 5 days in a row since there’s such a high turnover. Again, that’s not their fault. It’s just the nature of the beast.
I had much more time and space to do my RVillage Master Classes in Florida last February, where there were 300+ attending for 3 days in a row with different seminar content each day. Now that was fun because there was plenty of time for me to get a lot of teaching done, and a huge venue to do it in. However, I heard from dozens of readers that they couldn’t make the drive, and who asked if I could do a video of my seminars. Well, it seemed like none of my sponsors were interested in paying anything at all for a video version of me. So I didn’t put any serious thought into it.
But then the FMCA show cancelled at the last minute due to COVID-19 and I was all dressed up with no place to go. So in the matter of a week I converted all my live seminar material into video webcasts and presented my RVe Basics Electricity class in three 20-minute videos with 10 minutes of Q&A via YouTube chat. It was a huge success by any measure.
Shortly after that I was contacted by Eric from TechnoRV asking if I would like to participate in their Heartland Virtual RV Rally. Since I already had the cameras, lights and computers all tuned up to do webinars, of course I said yes and created four brand-new 10-minute videos on new topics, all free to the public. Part of the beauty of this Heartland Virtual RV Rally presented by TechnoRV.com is that it’s going on right now for 10 days, and I didn’t have to drive to Goshen, Indiana. And neither have the thousands of RVers who’ve already attended their virtual rally, many of whom have watched my last RVelectricity seminars from the comfort of their own living rooms, weather in a sticks-and-bricks house or their RV.
So does this mean I won’t be doing any more road trips for my live seminars seminars? No, it does not. As soon as the country gets its legs back I plan to take my live-streaming webinars out on the road. For instance, if I do get to do my seminars at Hershey I plan to take my remote video streaming gear with me. Then I’ll be able to do my full seminars face-to-face in front of a live audience in the room, while simultaneously streaming it to the hundreds of other attendees who couldn’t fit in the space, as well as the thousands of other virtual attendees who couldn’t make the drive. So I’ll be simulcast, baby … the best of both worlds.
In the last few days I’ve had several other rallies contact me about presenting my seminars for them at virtual rallies, which I think is great. What this means is that instead of me updating a seminars page here, I’ll soon have a webinars page for you all to see. And unlike a physical rally that you might miss due to a timing or driving issue on your part, my virtual seminars are available forever for you to watch any time you want, and as many times as you want. So if you’re a member of an RV club or organization that might want to do a virtual rally, please contact me at mike (at) noshockzone.org and I’ll try to get you hooked up.
In the meantime, now more than ever, let’s play safe out there….
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
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