During the pandemic, a leading European technology company requested 4 media trainings in 4 languages, in 4 different countries. English, Dutch, French and Italian — 4 of the 5 languages I personally, train in.
I thought nothing of the travel hurdles. I needed an energy boost and was ready for contact at a more human level than the online experience was offering. The assignment took me to Paris, just when the city was opening up and just before it locked down more tightly again. Spirits were high and traffic congested.
Brussels was a breeze from Paris – and Turin was easy to get to, thanks to an online car sharing app, blablacar.com, which solved my problem of booked out train seats. We made record time and I was dropped off at my hotel door!
Travel to Bristol, UK, in the middle of the summer, was more complex. It required doing 4 Covid-19 tests at a cost of EUR 522. More time consuming and expensive. Yet I feel the experience of a face-to-face training lasting a whole day made it much more valuable to the client. He was able to make considerably more progress than typically visible after an online session. Online sessions tend to last only a couple of hours and are prone to distractions and feelings of self-consciousness. Participants may feel less focused and more distant from the trainer. Plus the brevity of the programme does not allow time for learnings to be properly absorbed. In short, face-to-face trainings are more effective in my opinion and this made getting there worthwhile.