Thanks to Amy from GALA, a US based membership body who shares information about their successful webinar programme.
By Amy Ephrem, Membership Coordinator, GALA
The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) is the largest global non-profit association within the language industry, providing resources, education, ideas and research for companies working with translation services, language technology and content localization. GALA member companies are vendors and buyers of language services and technologies. They deploy sophisticated multilingual strategies and proven tools to take content and products to markets around the world. GALA is comprised of over 300 companies from more than 50 countries.
Launched in 2008 as a way to provide an efficient and cost effective way of gathering worldwide groups of language technology and services professionals together to have a discussion, watch a presentation, or view a tool demonstration, the GALA Webinar Series has become one of our most popular member programs:
- GALA hosted more than thirty webinars in 2011.
- Close to 1000 people participated in these sessions.
- Over 300 people have already participated in GALA webinars in 2012.
Our webinar series includes four different types of sessions:
- Expert presentations on industry topics
- Sponsored tool demonstrations
- Advanced tool training sessions
- Premium professional development webinars, sessions with an interactive workshop format that give participants the opportunity for more in-depth learning on focused topics
With members spread out across the globe on every continent but Antarctica, it is important for our association to be able to offer programming that is accessible for a global audience. The GALA Webinar Series does just this as it provides opportunities for our members to connect with industry tools, technology, ideas and discussions in a sales-free environment right from their desktops.
It also offers our member companies a place to showcase their technologies as well as a chance to share their industry knowledge and expertise with colleagues around the world.
Highly valued by members
When asked what they consider to be the greatest benefit they receive from their GALA membership, members will often mention our webinars. Members who are unable to attend our live webinar sessions due to time zone differences are also able to download past webinars from a library of recordings that we keep on our website.
Where to start
Providing online training opportunities is relatively inexpensive and easy to coordinate with the technology that is available today.
Organizations should begin by researching and testing out the different webinar platforms that are available to see which one best meets their needs. With our international audience, it was especially important for us to use a webinar system that allowed participants to connect through their computers with VOIP rather than having to make long distance phone calls. GALA currently uses the GoToWebinar platform from Citrix Online (http://www.citrixonline.com), which we have found to be quite affordable and user-friendly for organizers, presenters, and participants.
Choose your topics
Organizations will also need to know what topics their members are interested in and will then need to vet interesting and engaging presenters who can speak on these topics. GALA regularly issues calls for webinar presentations, and we also poll our members for topic ideas and suggestions.
Provide an interactive element
Finding ways to make the webinars sessions engaging and interactive for participants is key and one of the greatest challenges when using an online format.
We have found that allowing participants to ask and answer questions during the webinar sessions either by chatting through the platform’s IM feature or using its polling question feature to be helpful in getting attendees more engaged. We also encourage our presenters to extend the life of their presentations by continuing the conversation with webinar attendees through email follow-ups, social media, and GALA’s blog.
Coordinating and conducting webinars may seem like a daunting task at first, but there are many resources available to help organizations through the process of getting started. Webinars are an excellent and efficient way of providing accessible information and training for members and something that every membership organization should consider.
More information about GALA’s webinar series is available at http://www.gala-global.org/call-presentations.