How Are CEUs Evolving?
Mpowered Podcast, Episode 18 Show Notes
Welcome to Mpowered, the podcast brought to you by Material Bank and created by ThinkLab.
In this bite-sized episode, we tackle the question, “How are CEUs evolving?” ThinkLab hosts Amanda Schneider and Meredith Campbell give insight into the modern approach to traditional CEUs, virtual CEUs, and why you should care about the new podcast CEUs.
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Welcome to Mpowered, the podcast brought to you by Material Bank and created by ThinkLab. Consider this your new weekly dose of bite-sized actionable insights to help you succeed as a B2B rep. I’m this week’s host, Meredith Campbell, Research and Content Development at ThinkLab. We’ll be answering one key question each week; Many of them
submitted by you. Want to join in? We’ll share details about how to submit YOUR question at the end of this episode.
We’ll be answering one key question each week, many of them submitted by you. Want to join in? We’ll share details about how to submit your question at the end of this episode.
Our question this week: “how are CEUs evolving?”
We’ll explore how to make your CEUs, or continuing education units, stand out with the right topic, format, delivery, and follow-up to extend the experience.
So, what’s changed? Imagine for a moment that it’s 2019 and you’ve finally gotten to a firm you’ve been trying to set an appointment with for six months. The only way you could get that appointment was by delivering a CEU. Fast forward to today, every firm has a different policy for appointments. But think of a CEU as a tool in your toolkit.
If you listened to our previous episode about thought-leadership, you’ll remember that thought leadership your lead-in. And CEUs are a powerful way to showcase your expertise. Information is the new currency after all. To get the most of your CEU, consider the content, format, delivery, and follow-up to get the most benefit.
First, we’ll focus on content. The topic is incredibly important. We hear from designers that they are digitally overdosed. How do you stand out?
Make sure to connect a CEU back to a product or solution that your company offers, but don’t make it a sales pitch, or as we’ve heard designers call it: “a thinly veiled marketing piece.” Think about what’s really important to your clients. What are common themes that come up in conversation? Maybe it’s professional development or a challenge their firm is facing. Think beyond product and think about their biggest challenges. That’s time well-spent for them.
Second, let’s talk about format. Because of the zoom-fatigued world we live in now, perhaps 30 minutes is the new hour. Committing to a 30-minute CEU, especially if it isn’t over an in-person lunch may be much more attractive to your clients. IDCEC now offers 30-minute options and AIA offers nano-learning 15 min increments so you can accommodate this shorter format.
Beyond that, make your PowerPoints stand out by including interesting features, like videos integrated throughout, or at the end show a sneak peek of a new showroom or a virtual factory tour. And remember that, PowerPoint isn’t the only format for CEUs; Prezi and Canva both offer really creative formats for sharing information.
And don’t forget about audio! You’re listening to this podcast right now, and your clients are probably consuming information in this way as well. In fact, ThinkLab has created its own CEU podcast, The Learning Objective, which offers CEU credit at the end of every episode through a quiz.
Third, make sure the delivery is strong. Expect that you’ll need to spend at least three times the length of that first presentation preparing. Your time is precious, so identify your own learning style: maybe you prefer to listen to an audio file of the presentation to study up, or maybe you do better studying speaker notes. Or perhaps you need to dig into the research a bit deeper to make it your own. Another really effective method is to present it to a peer where the risk is
really low, and then have them present it back to you.
Now a note here: Never ever read a script or your slides, or your audience will immediately shut down. We here this all the time from designers that they have reps who come in and just read off the slides the whole time and they say “if they were just going to do that we would have just read it ourselves.”
If you’re discussing a unique subject matter or something not in your expertise, bring in a guest! Having a subject matter expert join you physically or virtually offers a different perspective. Additionally, make the CEU interactive. Leverage digital tools creatively to drive two-way feedback. It could have a poll, quiz, or even a game.
Finally, follow up to extend the experience. Don’t just present the CEU and be done. Have a “what now?” for the participants and include follow-up steps or a call-to-action so they can learn more and engage further. For example, you could email them and thank them for attending the CEU, while adding “If you liked this, you might also like that...” Or you could send a book or follow-up research to any portion of the presentation that yyou noticed someone in
the audience was particularly drawn to.
All in all, CEUs can be a powerful tool to not only education your clients but also to inspire them. But, like so many things in this new world, we just have to use existing tools in new ways to be successful.
Special thanks to Material Bank for partnering with us to provide bite-size, valuable insights for B2B reps in the interior design industry.