Making the most of a webinar: Professional development during a pandemic

Guest editorial
Ashley Pace
Generation Next
Governor at Large
Truck Bodies & Equipment International Inc.

This article was published in the July 2020 edition of NTEA News.

Though many in-person opportunities for professional development, training and networking in 2020 have been canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, never before have there been so many free, virtual opportunities to mature your skills as a professional. As brands have adapted their marketing/sales strategies to digital tactics during the pandemic, I have seen an increasing number of webinar opportunities that likely would not be happening outside of the current crisis.

I encourage you to take advantage of this trend, find webinars that interest you, register to attend and take this chance to hone your professional skills. However, beware of just signing up — it takes diligence to make the most of that hour. Here are tips for getting the full benefits of virtual learning.

  1. Attend live (if time permits). To make the most of a webinar, it’s helpful to attend the live broadcast. This enables you to ask presenters questions and hear their responses in real time. If you’re unable to attend live, most organizations follow up with a link to the recording for you to view at your convenience.
  2. Put it on your calendar. This seems obvious, but make sure to block time for when you’ve chosen to attend the webinar, either live or at a later date. Otherwise, it’s easy to get distracted or let the opportunity pass you by.
  3. Set aside other work. Find a time to watch when you can commit to attending without distractions from other work. It’s tempting to multitask during the broadcast (trust me — I’ve done it!). However, if you aren’t paying full attention, you’ll waste your own time and miss the benefit of participating live. Speaking from experience, you’ll likely have to watch the recording later anyway to cover the information you missed.
  4. Pull out your notepad. Take notes while the speaker is talking. This will help you remember what is said and stay focused on the topic at hand.
  5. Ask a question. Most webinars hold a live Q&A at the end. This is your chance to ask the expert any questions you have about the subject.
  6. Synthesize what you learned. After the webinar is over, review your notes and pull together bullet points of what you learned. Save this list, your notes and a link to the recording in a file to reference later when you need a refresh. I would also suggest sharing the list with your manager and team.

Hopefully these tips will help you turn virtual learning into an opportunity to grow your skills as a professional.

NTEA hosts monthly webinars for members, along with a recently announced series designed for commercial fleets. Learn more at and