The world has changed: are you ready for the new one?

meetings Apr 13, 2020

100 days, and our world has changed. 100 days ago we had no idea what was about to engulf us.

So much has happened in such a rush lately, it’s hard to believe it’s only 100 days since the first person fell ill with what we now call Covid 19.

Loss, fear, stress, uncertainty… we’ve experienced them all as we’ve come to terms with this new reality.

If you are a speaker, or in the presentations business, it will likely be a long time before things are back to normal.

So let’s start preparing for the changes that speakers and presenters need to embrace to continue to communicate effectively in this time of physical distancing and remote working.

Some friends, professionals in the meetings industry, were talking the other day about the changes they’re preparing for.

Top of their mind is that there will be no more big meetings, at least not for a long time. No more national conferences. No more regional conferences. Not even the regular gatherings we were used to before the world got stood on its head. No more workshops in seminar rooms, no more big group training sessions, no more presentations with everyone squeezed around the boardroom table.

The view of the meetings professionals is that even after the first wave of the epidemic has passed, even when physical distancing rules have been relaxed, we will not return to normal.

Fear will discourage big gatherings. Even after the current wave of infections and deaths has peaked, we know that the virus will still be around. It won’t just disappear. And with a vaccine maybe a year away, there will be no protection against the virus for 12 - 18 months.

We all know how fear has changed our behaviours lately - both with friends in the street and with strangers in the supermarket aisles. Even with the rules relaxed, many people will not be confident about gathering in close proximity, not with colleagues and especially not with strangers. What meetings there are will likely be small groups, with more distance between participants. Businesses and conference organizers will not want to be responsible for incubating another wave.

The response of many speakers and presenters has been to develop their online skills. They’re embracing Facebook lives and YouTube and conferencing apps like Zoom, and discovering how conventional presenting skills need to be adapted for the virtual world.

It’s a similar situation for those people who are called on from time to time to be interviewed by the media. In the past you turned up at the TV studio or on location and the videographer took care of the technical bits - the framing of the shot, the exposure, the audio.

Now reporters in their homes are using laptops, tablets and smart phones to talk with interviewees in their homes. How you, as the interviewee, look on screen depends entirely on how you set up your computer and control your environment.

Many people are coping well with this new reality, but we still see far too often - both on the evening news and on social media posts - the pitfalls that await the unwary in the era of online presentations and interviews.

Over the coming days we at Podium Coaching and Presentations Masterclass will be putting out articles, tips sheets and videos to help you thrive in our new reality.