Silver Linings in the Next Normal
As an event planner, young professional, and generally social individual, social distancing has really taken its toll on my mental health and well-being. I know I am not the only one feeling the pressure of such a swift and collective change in our society and community. Human interaction, meeting new
people, connecting over shared experiences are essential factors in our overall health. So, what happens when we are prevented from engaging with each other outside of our own safe bubbles? Well…we adapt!
Adapting is the only thing we can do in times of crisis and I have been awed by the resilience I have seen online, in my peer groups, and in my community. During this time, it is safe to assume that we have all participated in a Zoom call, a webinar, or joined a video chat with friends and family. At first,
this shift felt alien and odd to me. I could not stand looking at my face on the screen during team meetings and I could never remember to keep myself muted when I was not speaking! Four weeks in and I am starting to feel comfortable in this new virtual reality and have tried to focus my energy not on what we cannot do, but what we CAN do in these uncertain times.
I have found that even with the challenges we are facing, there are many silver linings that I would like to share with you….
Forgiveness is contagious
I was hosting a virtual event a few weeks ago and the streaming platform crashed mid-session. Our presenters video streams shorted out, the audio was all messed up and my hosting controls were incapacitated! I was in a full sweat of panic and expected attendees to be angry and disappointed in our program. To my surprise, everyone (presenters included!) was so understanding and forgiving. Attendees were encouraging and shared their tech horror stories which ended up turning into a great opportunity to connect over shared experiences.
We are ALL trying to navigate a new world where we must figure out how to conduct business, connect with peers, and simply live our lives with some sense of normalcy. What I am learning is that no one gets it right every time and that is okay, especially in these times. Even if you make a mistake or something goes wrong, you may find, like I did, that people are more forgiving now then ever before. We should all strive for excellence instead of perfection and exercise forgiveness whenever we can.
Empathy is the best sales pitch
I do not know about you, but my inbox has been inundated with businesses reaching out to me wishing me health and safety in these trying times (followed up by their corporate position on COVID-19). In what other time has the M.O. of corporate communications been Empathy and Caring? Usually, I am receiving sales emails and BOGO offers, not sympathetic well wishes.
This shift in communication strategy at times may feel redundant, but overall, I have found the change refreshing and a bit touching, even when unsolicited. Operating under the notion that we are all in this together brings out the best in people, communities, and businesses. We are all in this together and creating empathetic touch points with clients, colleagues, and customers is exactly what is needed most right now.
Virtual connection is unique
I have set up my make-shift home office in the middle of my dining room with a wall full of Greensky Bluegrass tour posters as my backdrop. From my presented virtual environment, people can tell that I love art, music, and that I probably have way too many plants. During a call, they may also catch a glimpse of my two dogs playing in the background or my Fiancé doing the dishes (yes, he is the best!). This intimate glimpse into my personal life would otherwise not be apparent to my teammates and has sparked conversations that otherwise may not have been had under different circumstances.
I have found joy in getting to know my co-workers better. I feel like I know their lives and their families more now than ever before. There is something to say about team building through crisis, and certainly our Chamber team has risen to the occasion. With every opportunity we don’t have, there are five new opportunities that we can explore and master to better ourselves and our team.
We all need more connection, especially through positive and hopeful messages. We are stronger together and through our collective efforts we will recover. In the meantime, find joy in the little things and focus on the opportunities that have risen out of this crisis. I encourage you all to find your silver linings and share them with your co-workers, your friends, family, and us! Share your silver linings on social and tag us @Grtrmanchester.