WHEN DID VIRTUAL BECOME PREFERRED?
WHEN DID VIRTUAL BECOME PREFERRED?
There is no article, friend or mentor that could have prepared me for the shocker and unprecedented social nervousness that has tackled and blindsided me.
The virtual world was an adjustment and I remember the mental shift of facilitating skill and motivating and engaging an audience in a different way. I am a born facilitator and engaging was not the challenge, seeing myself on a screen 24/7 was growth on steroids. I longed for a live audience, the energy and laughter, the moments of connection that every speaker knows and resonates with.
Slowly life adjusted, I trained, coached and motivated virtually and I still do.
A few weeks ago, I entered a venue where I was invited to motivate and inspire a team of 50. Spaced apart, sanitised and masked, attendees were excited and the air buzzed. Yes, it felt right. I presented, we laughed, we got real, we dug a little deep and by the end of the session, growth was evident and leaders were team ready.
I received my thanks from the conference convener and continued to pack up my gear. For many, the real connection of a conference happens after the talk. I went to the area where the attendees started gathering, and there, as quick as a lightning bolt, I felt a jolt to my chest that was very foreign. My heart was beating so fast I thought it could be heard by all. Behind my mask I continued smiling as I was being approached by the group of attendees.
The open space between us got smaller as each person wished to share their personal encounters. Before you knew it, the circle was small and I felt completely surrounded. And now? 50 People waiting to speak to me is making my heart beat out of my chest? WHAT!? When and how did this happen?
Nothing out of the norm, except that I have been in an isolated bubble for 12 months, choosing my town and grocery time during quiet periods and not physically engaging with groups beyond my virtual realm. Flattening the curve, doing my bit.
I left that afternoon mentally shaken and the trip home was filled with deep digging and unanswered questions. So, let me break this down a little, because I am not alone. As I have started sharing my experiences, I have heard countless stories of similar encounters. Let's be unapologetic about this learning shall we?
Hindsight is always a great teacher, yes, I should have started integrating socially, sooner. Small steps, perhaps a friend or two, a restaurant trip with a small group, a client on-site visit instead of virtual only. Walking into an event to inspire and speak as I have done countless times previously, without even considering a possible mental hiccup, was short-sighted.
On reflection I have started making intentional adjustments and would encourage you to do the same. Let's have a look at 10 easy and practical steps:
As I start settling into my intentions, it is clear that the virtual world is one which I have more control over. Eeeeek! Yes, I can control the aircon, the sound and microphone, the lighting and even the camera angle set-up. That control is dangerous, it has settled into a comfortable pod in my planning. So, bring on the live conferences and events, where I have no control over the technology, sound or temperature. This is what growth looks like. May you be encouraged to take the small steps that carry you toward the goals you have for yourself. Take care of you and yours, and be safe.