Communications professionals thrive within in-person environments and the value of face-to-face networking, learning and working together ranks high in the profession. Being able to connect with one another in groups and read body language and facial expressions in close physical proximity is how we operate best. Not only for business purposes but also connecting with our peers through social networking is a communication professional’s lifeblood. So how has the communications professional adjusted to a completely different way of conducting business and connecting over the past six months? And are online events, video conferencing and virtual networking here to stay?
When the social consequences of the pandemic began to surface this past spring, a common mentality was to brace for impact, adapt for the time being, and wait for everything to eventually go back to normal. Fast forward to half a year later, and “going back to normal” may not be in our future. Although this can be discouraging, it is in how we use this experience to our advantage and do what we do best as communicators to continue strengthening relationships with our stakeholders.
Recently, it feels like we have become experts at Zooming, Google Hangouts and FaceTiming. And since there’s no certainty as to when we’ll be able to conduct business as usual, there are ways to make sure we stay healthy, inspired, and engaged. A sound strategy is to shift expectations and perceptions to embrace the era of connecting with the world through a screen and leverage it to achieve success.
Diving in and embracing the new
It’s important to look at the opportunities that are surfacing as a result of the situation. Connecting online provides increased opportunities to create, strengthen and sustain professional relationships with clients and colleagues. Here are five more benefits that we can gain from it:
- Zero geographical borders
Connecting virtually can bring more opportunities to attend professional development events around the world. Where once we were bound by distance and other barriers to entry, communications professionals can now be a part of events happening everywhere more easily than before.
- Focused communications
Instead of trying to meet new people or nurture existing connections with colleagues in a crowded room, the internet allows for the opportunity to connect in smaller groups and have focused conversations. Whether it’s through one-on-one video chats or breakout rooms on video meeting platforms, the internet has us covered.
- Saving money and time
With online events, conferences and meet-ups at our fingertips, long gone are the days of budgeting for plane tickets and hotel rooms in order to attend in-person. They also provide the opportunity to attend an increased quantity of these gatherings. People can now participate in more than just one professional development event a year.
The time and effort spent on adhering to a dress code have decreased substantially with the era of online connecting. Dressing for success and putting your best foot forward are still important, but it now takes less time and can cause less stress if you don’t need to wear pants!
- Optimize time
This sums up the first four points into one. Not having to spend time on commuting, dressing and budgeting for events and meetings allows for more time spent both on work and life outside of work. This one really is a win-win.
As communicators, we will always prefer the gold standard of interacting face-to-face. And although we have had to adapt to continue doing so including mask wearing, social distancing and smaller gatherings, there is a lesson to be learned from all of this. No matter what state the world is in, people need connection. Thankfully, we are living in a world that provides us the ability to connect within seconds through technology. At the end of the day, it is up to us whether we truly adapt to an online dominant way of connecting in order to survive and thrive.
At Coldwater Communications, we are making the shift too. Promoting online events is in many ways similar to promoting in-person events, but there are key differences and new strategies that are very effective. If you need help promoting or gaining PR for your online conference or event, please feel free to contact us to discuss how our experienced team of PR professionals can help.