A better part of my Saturday was spent in a jury meet going through entries from some of the best and brightest young and upcoming PR professionals. There seem to be different views out there on whether this is a good use of one’s time during a pandemic.
I don’t know what the right answer to that is. My view is that now more than ever, we need to keep hope alive. The next generation of talent in every industry needs to be acknowledged and encouraged. If a few hours can be spared by those who are safe and well to keep an eye out for the best and the brightest and then shine a spotlight on them and say thank you and point them in the direction of new mountains to climb, I believe it’s worthwhile.
But I digress. This is not my learning for the week. I have had the privilege over the years of being part of many jury meets. This one got the job done. We have a list of winners. What we did not have was the joy of meeting.
The catch-up outside the room with friends. The quiet exchange of glances between two people who know what the other is thinking without saying a word. The lighter moments were missing. The lunch break was functional not a function. There was no after jury meet ‘small group huddle’ where gossip and juicy titbits were shared.
My learning is what’s changed in the jury meet is what I am missing in all meetings. We meet. We get the job done. We move on. We connect online but we are not connecting. The connecting used to happen ‘outside the room’. The room was central. It brought people together. Important decisions got made in the room. But even more important was what happened on the side-lines.
That space is gone when we meet in online rooms. How to recreate that bonding and connecting. The serendipity of an unplanned conversation and a chance encounter that changes a day a decision or a lifetime is less likely in the online world, as it currently exists.
What I’m trying to figure out is how we will find this online. I am optimistic that the human race is innovative and given our need for social connections and belonging, we will find a way to do this new dance of connecting in meaningful ways online.
The best and brightest young minds (whether they know it or not) are busy trying to figure out how to do this. I am hopeful that we will find that space soon. If anyone has ideas or has found an interesting way to navigate this new world, do connect. I would love to learn from your experiences. Who knows we may even find a serendipitous online connection in the process… till we meet again.
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