Snakes & ladders of lockdown learning

Coming from a discipline of learning and coaching in person and now spending atleast the last 6 weeks doing this online it does feels like I am moving up and down the competency stair-like snakes & ladders!  Now the last few weeks have taught me there is a lot to learn, setting up your space, the right lighting is key!

I have spent evenings moving lamps around the house, finding extension cables, removing lampshades, asking “how does this look?”,  now I think everyone is saying “ok, great”, just so I will stop asking.   Whilst I maybe at the bottom of the ladder or the first rung I know my CPD plan.  I know some things will transfer from physical connection in the same space but many won’t.  This is new and the respect and fear needed for a physical group or audience transfer to online.

Working with the technology and really understanding how you can make it work for you is critical.  Understanding and managing out possible risks is not a one off “rodeo”, but we can share our learning to help others.

1:  Noise – who, what will create distractions when you are online, children, the dog, doorbell, and so on.  In reality what is the length of time I can be online to be the best I can be and manage the conditions around me?

2: Appearance – me and my environment.  For me this is about respect.  Respect for the audience online, myself and those in my household.  I need to “show up” to be my best self.  In my organisation the protocols around how we “show up” are clear, unambiguous and cover dress code, timing, branding and all the other things you would expect of a professional service organisation.

In the office our environment is set; at home this is different.  We need to be fully present in what it is we are broadcasting.  Think about what it is we are delivering online and see if the environment supports it, for example if a media consultant was sharing how to look good on camera and sat in a scruffy sweatshirt straight from their exercise you are likely to be not impressed. Carefully consider how neutral is your space?  What are you sharing family pictures, children’s drawing, the dog basket?  They are all part of your family life and you may be very proud of them, they are not necessarily part of your work life.  Watch all the Skype/zoom interviews on TV you will soon recognise what works.  What you may be interested in as a passing observer for 2 mins on the news, “oh I like his kitchen, look at all that clutter” is not the reason someone is joining your online session.  Remember your family may not enjoy being actors in the background for your online programme.  Respect your work give it the best conditions to be wow.

“It’s all about me” – well hell it is!  You are the feature, you may not want to be, but you are. Take account of dress and grooming for online, remember bright and vibrant, avoid becoming the magnolia online.   Plan your wardrobe- remember guys a white shirt may make you appear washed out and whatever it is it must be ironed, unless you have paid a lot of money for those creases!  Remember you need to be comfortable for the time you are online but the bonus is… no need to worry about footwear!

Judith Barton
Director of Coaching & Mentoring

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