Summers in South Florida are a certain kind of hell. The heat, the humidity, and the always punctual 4pm tropical storms that ravage us day in and day out find me generally staying inside and cranking up the air bigtime. With the current state of the world, staying inside has become the new normal. I’ve barely made a dent in my sunscreen, and at this point, I know I owe my dogs a marathon-long walk.

“The virtual platform is just a conductor, and the magic of meaning-making relies on us.”

I’m increasingly connecting with my family, my employees, and with my clients on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, in Google Hangouts, and over Facetime. I find myself in the strangest outfits of pajama bottoms with a nice top, or biker shorts with a full face of makeup. These are certainly weird times, indeed.

Regardless of how I look or what I’m wearing during these virtual connections, I am incredibly grateful for them. And as large-scale events, the ones where we gather together in person, seem like an increasingly distant memory, I’m thinking about how we can really optimize these platforms to create meaningful experiences and events in our personal and professional lives.

To be clear, this is not a creative idea; I’m certainly not the first to have it. But can there be a way to create virtual experiences in COVID19 that retain the integrity of the brand or the vibe of the community behind them?

Let’s think of creating virtual experiences not as something trendy, but as a way to best achieve whatever goal is in front of us, or solve a challenge we are experiencing. The virtual platform is just a conductor, and the magic of meaning-making relies on us.

Here are a few things we can think about as we stay inside and connect from our own homes:

  1. Your DNA. Whether it’s that of your family, or of your business, you want your idea for connecting to viscerally feel like you guys. How can you maintain your “you-ness,” or better yet, transform it for Zoom?
  2. Lightbulb doodle Royalty Free Vector Image - VectorStockMake sure the people participating will genuinely care and rally behind the opportunity to connect virtually. Are we in a Teams meeting for the sake of being in one, or are we coming to the meet up energized and with purpose?
  3. Have fun! There are tons of tools and features that you can play with on these platforms. From green screen backgrounds to Zoombombing (google it!) there are all sorts of somewhat silly bells and whistles to play with that can spruce things up on what could be a stale connection.
  4. Make sure your ideas and insights are strong before creating a live virtual event, whatever scale it may be. You want to interest, excite, and inspire whoever is connecting with you or your company, and have all of this thoughtfully conceived.
Julie Talenfeld
President
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