New World, New Skills

A girl sitting at a desk beside an window with a notepad, laptop, and phone

At a recent all-staff meeting, our team got a virtual training session from Keystone Communications expert, Giles Atkinson. We were told to bring our ‘best presentation’ selves while we sipped our beverage of choice and shared best practices on presenting in this new world we’ve been thrown into.  Virtual presentations come with a whole new playbook to ensure your audience stays engaged. From eye contact and posture, to timing and emphasis, we walked away with important new skills to practise.

This workshop is just one example of how our team is making sure we’re not passively waiting this out. Our training team has actively implemented new initiatives to keep us challenged during the lockdown.  It’s important to re-evaluate your skills during times like these, but it can also be overwhelming when there is so much new information to digest. It requires a new system of evaluation and thinking in order to determine how to best adapt and upgrade your skills. As the creative lead at our agency, here are three ways I’m making sure my continuous learning is a success:


1. Jump right in

Our team was quick to respond when events started getting cancelled. Within a few days, we had spoken to new suppliers, sourced new technologies and brainstormed new strategies for shifting meetings and conferences to the virtual world without sacrificing the attendee experience. Take our goeasy client’s monthly town halls – our conferences and events team dove in right away to provide a seamless virtual experience for over 1000 employees. This meant refining and learning new tech skills very quickly to ensure they were the experts in not just live events, but all events. There is no better time for exploration and discovery – so don’t hesitate!


2. Rethink the whole process

It’s not just the final product that’s changed. During these unknown times, many of us are struggling to find inspiration or insight to get the creative process started. Just as we’ve had to look for new ways to execute, we also need to find new ways to inspire, collaborate and ideate. Our advice – be flexible. Don’t hesitate to re-evaluate your entire creative approach and experiment with new methods of brainstorming and collaboration. Reach out to others in the community and trade tips on what’s working and what’s not. Take this time to learn from others and find new techniques that you wouldn’t otherwise have considered. We’ve found casting our net company-wide for initial ideas, then building in smaller groups has worked best for brainstorming during the lockdown. It provides all styles of creativity an opportunity to contribute and lets everyone play to their strengths.


3. Be humble & flexible

Unfortunately, with unexpected cancellations comes an overall shortage of work and many teams are finding themselves forced to downsize. This means roles are shifting to an entrepreneurial work style and people are being asked to take on tasks which may not have been part of their normal job description. This can require new learning, or it could mean digging into your past and dusting off old skills you haven’t used in some time. Personally, I’m taking it as an opportunity to re-evaluate the creative process from all angles and levels – my own skills included. I’m doing what I can to set things up stronger for my team when we return. One thing I’m looking at is how we gather feedback, specifically – thinking about how we collect stronger internal feedback including setting up our clients to provide their input throughout the creative process.


Most importantly, keep an open mind and challenge yourself to think big. We may not know exactly what the future has in store for us, but we can push ourselves to keep the inspiration and optimism alive.

Bibianna Poon

Group Director, Conference & Events


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