From one day to the other, our lives have moved online. Even if lockdowns are loosening up everywhere, the digital is here to stay. It has altered the way we meet, the way we gather, the way we interact. From the Monday morning meeting to deep-dive-workshops to conferences with hundreds of participants: right now, they don’t mean chit-chatting with your colleagues, hopping around a workshop-room for an ice-breaker or queuing in line for your name badge.
Instead we are all familiar with this experience by now: staring at a screen with 25 blurred faces of strangers whilst trying to stay focussed on a presentation – until we eventually “Zoom out”, turn off our own video and go cooking instead.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. I believe this disruption can be a great chance for us to finally realize the most important factor in all our meetings, workshops and events that we might have missed far too long: the human element. Ironically enough it seems to be the digital world that won’t let us ignore our innate human needs anymore. We crave for contact, authenticity and exchange. We want to feel connected, we want to learn, we want to contribute.
So maybe it is time to really change the way we meet. To leave behind meetings that are just there to show off egos, workshops where the best part seems to be the coffee break and conferences that leave participants scrolling their news feed whilst yet another all-male-panel discusses problems instead of solutions for the umpteenth time.
Maybe it will be the digital world that will finally make us realize what we’ve been missing all along is as simply as that: to be more real.
Katharina, 36, Austria