Virtual Overload

Virtual Overload
(Image credit: Future)

Last month I talked about staying connected and advocated for developing more and stronger connections: go to more virtual happy hours, initiate more FaceTime chats, do whatever it takes to stay engaged with your colleagues and co-workers. 

But this month? I’m over it.

This week alone I’ve attended a multiday virtual conference, four Zoom happy hours, and dozens of meetings over video chat. I read at least two news items every day about companies hosting virtual trainings or webinars, and I get at least as many invites to casual #AVTweep hangouts. It’s nice to be wanted, but at this point—if I’m speaking frankly—I’m exhausted. Virtual overload. And that’s okay.

Based on multiple conversations with multiple people, I know I’m not the only one feeling this way. But I also feel grateful. Yes, I’m grateful to be overwhelmed with virtual connections. Why? Because that means I have access to free education to better myself and further my career, I have co-workers who want to engage and make SCN the best pro AV magazine out there, and I have #AVTweeps who are like family and just want to hang out. And all of this is better than being bored in the house and in the house bored.

For a change of pace, my friend and AtlasIED vice president of marketing and communications Gina Sansivero recommended switching it up from large virtual gatherings and doing what she calls “Tiny Marketing Activities.” That means spending 10 minutes a day reaching out to your customers, vendors, and co-workers and simply checking in. Not checking in on the status of a project or upcoming orders, but checking in on the person—leading with empathy, as Gina says. “How are you doing?” That simple phrase can change the course of someone’s day. Let your partner tell you about their daily struggle or the funny story about homeschooling. Get to know each other on a deeper, personal level.

Let’s keep the virtual gatherings and trainings, but know that it’s okay to decline an invite (or two or 12). Let’s add in Tiny Marketing Activities and leading with empathy. And let’s keep dreaming of the day when we’re on the other side of this, having an in-person happy hour with fist bumps galore. In the meantime, stay safe and stay healthy.

P.S. Want virtual education resources? Check out our Pro AV Education Resource Hub

Megan A. Dutta

Megan A. Dutta is a pro AV industry journalist, and the former content director for Systems Contractor News (SCN) and Digital Signage Magazine, both Future U.S. publications. Dutta previously served as the marketing communications manager at Peerless-AV, where she led the company’s marketing and communications department. Dutta is the recipient of AVIXA's 2017 Young AV Professional Award and Women in Consumer Technology's 2018 Woman to Watch Award. Dutta is co-founder of Women of Digital Signage, an organization designed to provide a pathway to promote networking, mentoring, and personal growth.