The pandemic has heightened the need to create virtual and hybrid experiences that are authentic and aid meaningful connection. It’s up to us to make that happen.
The virtual world can aid rather than hinder human connection. You just have to be willing to learn, adapt and grow.
“Am I on mute?”
Four words that have become the slogan for the corporate world. The pandemic Zoomed us into a new era of online communication as our homes became our offices, our classrooms and our conference centres.
Shifting to a fully virtual set-up has not been easy. A lot of companies are still ironing out the logistics and the impact on their workplace culture and stakeholder engagement. As a keynote speaker, I’ve been determined to design virtual events that leave the audience compelled rather than comatose.
My team and I have embraced this new frontier with a willingness to adapt, learn and grow. Our approach has helped us create virtual experiences that inspire and energise people at a time they need it most. As we now transition to post-lockdown hybrid events, we’re ready for whatever challenges the shifting landscape presents.
Preparing for change with a growth mindset and a foundation of knowledge
I’m no stranger to exploring unchartered territory. My quest to be the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits and Seven Volcanic Summits started in the Himalayas and finished in the Sentinel Range in Antarctica, the most remote and least trodden place on Earth. When you’ve faced the Grim Reaper and said, “Not today mate”, having to shift from in-person to virtual keynotes isn’t that daunting.
The other thing I had going for me was IT expertise thanks to working as a consultant for a global technology firm. I didn’t realise it at the time but the day job that had been funding my climbs had also been preparing me for the shift to online events. I had a foundation of knowledge to help me master new tools and technologies.
Taking the first steps into a new environment
When Melbourne’s first lockdown hit, I was invited to speak at an intimate online gathering. The event coordinator and I collaborated with a local wine bar to create an event that simulated the art of storytelling around the family dinner table. In addition to the wine, attendees could choose to have food delivered to their homes by local restaurants.
My team and I wanted to educate, entertain and uplift the participants so we incorporated various apps that encouraged two-way interaction and engagement throughout the night. The time spent planning and rehearsing ensured everything flowed with ease and everyone had a fantastic night.
The insatiable desire to go further and achieve more
While the event was a great success, it ignited my curiosity (along with my inner perfectionist). What else could we do? What other cutting edge tools, techniques and tricks could we use to create an unforgettable virtual experience?
Instead of seeing the shift to online events as a challenge, I realised it presented an incredible opportunity. I wanted to tap into all the exclusive benefits of the online world. I wanted to leverage this new landscape to awaken and engage audiences in a unique and dynamic way.
“Instead of seeing the shift to online events as a challenge, I realised it presented an incredible opportunity.”
Finding the right mentors to master the landscape
Whenever I’ve dreamed of success in my life, I’ve turned to coaches, mentors and role models to show me the way. When I embarked on my first climb, I sought out an experienced and trusted guide. This was no different. I sought out leaders in dynamic digital delivery and virtual impact mastery to help me navigate the digital landscape with clarity and confidence.
Learning from others to become the best version of yourself is not a new idea but it takes vulnerability and acceptance of our inadequacies. It’s a key part of fully embracing a growth mindset and moving beyond the self-limiting thought patterns our minds can conjure. Our minds are wired for keeping us safe, so our thoughts play hard ball to stop us from venturing into the unknown.
We need to override the safety setting if we want to embrace change and use it to our advantage. We need to be humble enough to say, “I don’t have all the answers”, astute enough to seek out guides, and brave enough to try new things.
Harnessing the learnings to make an impact
Fast forward to another Melbourne lockdown and my team was ready. We’d attended multiple digital delivery and communication masterclasses, learning from the best to enhance our online engagement and experiences. We had witnessed the impact of fluid, dynamic presentations where high energy was sustained in an environment that felt intimate and connected. We knew how to use specialised technology and software tools to inspire interaction and create a sense of community.
When I compare where we were at the beginning of 2020 to now, I’m incredibly proud of how far we’ve come. We’ve created a state-of-the-art video production studio to help us design virtual experiences that are energetic, performance driven and highly interactive. My latest virtual keynote experience, “Life Beyond Limits” combines stirring music, spectacular footage, live polling and Q&As to create a truly unforgettable experience.
We’ve moved into the virtual realm with a willingness to learn, fine tune and dream big. We have lived our mantra of “Never Give Up” for the benefit of ourselves, our audiences and the global impact we’re striving to ignite.
“We live our mantra of “NEVER GIVE UP” for the benefit of ourselves, our audiences and the global impact we’re striving to ignite.”
Looking to the future
As we head into 2022, it’s clear that the corporate landscape has forever changed. We will likely see more hybrid events that integrate virtual and in-person experiences and we’ll have to keep evolving.
Senior leaders, event planners and keynote speakers all have the same objectives – to energise and inspire people who might be feeling jaded and deflated, to offer clarity of purpose using new techniques and strategies, and to improve morale with something entertaining and fun. The pandemic has heightened the need to create virtual and hybrid experiences that are authentic and aid meaningful connection. It’s up to us to make that happen.
What adventure can we take you on next?
Daniel Bull is a 3 x world record-breaking extreme adventurer and virtual keynote speaker. He specialises in empowering leaders and teams to become more resilient, fulfilled and successful, whatever challenges they face.
Focusing on resilience and grit, peak performance, and the power of mindset, Daniel inspires audiences with his passion and authentic presence. His spectacular footage combined with the latest digital technology creates an exhilarating and highly interactive experience.
As a keynote speaker who’s headlined both live and virtual conferences, Daniel inspires audiences to find their own summits and tackle them with confidence.
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