We live in a rapidly changing world. The coronavirus pandemic has made this more obvious than ever why it is very important to keep learning new things, re-learn seemingly familiar skills, and re-invent the wheel. For this era, change is the only constant thing.

During this period, I decided to take time to brush up my communications skills by attending some webinar and hearing from practitioners and experts in the field. Some of the information was not entirely new but it served the purpose of also reminding me why they are important to pay attention to them. I have also been able to learn new things too.

Here are some of the things I have learnt in the last two months of working remotely:

On Communications (if you are handling your organisation’s communication’s channel).

  • Set a goal(s) and identify high priorities and develop your goals.
  • Listen to your audience to know where their interest lies and what they want
  • Be conversational and acknowledge comments
  • Make sure your communications support your organization’s strategic direction
  • Establish success metrics for communications activities (e.g 5% growth of Twitter followers in the next 3 months)
  • During a crisis, turn off scheduled “marketing” posts otherwise it will seem you are insensitive
  • Communicate the importance of collaboration consistently
  • Communicate to motivate and inspire
  • Use a secure password and keep a secured list
  • Finally, have fun! Be social –showcase your organization’s  personality

On Learning

The people who are leaders today are likely to be followers tomorrow because it is very difficult to stay high – unless you keep learning, keep innovating, stay flexible and are continuously prepare to take on opportunities. There is nothing damning as getting an opportunity you aren’t prepared for. The truth is, not everyone gets a second chance. So keep learning so that you will be ripe for whatever opportunity comes your way. Reviewing past knowledge can lead to new, beneficially updated understanding. To improve learning, in your host organizations for instance, seek roles, projects, and relationships that expand your perspective and thinking. Take initiative and ask questions. And if you want to learn a professional skill, you may look into attending courses and webinars – some of them are free while others aren’t. But there are lots of free and affordable ones around. 

On Networking

You don’t have to be an extrovert to be good at networking. Introverts can also be good at networking. (One of) the most important thing is to ensure your words and motives have integrity so you don’t look/sound fake. To build trust for greater connection, it’s essential to take the following actions: build trust, reliability, credibility, and connection. Social media is one good way to do it since most senior professionals. This can be done by commenting on updates or re-tweeting the post of the person you wish you network with. This will likely get you on their radar in a positive way.

On the use of technology

Traditional roles are changing. For instance, in the post-COVID, many people will be working remotely. Facebook and Twitter has already announced that most of their employees will be working remotely in future. Also important is to find out how you fit into this future. Understand what technology can do, how you can leverage on it without changing who you are. Also, learn how to monetize your skills as models are being disrupted.

On a “lighter” note, I also learnt times have changed. Watching Darren Walker’s virtual address to the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) Class of 2020, I realize that the way we refer to the era has now changed in international development circle.  It has changed from “AD to BC” as we know it from the Julian and Gregorian calendars to “BC to PC” i.e Before COVID and Post COVID.

What interesting things have you been learning during this period?