Just like everybody else these days, we are being thrust into virtual conferences. We had them before Covid-19, but now they are mandatory. Unfortunately, this situation was thrust upon us so fast that we didn’t have time to develop and agree upon a set of virtual conference manners.
There are problems with the media itself and the use of the media that we would like to address. It’s bad enough that you can’t be there, but if you’re a speaker, others want your time for free, and then there is the feedback problem: There’s no laughing or clapping in real-time from the audience. It’s all very sterile and detached.
So why do folks further isolate themselves from the conference by trying to watch it on their phones? If someone makes a virtual conference date with you, don’t they deserve a bigger monitor than 2” x 3”? Don’t they deserve to appear on a screen that is closer to life-size? And don’t they deserve your attention uninterrupted by constant mobile phone connectivity issues?
When we used to meet in person, we gave them, and they gave us, their undivided attention. It was considered polite. How much attention can you give someone on a tiny screen? And what about the attendees, they are in even smaller boxes?
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Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
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