We’re All Going Back to School. Again.

NOTE: Yes, this is about public speaking in the pandemic. Someday, I hope we’ll be able to read these old missives and think “how quaint.”

Back to school used to be easy

Sometime in August, you would:

  • scrape up the money to buy your kid(s) some notebooks and new clothes
  • check out their bus route (or figure out the drop off plan), and maybe
  • help them cope with the anxiety of facing a new teacher and a new classroom of kids.

Ah, the good old days!

Those of you who’ve just been through it—and I’m grateful every day that my daughter is now 32—know that back to school has irrevocably changed. Now you have to:

  • buy some supplies, clothes, and masks (or not), 
  • figure out what you’re going to do when the inevitable quarantines send your kid back to remote learning (possibly with no adults at home), and maybe 
  • help them cope with the anxiety of a world that’s rapidly careening out of control.

(Or maybe that’s just me. :-))

Adults are going “back to school,” too

We’re also facing novel social and work situations while we refresh our memories about how to do things like:

  • dress ourselves (I recently had a lovely drink with a colleague and wore a slightly polished up version of my “house rags”; is that OK now?),
  • drive at night (I hadn’t done this for a year a half, because seriously, there was no place to go),
  • handle water cooler conversation (so many topics that were uncontroversial when we last worked in offices are flash points now), and 
  • cope with the anxiety of a world that’s careening out of control.

And what’s more…

Continuous learning is now a survival skill

In the before times (2019), you could, if you chose to, thrive for a long time using only the skills you’d already mastered.

Not so anymore. In New York, we’ve recently mastered the new skills of clearing our basements of hurricane-related sewage (thank you, Climate Crisis!), or dodging the motorized food delivery bikes that all travel on the sidewalk.

If you’re a delivery driver, you’ve had to learn new skills like riding motorized bikes on the sidewalk (to say nothing of keeping them from getting stolen) and tracking down foodies who are in their basements cleaning out debris.

If you’re an EMT or parademic, you’ve had to learn how to delicately ask the partner who shares a small ambulance with you and a (possibly COVID) patient whether they’ve been vaxxed.

And if you’re an office worker…keep reading!

How are your communication skills holding up?

The public speaking skills that have sent my current clients “back to school” (i.e., to me) include:

  • delivering a live presentation (remember those?),
  • juggling slides and speaking notes while connecting with an online audience,
  • setting boundaries with a micro-managing boss, and
  • interviewing for a new job (that’s a big one right now, with the market so favorable to job changers).

But this is just a sample list.

Since my coaching centers your needs and challenges, you and I can go back to school—together—to work on any business or personal communication issue that you’re facing.

If you want to take your speaking skills to the top of the class, contact me to learn more about 1:1 coaching.

And meanwhile—good luck with getting your kids to the school bus on time!

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