Online you vs real-life you

This year, my professional development has happened in the form of the Women on Boards WOBSX course. It’s a director-led peer-to-peer support program that accelerates women into ASX board roles and with COVID-19. Here are three learnings from being forced to shift sessions online:

  1. It’s very hard to build rapport online with people you haven’t met in real-life. I’ve found working and interacting from home fine when it comes to people I already know. It’s much harder when you are trying to find your place in a group of people and you’re still all too polite for the type of talking over one another, corrections and debates you’d quickly have in person. It’s like being stuck in the ‘forming’ phase of group development.
  2. Being online requires additional self-propulsion. When you’re not in the room, it’s much easier for nobody to know when you haven’t done your homework. There’s nobody to turn to and ask ‘what do you think of this?’ and being at home means it’s harder to get into the right headspace. For me, I’ve tried to keep up my interest and generate activity by connecting and engaging with my fellow participants outside our formal sessions for a cuppa via Zoom.
  3. A lot of the gold happens out of the room. What I mean is that we’ve all been to a conference with inspiring speakers and great presentations – but isn’t the best, most uplifting part when you connect with someone and have a conversation about a mutual passion? When you discover you have a shared experience with a colleague over morning tea, or when you’re pushed by someone telling you to go for it at the post-conference drinks? I have realised those moments are really powerful for me and I miss them.

I've also been able to trade my suits and heels (see this picture?) for slippers and comfort while I study. Now that's a win!