By Ollie Tunmore, Senior Account Executive at Spa Communications.
At the point of writing this article, it has been 463 days since I attended my last physical industry event, 458 days since my last in-person client meeting and 443 days since my last trip into an actual office. I’ve been working the entire time, but from one chair – one desk – every day, since then.
Naturally, like many of us across the country, I am missing the bustle and the face-to-face interactions that usually make up such a vital part of working in public relations – the shooting across town after work, rushing for a train because you couldn’t possibly wait another 12 minutes for another, the general ‘hubbub’ that not being at home would allow.
Since the pandemic hit in early 2020, we all know that events, meetings, networking and connecting with people have all pretty much been on hold – at least on a physical level.
This has been detrimental for so many people, in so many different areas of business today, but none more so, I feel, than for the young professionals who are in such crucial stages of establishing themselves and their career paths ahead of them.
I count myself incredibly lucky to have been the last cohort of university students to be completely unscathed by Covid-19, graduating my studies of media production at Bournemouth University in the summer of 2019. From that point, I thankfully had just short of a year to be able to get out and make the most of being in the industry, in person, and enjoy all the usual events, meetings and networking that working in comms has to offer.
My thoughts now, however, turn to the subsequent two years of graduates who now haven’t had a chance to get out and experience the ‘real’ working world. I think of those who have switched jobs, been made redundant and started a new role, taken a venture into a new sector, had to start remotely without even meeting their teams, not yet experienced an industry event, not been to a networking evening full of warm white wine and mixed-flavoured crisps sat chaotically in one bowl.
These are the people who have missed out the most, and these people can range from any age to any sector, and any level of experience and confidence in their work.
This is why I’ve decided to set up TheCommsPeople, which is a virtual-based networking page, which encourages professionals from within the media, communications and production worlds to come together in a welcoming, friendly yet professional environment to kick off the cobwebs and get back out meeting new people.
While in-person events and networking may well be set to continue this year (let’s hope, at least!) there is a reason that professional sites like LinkedIn, Indeed and Twitter have been so successful, especially in the pandemic – there is a constant need to expand your circle. We can’t physically, by any stretch of the imagination, keep up with every single person in our professional network at one time, so that’s why we lean on pages like LinkedIn.
Through setting up the page online, the group harnesses the power of remote connectivity and encourages people to share insights, training, experiences, articles, professional bodies, virtual events, anything of the sort that may encourage togetherness and a chance to expand on new relations.
With an exciting array of online keynote speaker and virtual networking sessions already in the pipeline, join TheCommsPeople today to join an exciting and embracing new cohort of communicating for media professionals today.