The very definition of H2H is Human-to-Human.
Currently, however, we are being told to do something that goes against every natural instinct we have in humanity; to stay away from other humans. As keynote speakers, our job is to address an entire room of people and hopefully inspire those people to go forward with their lives and implement positive change wherever they need it. But how can we do that if our speeches are getting pushed back indefinitely?
The COVID-19 pandemic is anything but fair. It’s mind-blowing to think that such a small, seemingly harmless virus is responsible for all of the havoc the world is in. Every day we turn on the news and it’s there, in our faces. It has also made its way into our lifestyles and demeanor. Even though so many of us are still not physically affected by it, we are mentally and emotionally affected by it.
Luckily for many of us, we can use this time at home to do more than wait around for the pandemic to end. As speakers, you can work on building your speaking business, explore more speaking opportunities by going online, and you can use this time to reflect on what it means to be human.
What I want to focus on in this blog post is using your own COVID-19 experiences as a way to create a new topic for an inspirational speech.
No matter what field you are in, we can all relate to the scariness of the unknown times ahead. Add that fear to the loneliness of social isolation, and you get someone with a lot on their mind. We are being faced with crucial decisions right now. Simple actions like going to the park, or grocery store are now at an extreme halt like we’ve never seen or imagined.
Some of us might be partners of someone who is considered essential or have family members the same. Is it appropriate to compare sending our essential family members off into the community, to sending our soldiers off to war? In this instance, I think so. This virus is sneaky, and we don’t know how it works. It’s like the sniper we do not see coming. Unlike a sniper, however, the virus does not select its targets. Everyone is fair game to COVID-19.
This is the first time in many of our lives that we have an up-close and personal look at what panic is. Has it changed your outlook on humanity? Take, for instance, the spring breakers who refused to leave the beaches for their own personal agendas of partying. What do you think it was that made those students unable to empathize with the fact that these virus protocols are bigger than any one person?
We need empathy now, more than ever.
Our most vulnerable citizens have been put in a position where they have to depend on complete strangers to help keep them safe by social distancing, and self quarantining. What reactions have you seen by those around you that have shown we will come together in a time of need? How have these behaviors affected you personally? Has your outlook on life changed?
One important question I think everyone should reflect on is ‘what does essential mean to you?’.
We keep seeing the word come up in the news, from our governors, and on social media. Essential, essential, essential…simply put, it is just some letters arranged in a pattern that we turn into a sound. We are not ignorant enough to believe that for a second though.
Essential means more than that, and it is something different to every man, woman, and child.
This is a great time for people like us, who speak to groups of people who are there because they want to listen, to make a difference in society.
If there is any positiveness that can come from this pandemic, it is the humanity that we have been seeing throughout the world. It is Ford, ceasing operations to help make ventilators for hospitals. It is college students who are graduating early to join the front lines of our already overworked doctors and nurses who so desperately need help and relief.
It is the grocery store employees, who go to work every day to keep the shelves stocked and stand up to the customers who try to hoard, so that the mother with the infant might have a better chance at buying the diapers she needs, on the only day she has the extra money to buy them.
This is a once in a lifetime chance for us to work on our hearts.
Additionally, you will want to lighten the heavy mood of it all and focus on actually giving your speeches. Make sure you incorporate some laughter, like the fact that Twitter user Dana Bein rewrote Bohemian Rhapsody with lyrics about COVID-19 (it’s sure to get even more laughs if you try your hand at singing a verse). Make sure you have remarkable resources for your COVID-19 facts because you want your speech to be credible, as well as inspirational.
Other than that, just try to make sure your speech has life in it.
You don’t want to bore someone with facts they already know unless you’re using them to support your statements. Talk about your family, your kids, your neighbors, what you missed the most about socializing, and most importantly, what it means to be human.