Coffee and Friends


How long do you think you can go without seeing someone in real life until the connection is lost? One year, two years, ten years? I have always thought that meeting face-to-face cements a relationship, that a coffee, lunch or tea yields a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas and bonding. I still do believe this.

One of the things 2020 has taught me, though, is that I have to let go of some old-fashioned ideas. Not only have most of my professional relationships survived a year with only virtual contact, but some have thrived – and boy has it saved us all time. The truth is, meaningful connections can be maintained online, so it’s worth putting the effort in. Comments on their posts, WhatsApp to check in and send through ideas that will be helpful.

Similarly, you can establish a new relationship online. I did an IGTV last week with Amanda Byram, the TV presenter turned author. (By the way, her book The Switch is very good – full of useful life hacks to boost happiness and self-esteem). Amanda and I have never met in person, but we have chatted on the phone, e-mailed and have now done IGTV lives, and I feel a genuine connection with her. Of course, it is based on work, but that doesn’t mean it is not valid.

Other preconceptions that have been challenged this year? I have finally got rid of the notion that print is more valuable than an online piece published by a paper or magazine. Of course, there are plus points to print (considered, edited, polished) but the online coverage has an immediacy that is equally valuable to readers/followers and PRs.

And what about Instagram? I was thinking about my book launch recently and how best to raise awareness. I realised that my industry friends have a combined reach of millions, which is not something to be dismissed.

What have you learnt from 2020? Whilst it has been exceedingly challenging, there will be some changes for good.

Let me know…