For a while I believed in the ‘Zoom fatigue’ thing like it was a slow-growing fog that was coming door to door. That phrase had been thrown around for a while and I even used it myself and rolled my eyes and said “I knowwwwwwww” when colleagues talked about a n o t h e r Zoom call – urgh: how sleepy, how dull, how predictable.
But it can be anything than predictable, writes Melissa Paulden from The BNC.
What’s happened in this industry is that we’re in shock and we’ve temporarily forgotten that we are the almighty creatives, the bringers of new ideas, the makers of great things. All it takes is just a slight readjustment (DO NOT pivot – stop with the netball terms) straighten up and get to work.
Think of Zoom not just as your stage but as a venue. You have to dress it, smarten it up, brand it, bring it to life and there’s no better way to do that than with a real-life - and larger-than-life - personality.
I tuned in to a Performing Artistes’ presentation one sleepy Thursday afternoon to join Mark Shulman (Pink’s drummer, no less) in his talk Hacking the Rockstar Attitude. Within the first few seconds – I kid you not - I abruptly woke up and saw Zoom in a new light. Thanks to Mark’s engaging, interesting and high-energy style, there was no room for error and no fatigue allowed.
It was so cool to be ‘live with a legend’. Somehow it became a more personal presentation via Zoom. Mark was ‘in my office’ (!!!) via screen rather than appearing as a tiny spec on a stage in an oversized conference room. I did get a little bit starstruck. (Thank goodness for the hide camera and mute mic options.)
Mark is not only a drummer to rock’s leading ladies but an author, speaker, music producer and a fascinating human being. He uses three core principles: Attitude Behaviour Consequences – ABC - to guide his life and he talks about this with purpose.
“You can’t always control what happens to you but you can control your Attitude, which drives your Behaviour, and your behaviours determine your Consequences. It’s so powerful I use it every day,” he attests.
Mark’s bleached blonde hair, wacky glasses and pink and black velour floral shirt made his presentation pop even further. Forty minutes or so went by and we were taken on a whirlwind tour of his life, from rocking the world with Pink, Cher, Stevie Nicks and others – to being a cancer survivor. He was inspirational, humorous, humble and he really gave less of a rockstar vibe, coming across more as a life coach with punch, with an added edge and verve.
“World class begins where your comfort zone ends,” is one of his mantras and his friendly, upbeat delivery makes his lessons all the more believable.
Using an interactive style is a bold move on Zoom, (he gets people to do stretches, smile exercises; gets you to rock out, and yell ‘yeah!’) but Mark’s such a pro – for someone who’s used to rocking the stadiums he can certainly go it alone and talk to a screen like he’s tapping out live tunes to thousands of screaming fans.
He’s also entertaining – he had pre-recorded six screens of himself dressed as different personas – his alter audience, his critics, even. It was all good fun and it added another dimension to his presentation.
“Mark is really invested in the production values, so while it’s having to be delivered on a camera, he has professional studio set up and people don’t just get someone on a webcam in their living room. The audience gets a full performance.. a rock and roll performance. It’s not everyday delegates get to see a true rock ‘n’ roller!” says Sophie from Performing Artistes who adds that corporate fans of Mark’s speeches are “a real mix -obviously creative companies are drawn to him yet even the most stayed professions find he’s a breath of fresh air.”
It was just after 5pm when the presentation ended and I felt uplifted, inspired and ready to rock.
Mark isn’t just an awards presenter, keynote and inspirational speaker, he is a super speaker, a pocket rocket bursting with charisma and energy, so much so that you actually feel a little fire under your slippered-covered-feeling-cosy-at-home-feet.
If you’re tired of Zoom calls then you’re tired of life. We’ve only just started exploring what we’re capable of on digital platforms. It’s time to inject some energy and passion into our work; to feel confident about we’re doing. Take that stage, sprinkle it with stardust and rock out. And if anyone can make us feel like we can own it, Mark can.