Staying Connected Through the Corona Crisis and Beyond

25 July 2022


    Humans are social animals.

    From birth, we’re hard-wired for connection and community.


    Coronavirus and social recession.

    The current climate places this essential need under huge threat. With the public demands for social distancing and remote working to cope with the threat to our health posed by the Coronavirus, the accompanying sense of isolation and disconnectedness could take a huge toll on our mental health.

    Research from dozens of studies finds a consistent relationship between social isolation, depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.

    It’s all rooted in science. See, we experience isolation as a physical state of emergency. The absence of social connection creates a state of stress in the body stimulated by the release of more cortisol (stress hormone) and a lack of oxytocin (social bonding hormone)


    But it’s not all bad.

    Now, my reason for writing certainly isn’t to lay the doom and gloom on thick! Actually, as human beings, we’re incredibly resilient. And the more flexible we are, the greater our resilience to trauma.

    Someone recently made the brilliant analogy of buildings that are made to withstand the trauma of earthquakes by swaying with the movement of the shaking ground below. This greater flexibility allows them to withstand the stress. Don’t ask me to explain the science of the design – but I hope you get it.

    Just like those buildings, we also have some pretty nifty technology to give us that flexibility, supporting us through this crisis and beyond – Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Whatsapp, Facetime (other suppliers are available!) to name a few.


    Businesses will do well to take heed.

    In fact, whilst the current crisis may have jolted us into action, the trend of remote working and physical distance isn’t new.

    It’s high time we harnessed technology in whatever guise to stay connected. Crisis or no crisis, virtual communication can be used to supplement our face-to-face interactions making us more agile and flexible, and our interconnectedness more resilient.

    This has got to be a good thing given our reliance on it for health and happiness.

    Indeed, Brene Brown puts it brilliantly – “Fear and anxiety can drive us to become very self-focused” but “this is the ultimate reminder that we are inextricably connected to each other. Turning away from collective action right now – as tempting as it is – will only generate more pain.”

    Businesses must take drastic action to ensure that their people stay connected.

    Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom had this to say:

    “Given this coronavirus, I think overnight, almost everybody really understood they needed a tool like this…..This will dramatically change the landscape. I truly believe in the future, everyone will [use] video for remote worker collaboration.”



    We’ll discover a lot through this forced geographical isolation.

    Sometimes absence is the only way to truly understand the value of something.

    At The Speakers’ Gym we truly believe in the importance of teams with high levels of EQ that communicate exceptionally well every day. Much of our consultancy is focused on equipping teams with the practical tools to put our core philosophy into action – “Speak, listen: Act” – rinse, repeat. Teams that stay connected – speak and listen to each other are far more agile, innovative, fail fast and move on.

    Team’s that work in silos and don’t collaborate are less happy and far less productive.

    When you remove the physical place of work, you realise just how vital this communication and connection is for business success. More and more businesses will learn this now. It’s not enough to rely on presence in a common space for connection. We’ll have to work harder. And in fact, this simple presence at the office has made us a little lazy.


    Connection through isolation and beyond.

    The tools have been available for some time. We just haven’t made best use of them. Just last week I spoke with a team leader that said their business has had access to Microsoft Teams for years. They’re only now making use of it. A reaction to the crisis.

    There could be countless practical advances in the way businesses work through being forced to embrace virtual communication tools in the immediate term.

    A positive experience of not having to be physically present and travel to a meeting could result in lasting changes.

    We can start saving the money, time and headpsace exerted just to get everyone in one place. We could reduce our carbon footprint and improve work-life balance. This isn’t about doing away with face-to-face interaction. Far from it. But, by embracing more flexible means of communicating, we’ll remove barriers and increase the resilience of our interconnectedness.

    There’s no escaping it – this is an incredibly challenging time and the effects of the Coranavirus have already been devastating. Let’s be clear, I’m not claiming the current situation to be a happily ever after. Absolutely not.

    However, if the Coronavirus forces us to start exploring new ways to stay connected and to collaborate, regardless of the logistical challenges, this is one positive. And if it forces us to understand the value in looking out for each other and coming together to tackle our biggest challenges, business will eventually reap the benefits.

    Client Reviews



    Jonny’s expertise in communication and his personalised coaching approach has made a significant impact on me. It was so much more than public speaking coaching; it influenced numerous other aspects of my life. Under his mentorship, not only did my communication skills improve, but my confidence soared, leading to positive changes in my professional and personal relationships. I highly recommend The Speakers’ Gym for anyone looking to unlock their full potential.

    Kate Bright, CEO & Founder, Umbra International Group


    The Speakers’ Gym is like the iPhone. You don’t realise you need it until you have it, and then you can’t live without it.

    Magda Gonzalez, Group CFO, Monex Europe



    It was completely practical and the open-forum feedback was so valuable. You created a safe environment for everyone to learn. Thank you!

    Nicola Koronka, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Missive



    I was recommended by a friend who works in the same sector to contact The Speakers’ Gym to help me with my presentation delivery skills and I have not been disappointed with the results. Chris and Jonny work with you to provide bespoke training for your goals and needs. They are highly professional and make you feel at ease from the first minute the first session begins. I would highly recommend them to those who have a role which involves public speaking!

    Julia Peake, Technical Development Manager, Sanlam



    It has challenged both my thinking and approach and I will be sure to keep The Speakers’ Gym ‘fireworks’ readily available on my desk to refer to when not only presenting but also when needed through everyday management.

    Liz Paradine – Chief Operations Manager - 7iM


    Transact first engaged with The Speaker Gym late in 2018 where Chris & Jonny made a concerted effort to get under the skin of our business and understand how they could best help us hone our presentational and empathetic skills. The resulting sessions were hugely helpful giving my team plenty of opportunity to practice and also benefit from a great deal of feedback, not just from Chris & Jonny but by including the rest of the Transact team in the feedback and group learning too. I would highly recommend The Speakers Gym

    Glen Sweet, Head of Sales, Transact

    Transact London


    Working with The Speakers’ Gym has been fantastic. We knew what we wanted to say and who we wanted to speak to, so all we needed was technique. Or so we thought. Chris and Jonny helped us to understand the key elements of communication, through a structured process. We now think about communication in a completely different way. There’s a line they gave us that now resonates in my head, every time I write or talk to someone about what we do. We feel we’ve met two great guys and they’ve become an important part of us, our story and how we tell it to others.

    Thomas Skinner, Founder, Barnaby Cecil Financial Planning

    Barnaby Cecil Financial Planning


    The impact of The Speakers’ Gym™ at Mako can only be described as transformational. Over a three month period, they helped transition a group of individuals into a highly collaborative and consultative leadership team. Chris and Jonny have a unique ability to connect individuals with their true purpose, driving them towards self-reflection and ultimately growth. Overall the entire experience of working with them has been a pleasure and I am deeply grateful for their impact. They more than surpassed my expectations and I look forward to working with them again in the future!

    Trystan Morgan-Schauer, CEO, Mako



    We engaged The Speakers’ Gym to provide us with clarity and direction in the look, feel and messaging of the Worldmaker brand in preparation for our official launch. From start to finish, the process has been truly collaborative. They worked with the expertise and experience in our team to create branding that truly represents who we are and what we represent, whilst moving us into a more modern, expressive space – which was our desire. We know that we’re in great hands with The Speakers’ Gym. We’ll certainly be continuing to work with them

    Mollie Marti, CEO, Worldmaker International

    Worldmaker International


    They first took the time to understand our brief and delivered the programme incorporating our culture and brand throughout. They were thought provoking and their unique techniques very well received.

    Mairi Cameron, Learning Manager, Nucleus Financial



    The Speakers’ Gym gave me the skills and confidence to be my normal self whilst speaking and facilitating. They took the anxiety out of public speaking and gave me practical tools to prepare for and manage public engagements. They also helped me to engage more meaningfully with my clients, for which I am thankful. Highly recommend them.

    Matthew Marais, Director, Vertus Capital

    Vertus Capital


    I found the sessions to be a revelation, and I wish I had known some of the techniques sooner. It has completely changed my mindset and focused me in on the needs of the audience. With that, the ability to achieve those aspirations has come more naturally. There is always room for improvement, and I will definitely be revisiting The Speakers’ Gym for a refresher from time to time.

    Kelly Devlin, Wealth Management Consultant, St. James’s Place Wealth Management

    St. James's Place Wealth Management
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