Today's blog in the #BeTheRippleBlogs series is a lovely piece from Lucy Howard entitled 'Kindfest - A virtual celebration and education of workplace kindness'.
Lucy is a Digital Communications Officer with the charity, BulliesOut. She is a former Detective Chief Inspector in the Metropolitan Police with an expertise in complex investigations and intelligence. She specialises in prevention against cyberbullying, information leakage and how to protect ourselves and our loved ones whilst online. Her focus is on promoting a positive digital footprint. She advises, and delivers training, on how we can use our digital devices and apps in safe and secure ways to protect both ourselves and our children from risk and reduce the incidence of cyberbullying.
You can find her on LinkedIn: Here and you can find BulliesOut on Twitter: @BulliesOut.
Over to Lucy:
I was invited to Kindfest in my role as Digital Communications Officer for BulliesOut and had no idea what to expect from the two hour event. However, my attendance there left me on a high for the whole day. I spent the morning listening to, and chatting with, people who feel that kindness is the best quality that we can bring to all our interactions. A great frame to put you in a positive mood. The speakers were inspiring and the hosts made me feel as though I had known them for years. I immediately felt welcome and warm inside - a bit like I was experiencing the equivalent of a virtual hug. My assessment at the end of the day was that my mood had been noticeably uplifted post event and actually if every day could begin with that feeling what a great way to start the day.
Working in the cyber world I have read a lot about how our virtual interactions miss the personal touch but I have to say my experience at Kindfest felt the complete opposite. I, along with the rest of the attendees, listened with interest whilst one guest speaker in particular brought the room to tears. No mean feat to achieve to a large audience of people watching online. But it led me to think about it all long after the event had finished and reassess my opinions on our virtual networks.
There is a common illustration that often circulates on social media – where a teacher blows up thirty balloons and writes each child’s name on one of the balloons. The teacher then asks each pupil to find their name. When they can’t she then suggests they all pick up the balloon nearest to them instead and give it to the person whose name is on it. In doing so they all find the correct balloon in record time. My thoughts on virtual networking after Kindfest very much centred around this illustration. If we all attend a virtual networking event for no other reason than to promote ourselves, our companies and what we can sell to another then arguably people are right and the positives to virtual networking are slim. But, if we apply the balloon logic to it and instead use it as an opportunity to promote kindness and see what we can learn from, and offer to, another then what a successful environment it can be.
Perhaps instead of looking at it as ’virtual networking’ what we should instead be doing is looking at it as ‘getting to know new people’ because when we go into a room with that mindset we don’t immediately try and sell everyone present our business idea or our product. We get to know them, we ask about them and find what we have in common. Perhaps if we start taking that approach to online networking events we would leave having created some genuine, tangible relationships.
Kindfest showed me what can be achieved in our online interactions when kindness is at the forefront. It highlighted what an impact being kind can have on our mood for the rest of the day. And we can all make that change. We can all make the effort to start our day with just one act of virtual kindness. I have been left uplifted and inspired as to what can be achieved. I’m excited for what the future holds. The future is online… and that future is kind.
BulliesOut would like to extend a massive thankyou to event organisers for choosing us as one of your charities. Kindness is an integral part of everything we do and all that we value here at BulliesOut and we were absolutely delighted to take part in your event. From the bottom of our hearts – Thankyou.
Thank you so much to Lucy for sharing this lovely piece a piece which clearly demonstrates the power of kindness in online interactions.
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Thank you once again to Lucy for sharing her thoughts following Kindfest, we are delighted that the event had such a positive impact for so many and that collaborations and connections were created as a result.
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