I invited my friend, Mai, in class to share her ideas about crisis communication. She is a veteran of the Asia-Pacific pay TV industry but has been doing non-profit work in the last five years. The professional that she is, she showed up way ahead of time even as she just planed in at 12 m.n. and had very little sleep. Thankfully, at least half of my students were there at 8 am.
I did my lecture and was done in less than one hour. I wanted to have more time for Mai to talk and interact with my students. She does social media in relation to her work as a community manager. And for sure, she had many insights. It’s a particularly interesting time because new media are pervasive and rules are being redefined.
I love it how Mai, super dressed down in fit flops, instantly connected with them. She knew that they were her audience when she was still with Disney and Vanessa Hudgens was young and innocent. She narrated her crisis story involving the death of a 14-year old that was witnessed by his nine-year old brother. She said that the experience changed her, made her more resilient, and opened her eyes to the kind of persons her bosses/ colleagues are.
Mouths open, my students were shocked at her story. Those who were engaged asked some good questions. And Mai gamely answered them. It was over in a matter of minutes. Then we took pictures for posterity.
Over lunch, I asked Mai what she thought. She said that she liked having front row seats to this teaching phase of mine. And as usual, she was spot on with her observations and reinforced some of my issues with my adult learners. She noticed how I tried to engage them as I asked what a crisis was and how I didn’t get any response. “Lazy”, she said. I said it wasn’t even a hard question and all I wanted was for them to recite. I said that previously, we were talking about the Philippine Navy’s frigate controversy and they didn’t even bother to check what frigate means. 🙁
Mai: I saw that they were multi-tasking, working on their laptops as you and I were talking. Me: Yup. Sadly, there are many warm bodies in that room. Mai: They could have made the most of it because they’re there already! Me: I totally agree. But hey, I show up every week, do the best I can, bring in a speaker or two to enliven the discussion. So I’m good even if they don’t listen to me. I’ve done my job. Besides, they’re adults! Mai: Right. Really, that’s all there is to it! 😊
And so we went back to enjoying our lunch, still thinking about showing up in the context of the many projects we are working on.
Writing this, I forgot to tell Mai that the Ateneo has an apt term for showing up: Magis. It’s a Latin word that means “more” or “to a greater degree”; a philosophy of doing more for Christ and consequently, others. (Source: xavier.edu).