For nearly 2 years our lives have all been impacted in one way or another by the changing landscape of Covid19.

Financial hardship, missing loved ones, not getting to go on that overseas trip, mental health challenges and changes within your relationships are all examples of this.

For me, masks and the inability to be in a room physically with people I speak with, is currently burdening my impact, and ultimately my passion. One of the most rewarding things about delivering a presentation was the hugs, the pats on the back, the conversations, and the shaking hands – essentially, that human connection.

However once again that is not there right now, and I’ve entered 2022 with a sense of reluctancy and almost a fear, that it won’t ever come back. Leading into Christmas I was as always grateful for another big year, but in the same vein I was so excited for 2022 to reinstate my “normal,” and get back to sharing and presenting without barriers.

Seeing people laugh, cry or smile brings that sense of connection for me. It gives me my worth and reminds me how important the sharing is.

Until we had to wear a mask, I probably took for granted how much I relied on expression to help foster these connections. Communication is one of the major ways that we connect with those around us and facial expression forms such a large part of this. Albert Mehrabain – one of the seminal researchers in communication, identified that 55% of our communication is made up of body language and visual cues.

But now, talking to computer screens in empty offices and faces covered in masks, makes the connection for a presenter, as well as their audience so much harder to find.

While I recognise that the sense of connection isn’t there and presenting will continue to be a challenge for all of us, I do believe the work we must continue to do is vital – now more than ever.

1 in 5 Australians* will experience mental ill health every year, so it will be critical to continue our venture and to look for new ways to make a difference – because ultimately that is what SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY is all about.

My reason for this post is to remind everyone that no matter who you are, where you are from or what you do, we all have something in our lives that isn’t exactly where we want it to be. I haven’t met anyone that’s not yet to be affected.

I think remembering that is important. It’s important in the way we view people, how we speak to people, and how we should try to understand people, every day.

If someone around you is different, never forget that there might be a reason for that.

The beauty of that is that we all have the basic tools to support someone through it.

Need support?

  • Lifeline: 13 14 11
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
  • Kids Help Line: 1800 551 800


*Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2009). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 4326.0, 2007. ABS: Canberra.