‘I will find it difficult’: an industry leader in his 80s discusses self-isolation

The new government regulations have meant that there's had to be a significant change in the way I, and many others, live and operate.

A press release can never take the place of a personal meeting, sadly impossible at the moment, writes David Wynne-Morgan
A press release can never take the place of a personal meeting, sadly impossible at the moment, writes David Wynne-Morgan

It has meant that for the foreseeable future I have had to go into isolation and refrain from personal meetings with people.

This isolation is something that is completely alien to the way I normally live and, although essential, is something I will find particularly difficult.

Thanks to the enormously improved technology it is possible to continue in a way that would have been completely impossible 20 years ago.

With emails and videoconferencing, as well as telephone calls, communication can still be very effective – but it is not the same.

I have two sides to my life.

One is being chairman of an exclusive social club and the other is looking after the business profiles of five chief executives of major international companies.

It will not affect my work as the chairman of the club as it, like all clubs, pubs and restaurants, has had to close as a result of the coronavirus emergency and will stay closed until that is over.

It has certainly changed the way in which I execute the management of the business profiles of my CEO clients.

I have always believed that personal meetings with clients as well as with senior journalists and editors - many of whom are close friends - was a very important part of the job.

Personal meetings and discussions enable a real relationship to be built up and a real understanding, which can never be done in the same way by press releases or any other form of written communication.

They should be a support to the personal meetings, not an alternative to them.

I will cope as best I can, but I will certainly return to the personal meeting as the main thrust, as soon as I am able to do so.

These are unprecedented times that we are living in, and good communication has a crucial part to play in making things work.

This is not something that we can leave to government.

They can set out the problems and the general direction in which they believe we should go, but each of us has to take personal responsibility for the execution, and those of us who are professional communicators have a particularly important role.

I believe it is important that we get through this as quickly as possible, because although it is a health problem, it is even more importantly a very real threat to a slightly fragile global economy.

We have to adapt to the changes it makes to the way we now have to work and operate, and ensure that we are still as effective as we can possibly be.

David Wynne-Morgan is an independent consultant and the former global head of Hill + Knowlton

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