The tools Michael Coston has adopted during WFH

This comms pro says the virtual environment has been particularly interesting for his work, which entails studying interpersonal connections and rapport in a room. Here’s how he sees the future of communication.

What’s your new favorite tool for remote work?

For Michael Coston, CEO of Coston Consulting, a selfie ring light has been a surprisingly helpful addition to his arsenal of workplace tools.

Coston shares how he is working through these  frenetic times as part of our “Day in the Life” series. Here are some of his top takeaways:

1. How much coffee do you drink during a day?

Coston: I usually drink two cups of coffee a day. One in the morning and the other sometime mid-afternoon.

2. Who is the most important person you talk to every day?

Coston: Besides my wife, it would have to be my partner, Angelica Crisi. My days usually start with a call to Angelica to discuss deliverables and strategize about the various client initiatives that we need to advance.

3. How much of your day is spent on Zoom calls?

Coston: About 50-60% of my time is spent on Zoom calls. I’m rarely on non-video calls, whereas seven months ago, I didn’t have many video calls at all. It’s been a significant change.

4. What’s a tool you couldn’t live without right now?

Coston: Obviously, my laptop and cell phone are essential, but my favorite new tool is the selfie ring light. I know it sounds silly, but a colleague recommended that I purchase one since I’m always involved in presentations. I took her advice, and the ring light completely fixed the many lighting issues I had when presenting from my home office.

5. What’s been the biggest change you’ve faced since the pandemic started?

Coston: My academic background is focused on interpersonal communications – studying strategies to read the room, build rapport, resolve conflict, persuade, etc. The virtual environment has really impacted how people normally engage in these areas, and it’s forced me to learn new techniques. I’ve enjoyed the process.

6. Are you still working from home? If so, what’s been your favorite part of WFH?

Coston: Yes, I am still working from home. The best part is that I get to see my wife and two sons more often now. My boys are so funny and smart, and they’re all in my business every turn of the way. They want to know everything—from what I’m working on, who I’m speaking with, and what I ate for lunch. Being a parent presents certain difficulties while working from home, but I really appreciate seeing my family more.

7. What’s your No.1 message to clients, co-workers or employees for the rest of 2020?

Coston: There’s been so much thought leadership on this already, but I would underscore the importance of random acts of kindness during these times of tumult. Many people are struggling to get through the new normal that we’re all dealing with, and acts of kindness really help make it easier for everyone to push through and endure.

8. What makes you hopeful about the future of PR? Any big predictions for 2021?

Coston: The pandemic and racial justice movement have provided important opportunities for PR professionals to demonstrate their ability to advise and lead clients in various ways, including developing messaging to define and advance their clients’ (or organization’s) culture and share value propositions that really resonate with their target markets. The importance of effective PR will only continue to grow as we make our way through these unprecedented times.

 

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