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"Keep Calm and Innovate” webinar with Orit Wolf

Review by James Welch

Orit has mastered the webinar format which is a tough platform for a pianist. Should the static camera catch her face or her hands? Should we as the audience switch from laptop speakers to the noise cancelling headphones normally reserved for public transport?

As a famous pianist, now on Zoom, Orit explains you’ve got to make sure you have the right kit, and she shows off her new microphone kit to show she’s projecting the best sound possible.

Orit opens and closes her 50 minute performance with pieces by Chopin. And we are all in awe. She explains Chopin’s compositions are the right vehicle to open and close this conversation. Apparently not only for the music, but also to demonstrate that he was born for our Post-Covid19 days: Chopin, the Polish Romantic composer, 1810-1849, refused handshakes and believed in social distancing before it was a thing.

Indeed, we’re treated to Chopin’s Waltzes no. 6 & 7 and the Fantasie Impromptu. Later, a free improvisation by Orit, herself. 

Music, Orit shows us, can be used as a metaphor for how to face the real mess we are faced with in todays tempestuous world. Orit uses her allocated time with her audience as only an accomplished virtuoso can. 

She uses her piano to fill, punctuate and engage.

The Bank of England’s research showed Orit that 40% of Fortune 500 companies will not exist in 10 years. And she knows who will survive: those who have great core values.

She illustrates how we must stop trying to avoid making mistakes but instead, learn how to deal with them. She uses the example of the fear of forgetting the notes or the mind going blank when under pressure. And how to prepare for such an occasion.

Preparation is a core theme in her talk, and she references her TED talk where 18 mins gives a strong structure and makes you prepare carefully. When Orit finds a different HOW and a different WHY, we remember Simon Sinek’s TED talk on the same matter. And Orit is proud in her references to other such maestros of the stage. Musical references, of course. Business references too, like the Apple brand and business.

As her framework for her talk covers so much ground, we can imagine how she will structure future inspirational workshops for company boards. Orit explains, "I don’t want to reinvent myself but I do want to change the platform”. In today’s Zoom-friendly world, company boards might be wise to bring Orit into their meetings… and now without having to pay travel expenses, just setting up a conference call.