Speaking In-Person After Six Months of Virtual-Only Events

Jason Dorsey speaking in-person on a stage with his right hand waving and a purple lighted background

My Experience Keynoting a Live Event In-Person for the First Time Since March 2020

The world has changed dramatically since March 3, 2020. That was the last day I keynoted an in-person event—in fact, I keynoted four events that week. I remember sitting in the hotel lobby, thinking that this would be my last in-person speech for quite a while. I had no idea at that time that I wouldn’t keynote an in-person conference again until October.

During this time, I’ve learned a lot about delivering fantastic virtual presentations. I’ve delivered virtual presentations on pretty much every online presentation platform imaginable—and many I didn’t know existed. Our team at CGK quickly partnered with a commercial film studio in Austin, so all of my virtual keynotes are filmed in a studio with a professional film crew, lights, cameras, background, and post-production editing. I’ve come to love the studio experience, along with making virtual presentations highly engaging, interactive, and take-action driven.

But… I must admit I’ve missed speaking in front of a live audience. I’ve been a professional speaker since I was 18 years old! In fact, by the end of April, I had been home for the longest period of time since I was a teenager. So, when a repeat client asked if I would keynote their in-person, hybrid event, I said yes!

Of course, I had all the questions you’d expect: What safety precautions are you taking? How are you handling social distancing? How will the hybrid portion work? And many more. I was so impressed with my client’s approach (from spacing out and limiting seating, mask requirements, hand sanitizer, assigned seating, and much more) that I felt very confident about presenting on-site. The hotel also had its own protocol, which added even more layers that made everyone feel comfortable if they were choosing to participate in-person.

Walking on to that event stage after six months was energizing! Wow. I had forgotten what it felt like to be in a room with people who were not my family (seriously). Playing off the crowd, hearing them laugh out loud and engage, seeing them take notes and photos, and the energy in the room was incredible—even for such a small gathering of leaders. When I shared my closing story, I was grateful to be in that moment with them—and they gave me a standing ovation! It was an event I’ll never forget, and they already booked me for their next event in March.

I’ve learned much during this pandemic: how to cook, help my daughter Rya with her distance learning (in Spanish!), present virtually around the world, take care of a new puppy, and, frankly, not travel. It has been an adjustment but one that has enabled me to grow in many ways, even in these very difficult, trying times. It has also reminded me that after 3,000 in-person presentations around the world, I still love to speak and hope to continue doing so at events for decades to come.

Thank you for being on this adventure with me. It has been an incredible journey—from age 18, sleeping on a floor, to speaking around the world, writing Zconomy, and being connected with you!

With gratitude,


Gen Z Research Zconomy

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