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Since the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic, almost 25,000 cases of the infection have been detected in Belgium, according the latest numbers available from the Johns Hopkins University. Jerko Bozikovic from Antwerp has been a keynote speaker, trainer and coach since 2001, providing advice about communication, time and stress management as well as leadership to dental professionals worldwide. Dental Tribune International asked Bozikovic a few questions about the current situation in Belgium.
Mr Bozikovic, what is the situation in your country in face of the SARS-CoV-2 crisis? What measures have been taken, and when were these put into place?
The situation is not too good in Belgium, but it seems under control. The government has taken quite radical measures, closing all public spaces, shops—except for those selling food and animal food, and pharmacies—, restaurants, entertainment venues, etc. It also has created a lot of financial measures to support the over one million people left technically unemployed owing to the crisis, as well as businesses, including mine. We have to stay inside, should not meet with people and, if possible, should work from home.
How have the confinement measures affected you professionally?
In less than a week, I went from having a full agenda as a speaker-trainer to having an empty one because all my clients cancelled.
“I think the webinar was always the little brother of the training world. Now, I think this will become a more widely used tool”
During this crisis, how have you utilised your time in your work situation and in relation to your clients? Could you share a little about your personal life and the effect on the things you enjoy and usually have little time to do?
We have taken a lot of time at home to complete many unfinished things (in the house and the garden). It has also helped us to slow down, step out of the rat race. It has helped me reinvent myself professionally, going from live events to webinars and Zoom coaching. Align Technology has fully supported that idea, so we are creating several webinar programmes to help dentists deal with these challenging times.
No one knows how long this crisis will last. Whether it is short-lived or lengthy, do you think that it will change your business and the profession as a whole?
In my case, it has already changed it. I think the webinar was always the little brother of the training world. Now, I think this will become a more widely used tool, and we’ll evolve in blended learning, live events and webinars.
One might hope that, in face of such a crisis, it would be appropriate to reflect and maybe change the way we live our lives for the better. What do you think? What changes would you like to see happening?
I absolutely agree. I hope we will reflect on priorities and start putting more funding into healthcare and education. On a personal level, it has helped families, friends, people to reconnect in a different way. At least, the speedy way of life is gone, and I hope the rat race will not come back. It is a perfect moment for introspection.
Jerko Bozikovic is a specialist in communication skills, emotional intelligence, time and stress management, leadership, and change management. He is fascinated by human behaviour and finds working with people on personal development to be a daily challenge and blessing. He speaks seven languages and has offered his training courses in four languages since 2001. He embraces and embodies the motto “Love the life you live; live the life you love”.
Editorial note: This interview is the fifth part of a series asking members of the dental community all over the world to share their experiences during the COVID-19 crisis.