This is part two of our summit debrief video series where I share my biggest lessons and recommendations on how to launch a virtual summit. If you missed the first part of the series, you can catch up here.
As you might have heard, we recently put on an online virtual summit titled Uplevel Your Health, Wealth and Your Mindset for the new Paradigm Summit. We had amazing speakers, everyone from cryptocurrency experts, to astrologers, to yoga experts, to personal mindset human design experts. And I learned so much from putting on this event. So I want to share with you from the school of hard knocks, what to do, what not to do, my best recommendations on how to organize a virtual summit.
If you have in your intent to do anything that is on your terror barrier, the things that scare you, definitely watch this video for inspiration on how to launch a virtual summit.
How to Launch a Virtual Summit: What to Do
Think about the summit from three angles because you’re really serving three parties. One: you are serving yourself, yes you are. It’s a big visibility booster for you, but it’s also for your speakers.
1. Put yourself in the shoes of the speaker
Putting your feet into the shoes of the speaker, standing in their feet and thinking about what would really be helpful for them.
To make it as easy as possible for the speakers to promote the Summit, we went all out and created graphics for Twitter, graphics for Facebook and Instagram and video snippets for increasing engagement on social media platforms.
Karen, my wonderful assistant, created amazing videos that were a few seconds long. We also created excerpts from the interviews and gave that as a gift for the speakers so that they could use that. That was coming from the standpoint of the speakers, asking ourselves how we can best support them, as if we were in their shoes. That was definitely foremost in our minds.
2. Put yourself in the shoes of the attendee
And then, of course, the people who are attending the summit. What would really serve them, how can we make the interview more digestible?
We Worked with the speakers on the questions so that it broke down the information in a very easy to digest way. We tried to pull out of them wisdom that was in line with the theme of the summit: how to thrive not to survive in the paradigm shift age.
We also coached the speakers on how we can guide the audience to the next deeper level of their work, because we knew we couldn’t share everything in a 35 to 50-minute interview.
3. Serving yourself as the virtual summit host
It was standing in the shoes of all three parties and really coming from a place of servant leadership that helped to up-level my mindset.
And then came self-care. Oh my! As the Summit got closer and closer, I noticed a tendency to start burning the midnight candle on both ends. Getting up crack of the dawn and then staying up, talking to my team from the Philippines.
It started to feel, “I need to really walk my talk in up-leveling my health and valuing my sleep, valuing my hunger, nourishing myself, eating nutritious foods.”
And keeping all of those basics going actually became a challenge – specially when the summit became live.
I became religious about doing my yoga every day. I made sure to step away from the computer at least three hours a day, to do my nature walks, to do my meditation, to do my yoga.
These things became really, really important to me because I knew that also doing these Facebook lives that if I was depleted and had bags under my eyes you cannot really lie – the camera reveals everything! So that was so important to me, taking deep care of myself.
4. Use Facebook Live to boost visibility and engagement
It really helped so much to have this theme of “uplevel” because I was genuinely a student of this theme and I used the Facebook lives to contemplate out loud and share my insights and aha’s every day. And that really also helped the Facebook lives, were very helpful at boosting, visibility, engagement, all of that.
For the FB Lives, I tried different scenarios. I did a Facebook live making my breakfast or lunch, I did a Facebook live on my terrace, on my morning walk. I wanted to just take my tribe and audience with me on the journey of putting on the summit. What it was like, and what I was doing. Actually that was very much fun.
I really enjoyed being transparent on that level because with a theme like “uplevel”, I really didn’t want to just be preaching. I also want to be a student of it, live it, and truly it was a good challenge.
5. Practice what you preach
Being in the field of personal development – of yoga as personal development, I feel it’s absolutely crucial that I drink my own Koolaid with whatever message I’m putting out. For all coaches and people in the teaching profession, if we actually live the things we teach and preach, and take the time to be a genuine student of it, wow, it’s so joyful and blissful because you’re in alignment, in perfect alignment.
That’s enlightened leadership.
6. Let go and have fun with the process
At the very get-go, I decided that if I was going to do this and put on a 20+ speaker summit, I wanted to do it with as much grace and make it as much fun as possible.
Knowing my tendency to push myself and rely on sheer effort, I knew that making it fun was a good intent to have! I did put a lot of effort into the project, but at a certain point I allowed myself to let go and have fun with it…and lo! behold! I was actually enjoying the process, and I can say that was really one of the key lessons I learned:
When you’re aligned, and you’ve taken the time to set the foundation, you can let go into the Flow…
7. Attune to the universal timing of things
Another thing about what to do, we attuned to the universal timing of things. A summit is a big forward movement, visibility push. It’s also a business event too, so it’s important to pick the right time, when the Universal energy is in a state of outward flow.
I know many people reading this will think it’s very “woowoo”, but I’ve learned to respect the energy flow in the universe. When many planets are in retrograde mode, it is a better time for strategizing, planning, re-evaluating – there just isn’t as much forward momentum at a time like this. So I like to sync my timing with the universe’s ebb and flow cycle.
I knew that Mercury retrograde was particularly good to avoid, because so much of an online summit is technology-driven. Jupiter moving forward was huge too, because with a theme like “uplevel” it’s so expansive and having Jupiter move directly is very powerful.
A good resource for checking on the planetary timings is Cafe Astrology. Here’s the link to their 2019-2020 planetary retrograde calendar.
I think you’ll find it super-useful!
8. Invest in the right technology and the right people
Another thing NOT to do is…don’t skimp on investing in the right technology. Upgrade to the optimal version of technology you’re using. Don’t be cheap about that.
Invest in the right technology and invest in the right people. This is so important. I’m so glad I did and I think that’s why I was able to have a high-quality summit. When you don’t have the right technology it’s just pure headache!
Putting on this summit forced me to build a stellar team, and this is a huge win I’m taking from putting on my first-ever summit.
9. Don’t be afraid to experiment
The other thing we did during this summit, which was almost an afterthought, was to decide to do a contest alongside the summit. It was an experiment. I had not seen anybody else do it in the context of a summit, but I had watched other companies embrace this strategy, and I thought, “Hmm, that’s interesting. Why not add this component and make it even more fun?”
And I’m so, so glad I did that because doing that contest, I think it really helped me elevate so many different aspects of my online presence that I did not expect. If I had to do it over, I’d adopt this component much earlier in planning the summit!
We wanted to engage both the competitive spirit in people for those who respond well to competition, but also have a more democratic side to the contest, so we had both ranked prizes, as well as random giveaway prizes. This struck a nice balance.
For the ranked prizes, I had people take actions such as like my Facebook page or subscribe to my YouTube channel or post on Instagram how they are upleveling their health, using the hashag #UplevelEvent. And it felt so nice to be supported by the attendees of the Uplevel Summit!
I felt so supported by their benevolence, and it was a wonderful way to make the Summit a two-way communication channel, where the attendees could contribute to its success.
How to Launch a Virtual Summit: What Not to Do
1. Don’t rush your summit
Whatever you do, don’t try to do a summit at the last minute!
Don’t underestimate the time it takes to do something like this because there are so many moving parts.
If you’re a perfectionist like me, it just always takes longer than you think it’s going to take. So I would give yourself a generous four months, even six months window.
And also, if you’re working with high-level people who are going to speak on your summit, they have a marketing calendar of their own. You definitely need to keep this in mind.
Initially when we were supposed to do the summit in June, I had a few high-level people drop out, which I really regretted because the timeline was so tight.
So do respect the timeline of the people you’re inviting into the summit because it takes time to get yeses from high quality, high-level people who will promote for you. And they will only promote for you if there is a window in their marketing calendars.
I would say if you’re really reaching for the stars, then plan it even nine months or a year in advance. Because the higher profile a person is, the busier they are. So that is really important to understand. Don’t underestimate what it takes and don’t do it last minute!
2. Don’t let fear hold you back
Don’t let naysayers hold you back – that includes that voice in your own head…the doubter inside of you.
It’s easy to let thoughts like, “Who am I to lead this summit with 20 plus people?” The old limited self tends to rear its ugly head when you’re try to push beyond your normal limits. So including yourself, don’t let naysayers hold you back! Do whatever it takes to send love to that part of yourself.
This doesn’t mean shun your fears. I doubts and fears are a valuable part of you.
Fear is a vital mechanism in us as human beings. So give it respect, but don’t put it in the driver’s seat!
Talk to it with love and respect: “Okay, I hear you, I hear you, but I’m ready. I’m ready to take it to the next level, just trust me!” and turn fears and doubts into the wind behind your sail.
Talking respectfully to fears and doubts will allow them to give you wise counsel in crafting your strategy.
Respect your fears and doubts so they become your ally, not what’s going to hold you back.
3. Don’t sweat the small stuff
From my personal experience, I had a couple of speakers who didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. In the back end of our system, we could see who’s promoting and who’s not, and we kept reaching out and reaching out, reminding a few speakers of our agreement.
And till the very end, some people didn’t fulfill on their contract. While this is sad, I just chose not to get hung up on those things.
It’s life, and I also chose not to hold negative energy around it – to release everything, so that I can be in the service and flow of the up-level message.
So don’t sweat the small stuff. Life is not always going to be peaches and creams. There’s going to be some thorns and rocks on the way.
But truly in the bigger scheme of things, those small things are tiny pebbles compared to the amazing gift of growing into a bigger version of yourself.
That is the greatest gift of all, isn’t it? Because we’re all on this planet to become bigger people. To uplevel your ability to manifest on a higher level means you have to become a bigger person. So don’t sweat the small stuff and just let it roll off your shoulders!
So I hope this debrief served you.
To see what a summit looks like as an evergreen finished product, you can take a peek here.
Wishing you much success on your Path!