Reimagining Events: How to Advance Your Reach and Impact in a Digital World
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Welcome to Inside the Greenroom,
This week I wanted to cover something a little different than usual and start off by saying we are going on hiatus from what was supposed to be the third part of our series. I will intertwine some of it in our episode today but I wanted to be honest and say that because of the state of the union that was called, thousands and thousands of events that were going to take place across the world had to be canceled and we lost millions of dollars as a result. So, that part is the reason you have not heard from us, but also I wanted to share with you today the vision of us wanting to redefine how events were done virtually. While you can never replace people being in the room, we must find a way to make lemonade out of lemons so this episode is completely dedicated to the fact that I believe we have pulled off a powerful and meaningful, a redefined, virtual event. I am going to cover just how we managed to pull this event off, and not only how we doubled our lost revenue but tripled the number of people who would have attended our live event.
You do not want to miss this episode, because it has some need to know information on how you can get an unforgettable experience out of a virtual event whether you are an attendee, sponsor, or speaker. I want to challenge you to innovate and recreate what virtual events look like right now, we have done it, and we want to show you how you can too.
So, 40 days ago we were hit with the fact and the reality that we’d be canceling our April 30th through May 2nd event in Orlando, Florida. We had over 1100 close to 1200 people registered. We had never been over the thousand-person Mark. We had worked nine to 10 months to get to that point. Now, we recognized as a team that the virtual economy was here and made the decision that we were going to redefine how to do events virtually. Now nothing can ever replace seeing people in person, but we had an important opportunity and responsibility to take this time and make the next category in events.
As you’ve heard we called the state of the union, and we actually did a training and during that training we told all of the attendees who showed up like that we were going to create this experience, and we coined the name Advanced 360 Interactive, and we called it 360 because we wanted to engage 360 degrees of all of their senses. We wanted this to be the most interactive, engaging, easy, powerful, and experiential event we could possibly make. I said this 40 days ago, and I wasn’t even sure if we could pull it off!
We set the ball in motion that day announcing it, then worked on getting tickets transferred from the event they were going to attend to this new virtual event. We were lucky enough to get about 700-800 people to transfer their tickets, but we wanted to take it even further, so we ran a challenge and I want to expand on that challenge in a later episode but when it was all said and done we had 3,100 tickets claimed or paid for. We almost tripled our attendance size from our live event! Now we knew it was imperative for this 360-degree experience to start before the actual event so I painted a picture and my team in conjunction with Sage Events, who I am so thankful for, we’re able to pull together a sort of pregame to the event which started with every attendee getting something physical in the mail.
Every single attendee received not the only curriculum and a workbook, but my team also took it even a step farther and had little emojis on a stick, “do not disturb” door hangers, and even recipes that were quick and easy for the attendees to be able to put their best foot forward. Because of this, you start seeing all these social media posts about how they received their package for the 360 events, it created a ripple of engagement.
We wanted to create pre-work, and usually, pre-work is a lot of technical speaking so we made sure to give only three short videos that got their mind, and spirit ready for the upcoming event. I wanted there to be an easy way for them to show up powerfully and have the best experience they could possibly have. A lot of that was overcoming the attitude to just being in another zoom room and painting a picture of what the experience was about, how they needed to be checked in, get dressed, and keep their camera turned on. By doing this we created a powerful pregame experience that had people looking forward to the virtual event instead of dreading it.
I want to just say how thankful I am for Sage’s involvement because we had a virtual check-in. Just like a live event, we had people click a button, get notified by email that they must check in during these hours on this day and people actually did the check-in. They, of course, signed off on their waiver just like at a real event then after they were taken to a room with a live person to take them through a tech check, which helped them know how to use their dashboard which held any curriculum, the game of education, and any handouts that needed to go out. They had zoom links for everything they need whether it was VIP or general admission. So because of this check-in, they were able to find everything they might need right there in their dashboard. Of course, there was some overwhelming numbers and there were small groups but it usually one to one person.
So, they got a whole experience jus through the pregame of the event, it brought exciting expectations and allowed for the attendees to show up in a powerful way.
Then, of course, you have the Onsite, which is one of if not the most important part to be able to pull off. The thing that made it so easy was the dashboard, the option for them to find everything they might need right there in front of them. Then we were able to set up 16 different “rooms” that held about 200 people each, and with some sort of connector, we had the same audio and video pumping simultaneously through all 16 rooms.
Here’s the beautiful thing, I was on a physical stage, with four cameras pointing towards me. I had these big monitors that displayed about 500 people at a time, and it just scrolled through everyone as I spoke. So, now I was literally able to interact with these people on the screen, I could see cheering, clapping, excitement, yelling but here’s my favorite part. I was able to call out a thousand names throughout the course of three days, I probably called more than that because I wanted them to feel as if they were in the room. I have never, and there is no way I would be able to do that in a live event.
I’m sure you’re asking, how else can you make it interactive and I’ll tell you the actual format of every session, the sessions remained the same as they would in a live event, two morning and evening sessions on the first and second day, two morning and one afternoon session for the third and the format stayed the same for almost all those sessions.
- 35 minutes of speaking and inspiration
- After that, they would move immediately to a breakout room of 5 people
- 10-20 minutes they would work on the worksheet on the teaching they just received
- 10-20 minutes of conversation about the activity and workshop.
- 10 final minutes back in the big room to share “aha” moments
This can be done for business stuff, but this can also be a meditative activity so if you don’t feel like what you have would fit. It will, we even had a letter-writing session, that allowed our attendees to meditate on what their business would like in a year. We brought them back in for a final 10 minutes where we hear five big “ahas” from maybe 10 of those rooms. It lasted about 90 minutes in all, so we kept engagement by keeping our sessions shorter and making them more interactive.
Now, let me tell you something of those three days 90% to 95% of people stayed the entire day, I don’t even get that at my live events, and even better than that we got some amazing testimonials where a common theme was how this was the most powerful virtual event they had ever experienced. For many, it was the most powerful event they had ever experience…period!
I’m telling this because I want you to know your event matters, they can change lives, businesses your event can change everything for someone. I urge you, if you are an attendee that missed out on an event this year go find a virtual one, we have set a standard for virtual events now and there will be many to come that you can gain so much from.
If you are a sponsor, there are opportunities for you, we had rooms full of coaches and sponsors, so innovate and figure out how you can help bring together a powerful event.
Speakers, you don’t have to try and jump in on another event you can create your own event! Host an event that will changes lives, and businesses, you have the perfect platform to do so right. Now.
My team is rolling out services to help corporations, events, and industries understand how to do this because we have documented this whole process. We knew that we were going to pull off events, organizations, and associations.
It’s time to step up
It’s time for us to create
It’s time for us to innovate
You don’t need to grind because we have for you, but are you ready to pivot? I leave you with these questions, to challenge yourself to create and innovate your industry.
- What are you going to do if you are an attendee that didn’t get to go to an event?
- What are you going to do if you are a Sponsors to innovate?
- What are you going to do if you are a speaker to not only be on the stage but create your own?
- What are you going to do to pivot?
We are here to lead the charge and lead the way, so I want to encourage you if you want to have any conversations about what we can do to help just email firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether you’re trying to fulfill a mastermind, a bigger event, smaller event, or anything in between getting the 360 interactive experience is critical and it works in 40-50 days.
If you want to see the video of it, pictures, and get a look behind the scenes of our event head to insidethegreenroompodcast.com, send us your information and we’ll email you a lot of behind the scenes that we have. Keep an eye out for an interview with Tony Robbins coming up in the next few weeks, share this episode so others can grow, it has been a pleasure and honor.