• Positive Polarity Podcast

How To Plan Virtual Events That Engage Your Audience




Bio:

RACHEL YOUNG NIELSEN created a movement with her “results matter” mentality. Fascinated by ideas, and inspired by the future, Rachel turns anyone's vision into a reality. With beliefs deeply rooted in “proving anything is possible” - she has been guiding people and organizations to amplified achievements as a mentor, speaker, author and founder of Advanced Events, Inc. and Result Drivers, Inc. Rachel is an active member of Enterprising Women Advisory Board and recipient of the Enterprising Women of the Year Award, appears on podcasts and radio shows featuring her provocative thought process and infectious positive positioning. As an expert in experience marketing, change management, alignment advantage and organizational empowerment, she is versatile in her approach and her guidance.

Rachel is inspired by people and experiences, which often sparks the creative solutions her clients seek.


Get In Touch:

(email) rachel@advancedevents.net

(website) www.AdvancedEvents.net

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachelyoungnielsen/




Show Notes:


Hey, Dave, Melinda here, Positive Polarity Podcast. I hope things are going awesome for you. I have to say that I always look for people that try and get stuff done. I'm a thinker, I'm a guy with all these ideas, and then I want to hand it to somebody. And it's hard to find qualified people to hand it to that have their vision and own ideas. And I was lucky to find one, and we'll get into that today.

You're a founder of a company called Advanced Events. So why don't you tell us what's going on at Advanced Events?

Well, it's certainly been a year of evolution. I don't think it's a bad evolution. I'm super, super energized by everything we've been doing. I even sent out a message that we secretly love virtual events because it became almost something that people didn't want to hear. And I think it's the most forced situation that is phenomenal. Barriers are down. People can now get back to doing business instead of being distracted by the logistics. And back when I stopped, when I founded advanced events, about 14 years ago, it was founded on the principle that's called beyond your event methodology. I was the only event person in the world saying, let's not talk about your event. Let's talk about your business. What are you trying to do? Don't give me logistics. We're going to define logistics based on the result, not upon the cool event. I am a hundred percent behind virtual and hybrid and live, but it's, it's been great, and we're certainly enjoying the ride.

Well, so this is great timing then, because as we try and transition, I'm a speaker by nature, and we try and get out, and we were trying to find places to speak. And it just seems that virtual still is taking through the vast majority of the time. But I mean, from a company perspective, from whether you are trying to get education for your team, whatever all of a sudden, this whole zoom I use Zoom. So, I'm just going to say Zoom works well. So, did you, I'm assuming you had the transition 14 years ago when you started, it was mainly about in-person events, is that correct?

It was largely absolutely. And we've been, we've been telecasting—Simulcasting doing used to be called roadshows. So, having even hybrid where you saw parts of the roadshow live in remote locations, it was initially for global companies who didn't have the time, literally time to bring all of their executives into one location. It wasn't about resources. It was about, can you take your executives out of that location to convene them? So, we've been doing hybrid and simulcasts and telecast for quite some time. It's just democratized now. Schools can do it by local organizations. And you bring up training Dave for you. Again, the way you can reach your audience is what I mentioned before barriers are down, or they could, they could accompany you, or an organization or association could only get maybe one layer. Maybe it was the director layer. And it was a lot of the trainer. You got the trainer who was then supposed to go back into the organization and train either the higher or the lower echelon. Now it's that CEO can tune in just as easily as a line worker can. So, from a training aspect, it has opened up such huge opportunities for organizations and associations.

Rachel, do you fit in? So, if I'm a business owner and I'm listening, and I survived 2020, and I'm like, yes, I made it through. And so now I feel like we want to get back to get our eye back on the ball. And we want to educate our team, and we want to connect more with our clients. I mean, we're w if I have those ideas because we have a lot of entrepreneurs listening that probably have those thoughts now that they're through this where do you come in? What, what role do you play? Unpack that for us, if you could.

I'd be happy to. So what we do, we work with the leaders, and it doesn't have to be the entrepreneur. Although I prefer that because I'm, I'm a visionary myself, and I can run alongside those entrepreneurs who have a vision and the director level. So, what we do is the guidance, so that coaching the design and then the execution, and it's important if I can just, we're in tax time right now everyone's thinking about those, those big dollars from 2020, and are they going to, or what is what's going on? And if you think about it in tax terms, when I was first out of college, I was so proud to be able to do my taxes. I was empowered because I thought who could protect my interests better than me until I found out that my financial advisor wasn't doing much advising.

I cost myself thousands of dollars early on, and I was really angry. But through that anger, I found out; I don't know much at all. And I have to surround myself with people who have my best interest, but their talent. And it's very similar to what we do. We understand the organization, understand what that leader is trying to accomplish, and then figure out the tools to utilize to do it. But we're the ones who know the industry. We know the pitfalls of certain decisions. We know the fallout. So that guidance is supercritical for the serious leader, the serious entrepreneur who's looking to accomplish something. We figure out the how once we understand the why.

So, and that's from, and then that ties into the event. Once you figured that out, it's like talking about the goal first, once you, once you figure out where, where you want to get to, then you figure out how that you're going to get to that location or that spot.

Events of any kind are tools. And that's important. Believe it or not. I can't tell you how many times we've told organizations not to hold an event. Seems a little counterintuitive. I've cost myself work because it wasn't in our clients' best interest, of the clients we were serving.

So, who's your ideal client then? Rachel, what is a real if somebody's listening and they're trying to decide if you are a good fit? What are you looking for? Client-Wise

We love working with, with what we call finicky leaders. So, somebody who's been empowered with getting something done and has no room for failure. It's funny that we say that, but we find that there's a lot of times there are leaders. Whether it's going to be the entrepreneur leader or a director is like a fortune 100 company. They've got teams, and we see all the time where their teams are a little bit disconnected because the leader has this directive. That's all we hear. And you will challenge. We're not, yes, men, we will challenge and say, you set, you want this yet. This action is working against you. Do we need to clarify what we want? Or do we need to adjust how we're getting there? We are in love with the outcome, not the process. So, serving leaders and companies who are, are serious about getting their work done. That is ideal for us because then it's a glorious win-win situation.

So, I need to get clarification because I'm an entrepreneur and I want to get stuff done, and I want it if my goal for 2021 is to a mosquito is a really broad goal is to increase my sales by apps, and then I say, okay, Rachel, what do I do next? If somebody on this podcast right now they're thinking, what does that look like in your world for you?

So, from a generalized perspective, if you're saying you want to increase your sales, the very first question that we're going to ask is, where are you getting them now? Right? Where are you getting your top sales now? And trust me, we're not the sales and marketing campaign manager. Where we're the ones that are saying, okay, you're, you're looking at doing this. Maybe you're looking at expanding the podcast, or I know you're working with some, some wonderful nonprofit organizations right now. You want more nonprofit organizations. We're going to look at how are you serving them? Is there something that you can do to maybe train them the leaders or the training develop directors? I'm assuming you're working with how you are reaching them? And, and what are you, how are we designing an audience-centric experience so that they want to meet with you? They want to experience what it is that the magic you offer and how we look at doing that economically for you in the time period you want. So, it's, how do you, how do you relate to your audience and give them what they want that serves your best interest? And that can be a training session. It could be a recording; it could be anything. But how you interact and experience your audience is what we control.

This is an off the cuff question that you may not exactly. So that's how we roll. But this iPhone, I can take a video, and I can throw it on LinkedIn. And I can think I did my job got my message out to people. I'm set. I mean, that's going on a lot today. I don't know about you, but I see a lot of that type of thing going on LinkedIn. So, from in my mind, that's like a super mini-event, and maybe I'm way off on that, but it's taking information that I have and getting it to people I want to get it to. So what, what suggestions would you have for me or anybody that's in that thought process right now? That's, that's, that's the extent of the way they deliver their message. Is there any feedback or tips that you can help us with?

I have, I always have. I always have thoughts. Come on. So, the way we break it down is two very important factors, controlling your message and influencing your audience. If you want a result of any kind, you need to control your message and influence your audience to behave, believe, and act in the way you want them to. Right at the very, very basic core. It's those two components. Now, what we look at is, are you supporting or sabotaging those two efforts? So, you are supporting, let's look at doing an iPhone video and putting it up on LinkedIn. You are absolutely in control of your message. We'll just leave that one there. Are you influencing your audience to be too? No. See feeler do what you want them to do. You have no idea. So, what we may look at is the message, again, audience-centric, who were you trying to reach all of LinkedIn or segments of LinkedIn?

If we look at the segment of, you're looking at, let's just say, thought leaders or trainers to make it more personal for you. If you're looking to reach trainers, we would go back to the message and see if it served the trainer mindset? Is it serving you, or is it serving them? We still want your outcome. We're not crazy. We're not just looking to give everything away. You have a certain income or outcome that you're looking for. But we would look at, is that message reaching them and giving them what they need at the moment they need it? Or is it just a, or is it just noise?

So how would we, so, and I appreciate that you could answer that off the cuff because I'm in that situation where I have a business to run. I have clients you run into; you have all these things. Suddenly, it's like, oh my gosh, maybe I should do this, whatever this is, deliver a message somehow connect with my audience, whatever it is there are so many different ways for different people. And so, there's no right or wrong, but I'm looking at this. I'm stuck on your coaching design and execution because design and execution are the easy part compared to the coaching part. If you don't know what I need, and I don't know what I need. I mean, there's probably a ton of people listening that they don't know what they need.

That's why I wrote growing on purpose because so many people grow by mistake. There are so many companies that I run into nationally here that just roll by mistake. And he asked them how they did it. They don't know, or they got lucky or and they don't say I got lucky, but you can tell by their answer, they don't have a very strategic plan on how they got from A to B, I'm assuming events. I mean, I love events because there are so many positive things going on in one space. I want to do it in a way I need to be coached to do it in the right way. And whether it's throwing a little message on LinkedIn, a video, or it's a full-blown three-day summit, I mean, I was part of your network series for entrepreneurs.

That's how we met. So, help us if somebody's interested in sharing their knowledge because I tell whether it's sales professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners, anybody out in business has something worthy of sharing with somebody else. It takes a lot of gods. It takes a lot of practice. It takes a lot of determination to be successful at it. The Eden network piece of your life, how did that come about, and where is that headed? Because I love the name E network. That's how I got attracted to it, to begin with. So, and then you put series for entrepreneurs. It's like, oh my gosh, this is awesome. So that's you taking your advanced events and put putting teeth to it?

First of all, going by mistake, I don't want to correlate the network series, especially the series for entrepreneurs, as a mistake. Still, it was incredibly, incredibly purposeful in answering a need. So, when you talk about growing by mistake, events have been mistakenly beneficial to organizations. It's been one of my biggest frustrations over my career of 20 plus years, understanding what you're trying to do and being certain that you're doing that. And I'm not just talking about ROI; I'm talking about, let's take the trade show. You have a massive expense of people coming in. You're participating in a trade show. You're watching people go up and down the aisle. We would ask the question to our clients. Number one, what is it that you need people to know from, from a hundred feet away, 10 feet away, and one foot away before you've opened your mouth, then we're talking about, okay, once you have a lead, what is it you're doing with that?

Who is prepared to take action? And so, we're talking about this growing by mistake, and there were so many organizations that didn't have an effective, well thought out plan. Another question we would ask just for our trade show clients. You're there with all of your competitors. What do you, what message are you controlling that the competitors are getting? What do you want them to know? And so, there are different ways of looking at what you're trying to do. Sometimes you're so close to your own needs that it's very, very foggy we're in that situation now. So, when we look at, when we went into each network series, we knew that organizations and leaders were struggling with how to connect meaningfully with new audiences, new vendors, new networks, like-minded people. The need to connect the need for community was significant, but no one knew how we came up with words like zoom fatigue, where everybody in the first three and a half weeks of quarantine went into learning everything. They could, every podcast, every training, every what, how to they went into these were awful events. I don't want to be there. I don't want to be spoken to. So that is literally how the network series came in because we had organizations, and they were looking to replicate what they did live online. And what we're looking at doing, and this is very important. So if you've, if you've been casually listening, everybody, listen here, this is important too.

This is it if you need to.

Exactly, exactly. Come back to us. So, what's important is not designing live to be online. It's designing for what you're trying to do and then designing a virtual event. Let me give you an example. So, I'm part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 small business alumni.

If anybody ever wants to know about that program it's, it's phenomenal. I support it wholeheartedly. I graduated in 2014, still going strong in the community. I'm a captain for our Capitol Hill visits next week. And why this is important. Let me explain how a virtual event can be more beneficial and more relevant than a live event. Lobbying Congress has been happening since Congress started. If you look on Bloomberg television, CBS live, it's all recent coverage. So overnight. So we're doing virtual events, virtual Capitol Hill meetings. I think there are about four to 6,000 of us who are having these meetings—nothing new, nothing, nothing newsworthy. What we've done is overnight 10,000 lawn signs were put up on Capitol Hill. There is not one worker, one staffer, or one congressperson who is going into work without seeing this message.

The headline is very strong, loose, loose, small, lose big. If our small businesses are suffering, the country's going to be suffering. So just the small tactic of creating a virtual presence and then doing some interviews with that. As the backdrop, our message is being heard, where it would never have been heard before. It's a really interesting way that if you think about what is the impact you're trying to make, what is the message you're trying to control? You can do it very differently. Barriers are down. It's the Wild West design with your outcome in mind, and it's phenomenally successful.

Do you think that will abandon live events, or do you think it'll just land in a spot where it's some live some virtual in the future? Or what do you think the next three to five years looks like in that remark?

Again, I'm incredibly energized. No, I don't think live is going away. There's an absolute purpose for that. There is a hybrid, I think will be the new norm where you have, you're designing simultaneously again, they're, they're, they're different reasons you have to, there has to be a reason for me to turn the camera on and not just listen to this at my convenience. Right? If you're going to going to congregate people virtually, there has to be a reason. To be audience-centric, and there are elements of life that can only be produced live. We, we haven't quite mastered. Smellovision yet. If you're going to, if you're going to be in the room and feel the room, smell the room, experience the room, hug somebody, you need to be in person. But I think it's going to be purposeful. I think the right audiences are going to be congregated, not just any audience.

It's not just about seeing if it was successful. It's about purposely designing it. So, I think that the awakening will be significant, which is exactly what we've been doing this entire time. Again, that guidance before the design and execution has to happen, and anybody can, can hold an event. Each decision you make, whether virtual or live, is either supporting or sabotaging your outcome. And I unknowingly sabotage thousands of dollars out of my pocket. I did it with my own business. I thought I had my own best interest at heart. And I cost myself significant cash because I didn't have the right guidance.

So, I wrote down a new audience because that piqued my interest. And I'm sure that someone listening, not always thinking, okay how do I get a new audience? How do I expand my bandwidth, expand my reach? So I'm going to use me as an example, and then hopefully, you can help me with this? So, I do monthly events. They used to be at the better business Bureau, Milwaukee. And when we were live, and we were averaging 30 to 40 people would show up, and we would do different topics every month provide launch, had a sponsor, and different things like that. And it was designed for me too because I knew if I spoke to X number of people, I'd get a new client, I'd sell books. I would sell some disc assessments. There was, and I could give back to the community by providing them for free, which was cool. When we transitioned into 2020, we took them virtually. The attendance dropped probably because I thought I would do the same thing market in the same way. Do it the same way. While my 40 went to 15 back up to probably around 20 to 25, somewhere in there. Now I'm looking at 2021, and I'm like, okay, do I want to do this? Does it make sense? what could I do better to move forward? So, what advice would you have for somebody that is in that space? So, when someone comes to you with that, Rachel, I know I missed the ball.

I know I missed something; something didn't connect because our attendance dropped. The engagement is really hard. And again, I'm asking you a ton of questions, but I'm just like, I would come to you and go help. I don't know what the heck happened. I want a new audience. I like the fact that a lot half of my people, every month, are new people. I have a following of people that hang out with us every month, but then I have these new people. Just from a real-world experience, where did I, where do you think I could have gone a different direction? Or what did I do? Or maybe that's just the nature of the beast. So, I'll let you unpack that now.

Absolutely. If anyone goes to advanced events.net, you can schedule a complimentary 45-minute result that matter discovery session. It's the same thing as counseling. It's corporate counseling.

Like that is off the bat where we dive into not us, not our process, not us trying to sell you something. Let's just look at that discovery session of what are your results that matter. So, taking your scenario of 2020 and your sessions that were for the better business bureau, I'm going online. Give me one sentence. What is your offering? Why would somebody come? What are they getting to come?

There was a two-pronged approach. It was networking and education. Those were the two things from an in-person perspective that happened consistently. I know people there who got jobs when they connected with other people; I know people who turned into clients for other people. I mean, I love connecting dots like that. So that excited me to see that go on. In addition to that, there was the education piece. So those would be my sentences is that there's that connecting and education.

So, tell me what education, tell me a little bit about how you educated. Were you talking handout slides?

So, we did a PowerPoint presentation. So, we would do it for about 45, 50 minutes. It would be a PowerPoint. It was interactive. 2020 was the year of the customer. So, we did everything about customer experience. We did just, and it was all about selling technique. It was just all about the customer. So that was the theme for 20, 20, 2019 was soft skills that produced hard results. So that's how that looks.

And when you were live, what did the networking look like?

We would get there at about quarter to 12, and I would tell people, grab something to eat, and then until 12, there would be networking. And then we would network on the back. End of it as well, stop around five to one until like one 15. If people had to leave, they could, but throughout, I knew I had to encourage people, so and I didn't make them sit there. But the reality is, is I told everybody, if you leave and you didn't meet somebody, that's on you, That's not on me. I set the table for you. So hopefully, you met one person that you could help or one person that could help you.

So, in your own words, and I'm, I'm not challenging it. Like we might go a little bit deeper into how it's serving you when you're working in a one-on-one situation. But at face value, networking and the educational component were important to this audience. When you went to your virtual situation, how did you facilitate networking?

We tried to do it, so we encouraged everyone to put their name in the chatbox with contact information. We encourage people to look who's all on the call and find one person every at the beginning of each meeting; I said, Hey, somebody on here needs what you have, and you need something from somebody here. So, do yourself a favor and find somebody here that needs what you have. And that's how that's exactly how I facilitated it.

And those are, those are wonderful catalysts for people who are excellent at networking. I'm an introvert, and I despise networking but give me a conversation, and I am engaged because I feel like I'm a human being in a human conversation. Networking for dummies is really what was invented for me. I love when networking is a resonating component with this audience, being able to promise some one-on-one conversations and design your education to be highly interactive. When you started talking, you talked about, there have been some very valuable hiring and business deals being done, but it sounds like there was some sort of a personal introduction done, like where it wasn't just, you were both in the buffet line.

I would make sure everybody went around the room and introduced themselves and said what company they work for. And then we always had a fun question, just to break the ice. So, people had a comfort level.

That is networking for dummies that give people something to talk about besides the weather got your business. Because we're people, not just what we do, so, for example, when you go into the virtual environment, or even if you're in the live environment, creating opportunities for conversation, peer to peer conversation, whether it's going to be a one-on-one or small group. So, looking at that, the other thing is, you're talking about a 45-minute PowerPoint presentation. I don't experience too many people unless they're doctors who are listening to two lectures. We've all school, and we're in the workforce now. So, we're a PowerPoint presentation has a time and a place in this situation. You're talking about Better Business Bureau, interaction, tidbits, tidbits of information, soft skills for hard results, and giving the soft skill and then allowing practicing it, to internalize it.

That's something you certainly experienced in the network entrepreneur series. We're talking about active listening and posing something really important. And then letting everybody talk about it, internalize it. And that's where relationships are created. If we were to take your Better Business Bureau event and purposely design it around networking opportunities for dummies. So, for me, it's not about, I don't want to hear the word networking. I want to hear about how many one-on-one conversations I am going to have with other like-minded peers or people in the same situation that I'm in. I'm going to hit the content that's being delivered in a manner where we have a small group discussion on it so that you walk away understanding the tool and how to activate it. How you create your message and control your message and control the experience to give the audience-centric experience that will serve you.

I love that practice piece. I mean, that's, that, that it would be great to understand that more. I think about the team meetings that go on right now on Zoom. The etiquette and the challenges going on right there are that's a podcast in itself.

Oh, absolutely. I want to sit in the room for that one.

Yeah, exactly. I mean, it's just like it's, it's crazy all the stuff, but I mean, so I think about the one-on-one conversation that you're talking about. And I think that you're. There's a lot of people that don't like the word networking. Just like in my sales training, there's a lot of people that despise role-playing. I mean, they're calling in sick the day. They know that there's role-playing, but I see when we call it practicing, all of a sudden, it creates a whole different environment. I thank you for sharing that one-on-one conversation versus networking because that does change the whole outcome.

So interactive. Right? Like, so you mentioned that the PowerPoint presentation was, was offered in an interactive format. So, what that means, like w we would challenge prove it, prove it upfront. How many minutes of interaction versus talking head? And the reason why we do it that way is we're adults and want to be treated as adults. So, and entrepreneurs, I know you work with entrepreneurs significantly, as do I. We don't like to admit that we don't know something career. Absolutely. As a group speaking somewhat judgmentally here, as a group, judgmentally here that saying we have a gap in our knowledge. No problem. Who's going to fill our gap. Right. We don't want to admit that we don't know anything about excellent. Here's one of my vulnerabilities when it comes to like, here's one of my vulnerabilities, you mentioned sales earlier.

2020 is the year that I learned the difference between sales and marketing. I'm a Goldman Sachs 10,000 small business, very proud alumni who won awards from enterprising women internationally. We've done great business. I didn't truly understand the difference between sales and marketing because we have such an incredibly strong reputation. My ideal clients were recommending ideal clients. So, I didn't understand niche marketing. I didn't understand that you had to get out there with a message. And that was different from than sales point proving. When you say an interactive experience, prove it and, and test yourself. Is it interactive? Am I treating my audience as the adults that they are and giving them what they want? And here's another, again, if you've been passively listening, this is a good time. For anybody who's the trainer or the person responsible for creating content, that's a daunting thing. Get an audience what they want and allow them to talk. They, they fill in the content for you. They fill in the time, and they're going to tell you how brilliant you were for creating it. When all you're doing is giving, allowing them to take something that they need a gap in their knowledge base and talk about it and dissect it for you, that's great.

So, Rachel, how do you know that me in person is way more interactive than the Zoom calls for me? Because it's real easy to play off the energy of somebody in the room. Every, every soft skill has an exercise. Every everything I do has an exercise; whether I'm using my magic April or I'm using Charlie and our Charlie Brown and Lucy, everything's got something to get them their attention. It's hard to get, at least for me. And maybe this is a blind spot for me that I need help on. It seems to be a lot harder to get the feedback from somebody on a zoom call because what I do in the audience is like, that's one thing that I try and do is when I know somebody, when somebody introduces themselves, like if you are my audience. I'd be like, Rachel, what do you think about that? It's so easy to do that. It's harder to do, especially for the people who don't put their screen on it or don't. They're not showing videos and different things like that. Do you have any ideas on how to get people interacting on a zoom call like that?

Absolutely. and while you're speaking, I don't know if you've noticed that I renamed my box in our Brady bunch boxes here. And this is something that we, that you experienced in the network entrepreneur series. When you were speaking in a room, you will put yourself in what we're to call the facilitator role. Right. As much as you are broadcasting your content, you're also facilitating the experience. So, whether it's one person, you have a moderator, like there are all kinds of ways of doing that. But you are legitimately the facilitator of that experience. And again, we want to be audience-centric. So, in each network entrepreneur series, we had instructed everybody, all of our members, all of our participants that we are here to serve them. And we want, we want them to have the experience they're looking for, meaning if they're interested in the content. Still, they really don't want to be on camera, or they can't be on camera, or they're there, they're here, but they're also watching their children, e-learning it doesn't matter what it is.

We wanted them to experience to the fullest extent they were ready to experience. So, we came up with the naming mechanism to help the facilitator understand where the audience was. For example, I have renamed myself, listen, Rachel Nielsen, advanced events, and what, what that is, it's a cue to Dave as the facilitator that I am here as much as I can be right now, but please don't call on me. I'm not in the I'm not, I'm not in a situation where I can fully participate.

And all I have to do when I want to change that that ability is take that out. And now, I'm here. So again, if I'm on, listen, Rachel Nielsen and I go off-camera, you're not offended. First of all, you're not going, oh my gosh, they dropped, wait, why? Well, you know why they dropped the doorbell rang, and their dog is barking, and they don't want you to see their button cameras. They walk away. So, so it's, it's a way of boosting that interactive ability and in controlling the energy.

So, if you are facilitating any of those meetings, moving forward, in the bottom corners, your name if somebody on your team can't participate, they're listening. Maybe like, like Rachel just said it listen versus speak. I mean, create whatever wording you need. That's uniform for the group. But what a great tip, because I've, it's never for me, it's always like; I call on somebody and then it's like, Oh, You see the little red line through the microphone. So, they're on mute. And it's like, okay, Johnny, are there then silent. I mean, nothing creates more of an energy drain than calling on somebody. That's not there. It's just so hard as a facilitator of that group. So what other is, as we start to come in for a landing today, Rachel, what other tips would you have for a successful virtual event?

Honestly, knowing who your audiences and calling something interactive is one step. But if you want to be a senior level designer, look at the number of minutes you have interactive. Look at, and here's the question. Does it matter that they tune in? Does it matter that okay, it's being broadcasted and whether it's simi-live, prerecorded; however it may happen? Does it matter that they turn their camera on? Because that is, is that question. If you have a segment of your audience that it doesn't matter, you're not getting that, then don't invite them.

Is there an expectation if I invite somebody to a Zoom meeting is there an expectation that I should lay out ahead of time for what my expectations are as the facilitator? Is that what you're saying?

I would say again because we look at it in a serving capacity. So yes, laying out expectations, but also laying out what they can expect. I talked earlier about the barriers being down. Maybe now you might get that C level audience that you wouldn't garner earlier—being able to say when their most valuable opportunity to learn to listen or to tune in or to participate would be defining that for them so that you understand. I mean, how many zooms, whether it's a podcast or a meeting, I tell my team, like we know exactly how our clients work and there are our internal meetings with our clients that you don't have to be on time because of the first four minutes are going to be checking their computer. Hold on; they're coming from another thing. So, we have now started those meetings.

We don't schedule them for 3:00 PM. We schedule them for three, 10:00 PM. Because people need a 10-minute break, and we've gotten so the response of, thank you. I needed to grab lunch, or I just needed to go to the bathroom or whatever it may be. So, we're communicating upfront now; even in our live broadcasts, our clients communicate the expectation? We're going to have a high-level keynote speaker at this time. Still, we anticipate C-level interactive high-quality conversation for the first 20 minutes after that's going to be a little bit more detailed getting into the application of whatever information. So you're meeting people where they're at because you control when you get their attention.

Especially now, with Zoom they make, you either have a passcode or have permission to enter. So, when I started an event at noon and I'm 1204, and I'm seeing people still coming in, I have to like to push the button and act like I'm still engaging with the audience, push the button, see who it is, make. Like there's all these things.

On that note, so some of these tips and tricks are like, Oh, it sounds so easy to facilitate the meeting the event. So, every meeting, we consider an experience, our podcast together here, this is an experience just as much Dave and I was both on two and three minutes early because that's who we are. So, if someone will start meetings at 12:10 to give people that opportunity, we know that human nature is to start at the top of the hour. So, we make sure that we are somebody from our staff is on at noon. So, welcome everybody. And say, you have 10 minutes, please feel free to take you can go off mute, you can go off-camera. Thank you for coming in. This was scheduled at 12:10; feel free to grab a drink or whatever it may be. So, we don't leave it that we're going to just start the messiness at 12:10. We allow for that 10 minutes of buffer and, again, give people just a chance to either chit chat beforehand, but know what the expectation is at 12:10.

So, let me ask this a couple more questions, and then we'll let you go. Tip of the week from Rachel, from Rachel Nielsen, what is your tip of the week for people listening?

My tip of the week is honestly to go back to the beginning. So. it's a year of energy and a great opportunity. But when you hit that wall of overwhelm or confusion, go back to the beginning and remember why you're doing something, and see if the confusion is still necessary. Or is there clarity in the O w I know why this is so confusing? It's not serving my purpose.


The Positive Polarity Podcast

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