Summits Are The New Webinars!
Webinars have been a staple in business for over ten years. You have surely attended a webinar or two to learn about a new topic or to grow your understanding of a topic. Platform providers like GoToWebinar, Webex, WebinarJam, Zoom and many others have proliferated.
A webinar has proven effective in delivering your training, sales pitch or presentation to many people at one time online. One-to-many broadcasts are efficient, and a proven communication technique.
These webinar platforms are now a mature technology, offering registrations, polls, Q&A, lead-capture, and replays. Frankly, they have grown stale, poorly implemented and not very effective. How many more do you want to attend that start out with “Hi, can you see my screen?” Or “Where is everyone from?” And even my favorite, “Let’s wait until 5 minutes after the scheduled start time for people to log in?”
What has been missing in these platforms is the ability to re-create and improve on a live conference or event. They have not provided the ability to:
- Select a specific track of presentations on topics/categories that are of the most benefit to you.
- Attend specific Speaker talks from amongst the entire slate of speakers.
- Have meaningful, private breakout sessions or roundtables with small groups of other attendees focused on a specific presentation or topic.
- Connect and communicate with other event attendees in real-time (if desired).
- Receive handouts and checklists from those speakers that you gained knowledge from.
These are benefits of traveling to a live event that a webinar was not able to address.
During 2019, the concept of Online Summits has grown more and more popular and common. Having a collection of speakers, typically 10 to 40 or more, presenting their ideas over one or more days. Look at your emails from the last few months and search for “summit”, and you will see that they are growing in popularity.
As I have chosen to move more into a “producer” role than that of a presenter, I have been at the forefront of producing several of these “summits” using different platforms and approaches.
- Produced a free to attend online summit for the team at TradeShow Makeover featuring pre-recorded presentations from 29 speakers over a three-day period providing training and guidance for those interested in improving their trade show results.
- Produced a two-day Summit for the team at Biz Locker Room focused on The High-Performance Leader, featuring live presentations from 12 world-renowned leadership experts over two days.
- I have just wrapped a free two-day summit on the topic of sales prospecting called Prospecting Unbound featuring thirteen presenters in nine categories over two days.
As you can imagine, there are quite a few moving components and technologies involved in pulling this type of event off successfully.
From these events, and many more in the pre-production stage currently there are some key learnings I have come to understand well if you would like to create a summit of your own.
- With multiple speakers involved a long lead-time is required – I recommend two to three months for your first one.
- Decide on live broadcasts vs. pre-recorded presentations. Each has its advantages, and a combination of both in a summit is definitely possible.
- Decide on if you are going to charge for attendance or make it free. If paid, will there be different levels of “tickets” offered, with different access levels, replay access, along with several other options.
- Decide if you will be offering sponsorship opportunities, and if so, lock down pricing and what your sponsors will receive at least two months prior to the summit.
- Decide what happens after the summit is over. Are replays available and for how long?
- Select speakers that can commit and execute against your schedule for deliverables.
- Choose your analytics package and how you are going to measure your success.
- Create graphics, logos, etc. that will be used during the promotion of your event.
- Decide how and where you, your speakers and your sponsors will be able to promote the summit.
- Decide on the structure of your summit. Individual presentations one after the other, live or pre-recorded, allow for live Q&A and moderation, online breakout rooms for smaller groups to meet online, with or without speaker to discuss the ideas presented.
- A recent, new capability – do you want to provide the ability for attendees to network with each other, connect if mutually desirable and share their social links, website, company info and even phone numbers.
There are many choices for you to consider when thinking about putting on a summit. If you have an interest and would like some help, send me an email or give me a call to explore. Don’t know how, just click here.
Summits are the next wave and you should be aware of the possibilities they can provide. I want to hear from you.