Power Poses at Dawn
Tired of watching the same old training videos you pause and never get back to after collecting the shopping from a stranger? Then you have never been in the KWC training room; it’s always been about interaction, engagement and actions. From the first Friday after lockdown last March we have been providing live virtual learning. It takes a lot to design and project plan our live events- how long did Dolly Parton say it took to look that cheap?- and making it appear technologically seamless requires learning a whole new set of skills.
This January we came back to the challenge of a live virtual conference and I was charged with making sure our 200+ delegates had a fantastic experience. I wanted to make sure that the technology, joining instructions and support on the day ran as smoothly as possible. How do you get over 200 people into a virtual event, especially across different time zones? You make sure your communication is on fire and, like getting through that massive stilton from Xmas, break it down into manageable chunks.
Here is my essential conference checklist:
We decided to use Zoom & Remo. Swapping between the platforms gave the trainers the flexibility of different breakout options for our interactive exercises. On Remo delegates could move tables and network on the conference floor and on Zoom we had breakout rooms. It was the first time we had 50!
We ran a conference for around 80 in the Lighthouse, Glasgow, in January 2020 and at that time we never imagined there would be video platforms that give you as close an experience as possible to being in the real room. All with your slippers on and time to feed the dog between sessions.
Our style at KWC is professional yet personal. We staggered our joining instructions in the lead up to the conference, highlighting the key tech information and agenda details while providing a number of touch points. It was important that we didn’t overload our delegates from the tech side of things. The take away shouldn’t leave you feeling like you’ve completed a PhD on the virtual platform; rather you need to give the basics to make sure they have the best possible experience.
Give delegates a firm foundation and keep it simple.
Teamwork & Communication
Teamwork was key to this conference. You can’t have enough support at these types of events. We used Teams live spreadsheets so that we could all be working at the same time updating our delegate list and action plan. We held daily Client Services meetings in the run up to the event to check that everything was in place. I created a step by step guide to show which team members would be available and where to find them during the conference.
To say I was nervous at 5 minutes to 9 is an understatement, but with the dedication of our team we made fast work of supporting this event. In particular, I would like to thank our Principal Consultant and Head of Coaching Nicky Denegri who offered power poses at 8:30am. The whole team showed up with cameras on and gave it our best power poses to get us in the right mindset. Clearing your head gives you that extra edge to take on the day and doing it with our colleagues left us feeling ready to kick start the conference!
Organising a live conference on this scale takes a lot of work but I am so glad we decided on this mix of technology. This was directed by Michael Fleming, who brought REMO to us, and confirmed through some fierce meetings with the facilitators who needed to be comfortable with everything.
The two platforms really provided the best possible delegate experience and allowed us to meet with over 200 people. It worked out so well we are already selling tickets for our next live conference. There are so many platforms out there, don’t be afraid to embrace them and be brave testing them for new ways of communicating with your colleague and clients. The technology, with the help of training videos and FAQs, can be mastered. Power poses at dawn can’t hurt either!