Lauren Davis was a marketer, community organizer, and record store owner. Her real claim to fame, though, is that she does social media for conferences speakers like me. She helps speakers really connect with their audiences in a different way.
Lauren has been named as one of the “20 People You Should Know” and a “Person to Watch.” She has also received US Senate recognition for her passionate dedication to helping businesses succeed. Her expert social media advice has been featured in articles by Huffington Post and Readers Digest. She hosts her own podcast, The Business Event Playbook, that helps people grow their presence so they can focus on sales, exposure, leadership, and community impact.
Lauren is all about community in a virtual world. I needed to bring her on today to talk about what is going on in the world of conferences. Many of us have questions about how speakers are doing and what the future of networking and events looks like. Today we talk about this and what it means to have a conference in an age when you can’t stand within six feet of someone.
In this episode you’ll hear:
- Why she loves conferences.
- What the conference world looks like in the age of Coronavirus.
- What the future state of conferences is.
- The limitations of the push towards virtual.
- How to have a successful virtual conference.
- How to create good content in uncertain times.
- The importance of empathy in this season.
WHAT DOES THE CONFERENCE WORLD LOOK LIKE IN THE AGE OF CORONAVIRUS?
There are some people who are taking an existing conference and just making it virtual. Another group of people is making their conference virtual but making it better. Finally, there are people who are going virtual but giving their participants a ticket to next year’s event. Those are the three main things that have emerged. This is also a time when we all need to have extreme empathy for one another. Conference organizers have lost everything they’ve put all their hard work into. Speakers have also lost so much in that their entire source of income has been taken away. We must all put ourselves in one another’s place and ask what we can do to make it better for the other person.
WHAT IS THE FUTURE STATE OF CONFERENCES?
The reason this season is so hard for us is because we don’t know what’s going to happen. We can predict and plan if we have the foresight, but in reality, none of us know much. What we can do is continue creating content, take things in little chunks at a time, and keep moving forward.
WHAT ARE THE LIMITATIONS OF THE PUSH TOWARDS VIRTUAL AND OW CAN I HAVE A SUCCESSFUL VIRTUAL CONFERENCE?
So many virtual events are being put together on the fly just for the sake of having a virtual event. However, the hosts and thought leaders behind these events need to consider what will be highly relevant to their audience in the next few months. The topic doesn’t have to be directly related to COVID-19 but should be relevant to the things people are struggling with right now. There are so many opportunities for innovation and problem solving that need to be harnessed and worked into relevant themes explicitly for the audience we’re serving. There are also ways to create a connection with the audience in a virtual event. Firstly, the shorter the better. Additionally, try to provide opportunities for the attendees to collaborate with one another and to get involved in the conference.