Hosting your first online summit can feel like a lot of pressure and for good reason. There are all kinds of people who want to get good results from the work you're doing:
Thinking about it that way can be intimidating, but there are some specific things you can do to make sure everything is happy in the end. So today, we'll talk about the four most important parts of being a good virtual summit host.
A while back I wrote a blog post about how to give back through your virtual summit. The biggest point I made in that post was that a big way you can give back and make a difference through a summit is by donating a portion of your earnings. In my first summit, I donated $2000 to Mission of Hope Haiti and my attendees absolutely love it.
But there are other things you can do besides donating money.
For example, your audience is coming to your summit with a specific goal in mind and they want to achieve whatever you've promised them in your registration page copy. So, a great way to make a difference through your summit is to actually get real results for your audience. This will depend on the way you position the summit, the speakers you select, and the types of presentations you encourage your speakers to create.
You can also make a difference by making sure your speakers get as much return on their efforts as possible. This can be done by helping them grow their email lists, ensuring they make an income, and getting them in front of a new audience. Also with your speakers, keep diversity in mind. If you have a list of potential speakers and they all look similar, make an effort to end up with a diverse speaker lineup.
The second way to be a good summit host is to be active and responsive before, during, and after the event.
During the event, you'll get a lot of questions, both through email and in your Facebook group. Be sure to answer them quickly and kindly. The easiest way to do this is to have canned responses once you start getting questions.
For example, the most common questions I got were "Where do I go to see the schedule?" and "How can I log in to my account after purchasing?" Canned responses save a whole lot of time once all those questions start coming in from thousands of attendees.
Also, hire help if you think you'll need it. If you don't have time to be in your inbox answering questions or in your Facebook group, bring on an assistant who can give your speakers and attendees the answers they'll need.
In regards to being active, be in your Facebook group and cheer your attendees on as they are going through the presentations and implementing what they learned. Getting a little support from you will make them even more excited to make progress.
Next, support your speakers. Not only while they're preparing their presentations, but afterwards as well. If the presentations are pre-recorded, attend each one and interact with your speaker in the chatbox. This will leave your speakers feeling good after the event is over.
In a previous blog post, I talked about how to have happy and engaged speakers for your virtual summit. We talked about things like making sure they understand your cause, keeping them updated, and providing all the resources you can. These things tie right back in to being a good summit host.
Also give your speakers plenty of time to create their presentation. I've heard of hosts reaching out to speakers and having a due date one or two weeks in advance. Give your speakers at least a month to fit it in their schedule. That's going to give them a great experience, increase the likelihood that speakers say yes and get you better presentations as a result.
And don't be afraid to give your speakers shout outs on social media and your website. I've seen summit hosts that never say a thing about their speakers during the promotion period and whenever speakers come up on the website, there's no link to their website. To me, this seems like the summit host is trying to keep all the success to themselves when in reality, all of the speakers are the reason for that success. So, don't be afraid to share your speakers on social media, and link to them on the website.
And last, keep your speakers updated on how things are going throughout the event. Let them know how sign-ups are coming along, if sales are being made, and what step you are at in the process.
And last, be prepared and insanely organized. A lot goes into hosting an online summit and, honestly, the small details can be the most important part. They can be what makes your summit stand apart from the rest and leaves a lasting impression on your attendees and speakers.
When you're planning your summit, pay attention to the details. Things like:
These might appear to be small details but they add up to be super important. If you want to make sure you don't forget any of the smaller details in your first summit, check out the Summit Host Process Map - my step-by-step process for hosting an online summit.
If you're getting ready to host your first online summit, take some time to reflect on these points and note the things you can do to be an amazing summit host.
Learn how much time to set aside for planning and launching your profitable, stress-free online summit and use my calculator to set the due dates for you.