My Top Tips for Running an Organized Virtual Summit

summit basics Sep 15, 2020

If you aren’t organized with your virtual summit prep, it is going to turn into a massive headache. And I want your summit to be fun!

It's totally possible with a little organization. To help, today I’m sharing my top tips for running an organized event. This will include everything from organizing tasks, files, team members, speakers, and your brain, in general.

Save time in your browser

A silly thing that can take up a lot of your time over the weeks that you're planning your summit is opening all the tabs you need each time you go to work on things.

To help, use the Toby extension for Google Chrome. It's such a time saver!  You can save a group of tabs that you want to open all at once, rather than opening things one at a time, typing in URLs, or going into your bookmarks and opening the things you need one-by-one.

You click one button and all the things you need open together, and you can save all different kinds of groups of them. For summits, have a group of tabs, click a button, and all those things open.

 Here are the tabs I recommend including in your summit group:

  • project management software: Asana, Trello, Click Up, etc.
  • summit website
  • speaker tracking spreadsheet
  • Google drive folder
  • inbox
  • Summit In A Box program(if you're a student)

Now every time you go to work on your summit, you click one button and all those things open for you.

Detailed Project Plan

If you have our Summit Host Process Map (which is a bonus for the Summit In A Box program), you already have access to our exact project plan.

I can't imagine hosting a summit by just winging it. There would be so many things that got missed in the process that you need to go back and do last minute. You need to have every single task, from planning and setting goals, to wrapping things up when the event is done.

You also need each task to have a due date assigned to it so you are totally confident that everything is getting done when you need it done. You're also going to have each task assigned to a team member, even if that's just you, with a detailed description.

Our Summit Host Process Map has over 300 tasks to complete and it also has a bonus, our Summit Planning Accelerator. It will tell you which team member we recommend assigning the task to and what date we recommend making it due based on when your summit is happening. We also take care of the descriptions for you by linking to relevant resources in the Summit In A Box program!

Google Dive Folder

My next organizational tip for your virtual summit is having a single folder in Google drive that houses everything for your summit.

This is going to be things like:

  • speaker resources
  • branding information like your logo and colors
  • your website
  • copy for your email
  • copy for your Facebook group
  • strategy information
  • your videos that you record
  • general notes or ideas

You could technically use Dropbox for this, but I've preferred the way that Google Drive looks.  It's really easy to share with your speakers and team, as well.  

I also recommend sorting files into a hierarchy of folders that make sense, rather than just throwing it all in one big folder.

Summit In A Box students can upload our Google Drive folder to your account. If you don't have this, take some time to make it happen.

Speaker Spreadsheet

The next tip I have for you to run an organized virtual summit is to have one spreadsheet to keep track of every aspect of pitching, on boarding, and managing your summit’s speakers.

This is going to keep track of everything:

  • who you plan to pitch
  • outreach
  • follow-up efforts
  • who agreed to speak
  • where they are in the process
  • check boxes for speaker information like:
    • sent contract
    • signed contract
    • requested information
    • received information
  • potential speakers for future rounds of the summit

Summit In A Box students have our exact speaker tracking spreadsheet, but otherwise this is worth making. I recommend using Airtable (affiliate)!

Batch Your Work Time

When mapping out your project plan, you could choose to work on your summit for a short block of time every day.  Map out your initial timeline like this to be sure you don't overload yourself in one week, then move it to all one day.  For instance, instead of working on it for an hour every day, make every Wednesday your summit workday.

Instead of splitting attention between multiple projects in a day, dedicate one single day entirely to the summit.  This has let me pay more attention to tasks that might have slipped through the cracks.

If there is extra time available a different day of the week, this is where I go check in on my speakers to see what else I can do for them and brainstorm if there's any other fun things that can add to the event.  

Keep Your team + speakers updated

You can't expect everyone else to know what's going on in your process if you're not telling them.

I actually find that doing this makes me get even more organized as well, because if there's a detail that I want to share with them that I haven't figured out yet, I have to make a decision in order to give everyone else that update.

Assign a task to update your speakers weekly.

Build in extra time

Give yourself more time than you think you need. If you're short on time, you will use that as an excuse to become unorganized.  Allowing yourself extra time will just let you get these details right.  It will make the process smoother for everyone, and more enjoyable for you.

Not taking the time to get organized will just lead to a messy event.

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