Today I'm really excited to bring in a special guest to talk about neurodivergence and virtual summits. We're going to cover both running a summit for neurodivergent people and hosting a summit as a neurodivergent business owner.
To give you some background information on our guest, Megan Griffith is a neurodivergent life and business coach. She's autistic and ADHD, and runs two successful businesses: Neurodivergent Magic and The Autistic Entrepreneur. Her goal is to help neurodivergent folks of all kinds feel validated, supported, and celebrated. I'm so excited for this episode and the opportunity to bring up this topic.
So without further ado, let's dive in and talk with Megan Griffith.
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Episode at a glance:
Hosting a Summit as a Neurodivergent Person
[2:34] Megan's business, Neurodivergent Magic, is all about helping neurodivergent people, especially those with autism and ADHD who are wanting to start a business. She'd been looking for ways to collaborate with others in her industry, but had struggled to find something that would be a good fit. Most of the people she wanted to collaborate with were content creators who weren't selling online courses or services, so hosting a summit was the perfect option for collaborating in a way that gave content creators a platform for sharing their message.
At first, the idea of hosting a summit sounded like a lot of work, especially because I'm neurodivergent. It sounded like there would be a lot of organization involved, which is not my strong suit, so I avoided it for a while. But then it hit me! If I wanted to work with these big names in the world of neurodivergence, I had to host a summit! So, I binged the entire Summit Host Hangout Podcast. The entire thing!
[5:35] To get started with her summit planning, Megan listened to the entire Summit Host Hangout Podcast and learned what she needed to bring together an incredible event. She sees her Autism as a strength in that it allowed her to fully dive in, learn what she needed to learn quickly, and go on to host an amazing event.
The summit was called The Neurodivergent Lived Experience Summit, and the whole focus was to talk to neurodivergent people about their lived experiences beyond the DSM and doctors. Those are great resources, but here's so much more to neurodivergence when you get into people's lived experience, and I wanted to share that through the summit. We had 18 speakers, and I grossed about $12,000 in my very first summit, which was great for me! I already had the next one on the calendar before the first one was finished.
[8:18] There were a few aspects of Megan's summit hosting experience that differed from the way a neurotypical person might approach their summit planning. Especially when it came to the speed that she moved through the process. It took her a while to decide she wanted to host a summit, but once she did, she was all in!
My initial thought when I decided to move forward with a summit was, “I'm going to do everything today." Krista say to give yourself three months, and I did, but I probably could have done it in about three weeks based on the speed I was operating at. I was able to leverage my ADHD tendencies to just go go go and check things off the list quickly. The only problem was, I worked so fast that there would be times where all I had to do was wait for speakers to do their parts. Those waiting periods were the only time any doubts creeped in for me during the planning process.
[10:41] Megan's biggest tip for a neurodivergent summit host: leverage your brain where you can. Neurodivergents have some very real limitations that should be honored and respected, but there are strengths you can leverage as you're planning your summit too.
Take some time to sit and reflect on what you know about the way your brain works. Make sure your timeline, the process you're planning, and the expectations you have for yourself fit into what you know to be true about yourself.
Keeping Neurodiverse Attendees in Mind During Your Summit
[12:30] Whether you're neurodiverse or not, it's important to consider neurodiverse attendees in your summit planning process! One of the biggest things to keep in mind is to build in time between presentations, especially if you're doing live sessions.
Some neurodivergent people can become obsessive and spend the entire day binging all of the summit content for the day, but then we have to go function as a human and cook dinner or care for our children, but we can’t because we’re burnt out. Building in breaks is a great way to help neurodivergent people enjoy your summit in a more sustainable way!
[13:12] Closed captioning and transcripts are also a must for making sure your summit is inclusive for neurodivergent people. Megan shared that lot of people with ADHD have something called auditory processing disorder, which is where there's nothing wrong with your ears, but something about where it translates in the brain gets all mushy and difficult to understand. Captions are a great solution for this.
[13:45] Most of Megan's summit was hosted on Facebook, and she used their automatic closed captioning tools. This ended up not being very reliable, and made it tough for her neurodiverse audience at times. She's planning to change her approach next time to make sure captions are reliable for those that need them!
[15:08] Megan's advice to help all summit hosts make their events inclusive to neurodivergent people: Really look into neurodivergence, learn about it, and use what you learn to make your summit neurodivergent-friendly.
The biggest thing I want people listening to know is that autism and ADHD don't always look the way you think they do. There’s a stereotype out there for what they look like, and many do look that way, but also many don’t. Taking the time to learn about neurodivergence and the different ways it shows up will help you to make your summits more inclusive!
Megan Griffith is a neurodivergent life and business coach. She's audDHD (autistic & ADHD) and runs two successful businesses: Neurodivergent Magic and The Autistic Entrepreneur. Her goal? To help neurodivergent folks of all kinds feel validated, supported, and celebrated.
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