Summit Timing, Length, and Size Q&A

summit basics Feb 11, 2020

Wondering how to make the best scheduling choices for your virtual summit? Let’s talk about when you should host a summit, how many speakers to have, and more!

When is the best time to host a summit? How many speakers should I have?

In this episode, I'm answering all your schedule and timing questions including:

  • When’s the best time to host a summit?
  • What day of the week should it start?
  • How many speakers should I have?

I have answers to all that, and more!

When’s the best time to host a summit?

Overall this will depend on your topic and audience.

For example, most of the time, December would not be great for a summit for online business owners because we're checked out. We're thinking about the holidays. We're trying to wrap up those final goals for the current year while still dreaming up a whole bunch of new goals for the next year. We're distracted and not likely to pay attention to something for too long.

However, if your business is related to planning or maybe you even sell a planner, a December summit could be a great thing for you to do.

Questions to Ask Yourself

There are a few questions I want you to consider when you're trying to figure out your timeframe.

  • When is your audience most motivated to take action? If there's a time of the year or a certain season where they're more motivated than others, that's a great time to host a summit.
  • When are they the least distracted? Consider what time of year they have less going on so they can really focus on an incredible event you're going to host.
  • What are the holidays you should watch out for? Think about not only your national holidays but holidays your audience may recognize and celebrate.

For example, I know my audience is distracted all summer long while kids are out of school, or they want to enjoy summer. I know they also tend to check out in December and January.  

Anytime where your audience isn't distracted by other things is perfect. If there's a certain time of year when they're more motivated to take action, that's even better. But think about what's going to be best for you. Don't overthink this decision. Whenever you do it is to be fine.

What day of the week should my summit start?

This answer is going to depend for every person, but it will depend on how long your summit is and who you are serving through it.

For example, my summits up to this point have been 5 days long and are for designers who run their own businesses. Since my audience is not around on the weekends and they tend to enjoy time with their family instead, my summits are always Monday through Friday.

If I did a three-day summit instead, I would probably choose to start my summit on a Tuesday so I could do an opening call on Monday and have that extra day to drive registrations.

But to take a different angle to give you as an example, I recently attended a three- or four-day summit for parents of toddlers and that summit ran Friday through Monday and this worked out really well since most parents of toddlers are working during the week and don't have time to sit and watch presentations not related to work. Their schedule does tend to be a little more open on the weekends as much as toddlers will allow at least.

You can consider the same thing with your summit's timing. If your audience is business owners who are currently working full-time jobs, you might even choose to run your presentations in the evening after normal work hours, but there's no right answer.

Consider what is going to work best with the way your audience works.

How long should my summit be? Is two days too short?

This is another question where I don't think there's a right answer. Personally, I would not go less than two days because two days or less seems like a lot of work for such a small summit. At that point, there's not really much of a downside for adding one extra day.

If it's going to make it feel more doable for you or if your audience will only be able to watch maybe on a weekend and you want to do like a Saturday and Sunday summit, a two-day event might be perfect.

In general, the sweet spot is 3-5 days. I have seen summits go up to two weeks and that I will tell you is too much. Three to five days is a great time to give your audience a lot of great information, have enough speakers that you're increasing your reach with their promotion, but not exhaust everyone in the meantime.

For a three-day summit, how many speakers should I have and how much is too much?

For a first-time summit, I do not recommend going over five speakers per day. Those days of the summit are exhausting, and I want to make sure you know what you bargained for with that.

For a three-day summit, that would land at about 15 speakers. I’ve seen incredible summits be run with 15 speakers, so it's up to you. I like to have about 20 to 30 presentations because it offers variety for attendees to choose from. Use a quiz to help attendees decide which presentations to watch.

There’s a lot of promo power with those 20 to 30 speakers helping me promote, but it's not like too much that the audience can't even make sense of all the presentations they're seeing listed.

Personally, I don't give myself a set number of speakers. I make my list of people I want to pitch, I make my list of topics I want included, and if that ends up being a nice round number, that's cool. But if it's not, I don't care. I don't care if the presentations started at the same time every day, I don't care if there are exactly five presentations per day. Whatever happens, happens.

What I'm concerned with is that my audience is getting the information that they need from people who can deliver well.

Is there a sweet spot for the length of time for speaker videos?

I will give you a set answer on this one. I think 20-30 minutes of actionable content is a great place to be. It means people can consume that content in one sitting, but it's still enough to get really great information.

However, I do not think it's important that all of your presentations are the same length. I like to give a minimum and a maximum. I do about 25 to 45 minutes and let the presentations be as long as they need to be for my speakers to deliver their content effectively.

How much time should be between presentations?

I think 15 to 30 minutes here is a great number. If it's on the higher end of that, encourage people to take time during that break to implement and take action between presentations.

Make Your Decision and Move On

Overall, the decisions you make about your summit timing, length, size are going to depend on your audience, your topic, and your preference. Don't get caught up in these small decisions that really don't matter in the grand scheme of things and just move forward with your planning.

Keep in mind you can adjust as needed and move things around if you need to. Everyone will understand.



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