Behind the Summit #13: Summit Week

After months of planning, it's finally here! Join Kate and I as we take you behind the scenes and what happened when my team had to run everything without me.

After months of planning, it's finally here! Join my Operations Lead and Executive Asisstant, Kate, and I as we take you behind the scenes of what our live summit week looked like.

We'll cover what went on each day, what each of us was focused on, and what happened when my team had to run everything without me.

It's Summit Week!

There are a lot of tasks that go into running a summit and having someone to share them with makes it easier on everyone. Let’s start with a breakdown of what each of our mornings looked like.

Every day, Krista:

  • Added the day's presentation links to the schedule page to make them easy for attendees to find.
  • Remove expired links from previous days' presentations.
  • Made a couple of tweaks to the presentation pages, since there were changes we decided to make after they were all created.
  • Led the daily Facebook lives with sponsors.
  • Led evening live sessions with sponsors.
  • Handled most of the community engagement.
  • Pretended that Kate needed me!

Every morning, Kate:

  • Opened each presentation page for the day and tested links.
  • Posted in the chat box for each presentation, letting them know when we'd be live chatting.
  • Created a custom chat box welcome message for once each presentation was live.
  • Monitored the chat boxes throughout the day.
  • Handled all support emails.

Let’s dive into how each day went!

Day One

In the past, Day 1 has been a high-engagement day, and it always started off with some weird tech mishap. This time, everything worked!

I was waiting for the community to explode and emails to start going nuts, and that never happened. All I had to do was clear the cache on our server, and we were good to go. It was a huge relief to see everything working as we wanted it to.

A couple of fun facts about attendee numbers were:

I hosted my first EVER live presentation as the first presentation on Day 1, which was led by a sponsor. I loved the engagement and excitement, but I don’t think I could do a whole live summit. There’s so much room for things to go wrong.

All the questions started flooding my head: What if the speaker doesn’t show up? What if the tech breaks? So as much fun as it was, I’ll stick to mainly prerecorded presentations.

Kate, how was Day 1 for you?

Kate’s Point of View

I kept refreshing the inbox and Facebook group waiting for things to break or waiting for all the questions to start coming in, and they never did! We only had about 5 emails come in with questions on how to access the presentations or with a complaint about the fast-action timer… which are some of the biggest summit questions attendees ask and totally expected.

It was helpful to have the canned responses already loaded in the inbox and ready to go. I didn’t have to decide whose excuse was good enough or not and just sent our canned response.

Usually, there's a bigger learning curve for attendees, but we had changed the language on the site and updated some copy, so I think we set our attendees up for success before the summit even started.

Not sure how to handle a difficult attendee? Check out our episode on what to do when attendees ask for special treatment.

Day Two

Day 2 was very similar to Day 1… until I had to take my daughter to the ER! I was able to start the day and be there for the live Facebook session one of my sponsors led, but then I left to meet my husband and daughter in the ER.

This whole situation helped me appreciate having a team that I trust, and the processes and systems we have in place. It also confirmed that prerecorded presentations are the way to go!

I also learned that it’s okay to let some things go. For example:

  • I skipped the evening wrap-up email about Day 2’s presentations. I wasn’t going to sit in the hospital and write the email, so I just dropped it, and never started it again.
  • I also stopped doing morning-of live videos like I had done on Days 1 and 2 to introduce the day’s topic and presentation.

Another big takeaway from that day was how important it is to have a backup plan in place. And I learned that again on Day 4, but we’ll get to that in a minute!

Kate, how did it go without me?

Kate’s Point of View

Honestly, it went just fine! Because of the systems we have in place, and everything being prerecorded, I just had to pick up a few extra tasks. I was already in the chats, community, and inboxes, so I just checked in and interacted even more.

Day Three

Day 3 was quite similar to Days 1 and 2. The chats were busy and engaging more in the mornings than the afternoons and otherwise, things seemed pretty stable.

Kate, did you note anything different about Day 3?

Kate’s Point of View

We started to get more customer support emails on Day 3. For the summit this year, we tried allowing free access to the presentations for 48 hours instead of the typical 24 hours. This was well-received except that some people were confused by when the presentations expired.

Despite trying to be clear when we said presentations were released at 7am each day, and that the speakers were live in their chat at the scheduled times, some attendees thought the time listed was when the presentation went live, thus the 48 hours should have expired based on that time.  

Other than that, it was the same as the previous two days.

Day Four

Up until this point, we thought that Day 2 was going to be the interesting day of the week.

Little did we know, it was not!

Day 4 got extra interesting when I got sick overnight and was too sick to get out of bed by the time presentations were starting in the morning. I don’t think I’ve ever been this sick!

Thankfully, I have an incredible team, solid processes, and speakers and sponsors who I can fully trust. That morning, I let Kate know I was going to be out and had another team member, Elli, offer to run the Facebook Live session with a sponsor at noon. Honestly, she did a better job than I would have!

Another tricky situation was in the evening, a sponsor was going to lead a live focus session. I just let her know that I couldn’t be there, she made her own Zoom link, and we updated all the links on our pages and emails to her link so she could lead it on her own.

Kate, were you worried I wasn’t there?

Kate’s Point of View

I wasn’t worried at all! I knew I could handle whatever happened that day. Because I had done all the notes and worksheets and watched each presentation, I knew enough to answer some basic questions that came up in the chats. I also figured if the inbox exploded then everyone could wait for 24 hours! My only concern was making sure the tech stayed working and people could see the presentations. Everything else could wait.

But nothing broke!

It was a great day with lots of engagement which I think was partly because of the topics all revolving around making a profit and we had a stacked speaker lineup.

Day Five

There was nothing extra special about Day 5. The chats were busy in the first few sessions but really tapered off as the day went on. I think attendees were tired and done. I think I said this in my review of my summit last year, but I think 5 full days is just too long. After seeing the trends this year, I think we’ve decided a 3 to 4-day morning-only summit is the way to go!

Kate, how did the last day go for you?

Kate’s Point of View

It was pretty quiet, overall. The morning chats were a bit busier, and the afternoon chats just died out and no one came to the last one. I felt bad for the speakers who showed up, but sometimes that’s just how it plays out with summits.

It was nice to have such a great response from speakers and attendees. The week was very enjoyable and even though you had to be hands-off more than you would have liked, I never felt “ditched”.

What You Can Expect

This was a wild week for me! Having solid systems and a great team meant that I could run a summit and go about my daily life, but I would not have wanted to do it this way if it was a summit for Summit in a Box. If I ran a summit for this business, I’d need to show up and build relationships with speakers and attendees because I’d be using it to launch on the backend to grow our business.

I felt detached from this summit because I don’t do anything with this business anymore, which tells me it’s time to stop running this summit. I know I said the same thing in my March 2021 wrap-up, but it's time. 

And I know we said inboxes were quiet this year, but do not expect your inbox to be quiet. It seems that no matter how many times and how many ways you tell someone the same thing, they always email and ask the same questions and keep your inbox full and busy.

About Kate

Kate is Executive Assistant and Operations Lead at Summit in a Box®. With a background in education, she uses her love of people and systems to help Krista keep the boat afloat, and loves every minute of it. You can find her working while on the run with her boys, at their cabin "up north", and sometimes from her desk! 



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