“Virtually Speaking” – Today’s New Normal to Live Events by Alec Stern

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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and our need to shelter in place, live, in-person business conferences, summits, and events have come to a screeching halt.  While today’s circumstances are challenging, they present a big opportunity and can inspire event promoters and hosts to get creative in how they continue to build their communities, increase engagement and deliver event

Imagine being able to amplify your message and share your wisdom from the comfort of your own home.  Imagine, as a speaker, being able to expand your reach to events you may have had to turn down in the past because you could not be in two places at once.  Imagine no travel hassles, better time management, increased efficiency, and a huge expansion of opportunity.  

Virtually speaking, prior to COVID-19, I experienced firsthand many hosts’ resistance to holding meetups and events virtually.  Today, hosts’ and promoters’ eyes are now open to the possibilities of how virtual events can expand communities during this pause with in-person events and going forward.  While there is some stress that goes along with organizing a virtual event, like managing the marketing and promotion, exposing the before, during and after on social media and figuring out the right technology (Zoom, StreamYard, Remo Conference and more), it is far easier and less expensive than the planning, marketing efforts, host team assembly, setup and teardown of any live-person event.  

Virtual events allow you to engage with your community and followers more frequently and allow attendees to participate on their time with the option of attending the live event or watching the recorded and shared versions at their leisure.  As a host, you can grow your audience by encouraging attendees to host watch parties and to share the event links both live and after the event.  You can change up the format of your event for example, instead of everyone delivering a talk, you can do a Q&A or a panel and invite others to comment and engage with a speaker.   You can test out new, up-and-coming speakers that you may consider for future in-person events.  You can include some great emcees to make your virtual event fun and engaging, and delight attendees with last-minute surprise speakers.  You can also pull attendees into the broadcast to speak or share their comments in real-time.  You can share videos and add other creative content to mix things up.  The sky’s the limit, and these are just a few of the ways to level up  your virtual events.

As a motivational speaker and thought leader, I was personally thrown for a bit of a loop, given that I had been spending over one third of my time speaking at in-person events all over the world.  As an extrovert and a people person, I thought, how will I be able to handle zero face to face time with my fellow speakers, interesting hosts, amazing event staff, and of course, the inspiring attendees.  With many years of speaking at some of the top ranked events in the country and my recent foray into some exciting Worldwide speaking engagements, I was concerned my momentum could suddenly stall.  But over these past few months, I have been a keynote or speaker for previously live events that have transitioned very successfully into virtual events including: Secret Knock, CovAID Business Festival, Habitude Warrior Global Virtual Summit, eZWay Wall of Fame Virtual Summit, The Stimulus Summit, 

The Conscious Entrepreneur Mastery Summit, Ignite Your Power from Within, and Dominate the Decade.  I have also participated in several great Podcasts like: The James Dentley Show, Millionaires in Training, Baby Got Backstory, In Your Mind, The eZWay Show, Success To Significance, Daniel Gomez Inspires, Network of Influence, The Buildify Method and, Angels, Exits, and Acquisitions. This list plus many others is literally magnitudes more than I could ever do if they were in-person events.

One of my personal takeaways as a keynote speaker is how I have had the opportunity to share more of my story beyond starting and scaling businesses.  I have found that these virtual summits and events create a space to open up and be a bit more vulnerable, sharing stories about the personal side of my life that resonate with audiences.  Some of the new topics I have covered are talking about what made me who I am today, sharing my backstory and how I’ve tackled personal obstacles.  This has allowed me to have a more personal and authentic connection with audiences.  

In closing, I’m willing to bet that virtual events are here to stay.  I believe they will remain in the mix even when in-person events resume.  This means the time and effort you put into creating, hosting, attending or presenting today is time well spent as your learning and experiences will be the foundation of the virtual events of the future.

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