Bring Your Company's Brand To Life With Events
In-Person Networking is Key - Check Out These Tips
Building your company's in-person network with events is more important than ever before. Not only are you forging personal connections with current and prospective clients, but attendees get to do more than just read your logo or motto—they're given an opportunity to interact with you, and your company's culture firsthand.
We sat down with Tracy Candido, Director of Programs at Lower Manhattan Headquarters (LMHQ) - a community, meeting, and events space in NYC, and asked her questions about hosting events and how to grow brand loyalty while showing the human side of your company.
With 15 years of experience building creative programs and events for brands to tell their story, communicate their values, and open hearts and minds, Tracy understands the true power of a great event! Not just that, but Tracy is also the Founder of Lady Boss, a platform invested in gender equality at work and exploring what a feminist workplace might look like. Knowing all that, we were certain that Tracy would be a wonderful expert for a PowerToFly Lunch & Learn! :)
If you continue to read below, we've provided a short yet informative recap of our chat with Tracy. If you are interested in attending future virtual chats with successful experts like Tracy, click here to become a PowerToFly VIP and join our community of women here to empower one another.
Why are events important?
Tracy Candido: Most businesses would really benefit from having an in-person network, and by that I mean people who become evangelists of your brand and your company because they admire you. Events are a great way to humanize your brand and bring it into a physical space. They are also great for building brand awareness and brand positioning. In addition to your website, your online presence and your social voice, your in-person presence has the most impact.
Events can also be used for content. For example, you can build out online extensions, such as webinars, articles, and op-eds, from your events. Events are wonderful, ripe moments for content.
Finally, events can also help build your pipeline. RSVPs are a really great way to collect user data. Whether that's just email addresses, demographic information, or information about what people want from a product, they are all crucial bits to help you grow your business.
Plan The Who, What, When, Where, and Why Of Your Event
TC: Events need a space, people, and content. For me, I think events mirror your business and your business goals. By that I mean that when you build a business, you're trying to solve a problem for a certain group of people - so when you're starting to build an event, you want to really go after that target market. Once you understand who the people are that you're creating this event for, then you should decide on a venue. A lot of people ask me how much they should pay for a venue, and my suggestion is to really get familiar with venues that are either free or low cost (they're out there!). Time and date are also important - if you're target market is working parents, then 5pm on a Monday may be tough to swing. Remember, your event should really do at least one of the following things: educate, inspire, or connect your audience. Similar to solving a problem with your business, with an event, you're also solving a problem. Give people a reason to be there.
Don't Focus On Swag
TC: You don't need the swag. People spend so much money on swag, and I really don't think you need it. I have this phrase that I use all the time which is, "small experiment with radical intent". With events, this means you should be starting off really small, without extreme expectations, and growing with time and experience. Start within your network and invite people that you already know - make it easy for yourself! You should be spending the most time and resources thinking about what you're presenting and why. My opinion is that you should (1) be basic without trying to reinvent the wheel and (2) try not to regurgitate the same topics that other people are doing. Make your event stand out because of the content, not the swag.
What determines a successful event?
TC: You set the metrics for success for your event - think about your business goals and be clear about those goals. I also believe there are hard and soft metrics when holding events, and for me, a soft metric is always positive feedback. A hard metric that we set for ourselves is to continue growing our mailing list - but there are ever changing soft metrics that help us get there. At the end of the day, there are so many events, that regardless of "metrics", it's always a good feeling knowing that of all of the events being offered - these people chose to go to yours... so celebrate!
It's been six years since Sarah Cooper graced us with her 10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. But how on earth can we appear smart in our new virtual world, in which for many of us, going to work is just sitting in one long series of probably-not-necessary Zoom meetings?
1. Dial in.<p>Dialing in rather than joining via the link instantly boosts your credibility. Who calls into Zoom meetings? People who are still busy and important enough to be leaving their houses! But you needn't actually be one of those people, or even more than a foot away from your computer to pull off this maneuver. (Remember, this article is called *seeming* smart, not being smart.)</p><p><strong></strong><em>Bonus: </em>If it's a large meeting at which attendance will be taken, the person running the meeting will inevitably ask, "Who's calling in from 443-322-2121?" That's when you raise your metaphorical hand, jump off mute, and say "[Your name] here. Really looking forward to hearing your perspective on [meeting topic]." And voila! You've stolen the meeting spotlight.</p>
2. Don't come on camera—ever.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODU5OS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNjMwNjI3OX0.4fLyq2CvkZAJ7n_03esZepY37mOdyGdDdTEUYt5XEU0/img.png?width=980" id="bc7e6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fbbf21cc5d8c863b30654ae6993b04f5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p><br></p><p>Much like the "dial in," this technique works because it makes you appear aloof. If <em>The Crown has </em>taught me anything, it's that the key to maintaining a sense of mystique and prestige is to keep people at arm's length—and if you absolutely <em>must</em> touch them, wear a glove.</p>
3. Only communicate via chat.<p>Once you've mastered the art of staying off camera, you can level up by communicating exclusively via the chat box. Don't come off mute at all, even if the speaker asks your opinion. You are the elusive chatter and you will not be forced into actually participating in said meeting.</p>
4. Ask to share your screen.<p>Being aloof is great, but it's all about balance. Sprinkling in some active participation will really shock and impress your colleagues if you catch them off guard, so save this technique for when you've strategically <em>not </em>participated in a string of meetings.</p><p>Spend a few minutes prior to the meeting prepping a few inspirational slides with words like "synergy," "optimization," and "redefining 'culture'", or spend a few minutes poking around in Google Analytics. </p><p>Then wait for the opportune moment to say, "Can I just share my screen for a moment? I have some really interesting data I'd like to share...." and BAM — brilliance established.</p>
5. Show off your Zoom-saviness.<p>Try saying, "You know you can mute people, right?" to the host when they beg whoever's got the lawn mower and crying baby in the background to put themselves on mute for the nth time.<br></p>
6. Create an alter ego.<p>This tactic requires commitment, but the pay off is certainly worth it. Join the Zoom meeting from your normal account + name, and then join it again on a second device from an alias. Have your alter-ego ask some probing or stat-based questions in the chat and have the answers ready ahead of time. It should work something like this:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>Your alter ego Charlene</strong><strong>:</strong> "Does anyone know what percentage conversion rates increased by in Q2?"</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>Real you</strong>: *doesn't miss a beat* "It looks like Charlene has a question in the chat. That would be 36%."</p><div>Never mind that no one on your team knows who Charlene is or why she's at this meeting, they'll be too blown away by your brilliance to notice. (Bonus points if you use this strategy in conjunction with techniques 1, 2, 3 or 4!)</div>
7. Place an obscure object in your background that exudes intelligence.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODYxOC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNzk5Njg2Mn0.V9_-3Ij3v_QndseqlrXRt5Nn39EJ97-itjls5zzYPf8/img.png?width=980" id="a369d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="604a2f04b53c2e3bc801bfa5256f367b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p><br></p><p>We're talking a telescope, or perhaps a hardcover copy of <em>War & Peace </em>(no one need know that its only purpose in your life is as a makeshift yoga block).</p><p>If you don't have any suitable props at your disposal, do not despair: download some screenshots of Sheldon's apartment from <em>Big Bang Theory </em>or the chalkboard in <em>Good Will Hunting </em>and use those as a virtual background.</p>
8. Ask "Is this really the best course of action given the current climate?"<p>Economic collapse, COVID, racism… No need to specify whether you're referring to one or all of the above; just sit back and watch your boss squirm amidst the ambiguity.</p><p>This strategy pairs very well with techniques 2 and 3. You can prep additional vague-but-probing questions ahead of time and pepper them into the chat box throughout the meeting:</p><ul><li>How will this scale?</li><li>Do we really have the bandwidth for this right now?</li><li>What's the value-add here?</li></ul>
9. Remind everyone that you have a paid Zoom account.<p>"Oh, it looks like we're getting the 40-minute warning. I have a paid account, do you want to switch to my room?" It's helpful, with just a touch of condescension. Everyone knows condescending people are smart. And everyone knows that people with paid Zoom accounts are super important.</p>
10. Tell everyone you have a hard stop.<p>When pressed for details, share your philosophy on "work-from-home" balance and how committed you are to getting up once an hour to walk to your refrigerator.</p>
11. Ask the screensharer/host to "pull something up" for everyone.<p>Ask the presenter to navigate to a screen that only you know how to navigate well. Laugh maniacally while they suffer from crippling performance anxiety. Let them struggle for as long as is tolerable before saying, "Oh you know what? I can just share my screen if you want. That would probably be easier." BAM you're the hero. Don't worry, no one will even pause to consider that you could have proposed this course of action from the start.</p>
12. Say Zoom fatigue as many times as possible.<p>If you're too tired to employ any of the other strategies, just say "I know everyone is experiencing a lot of Zoom fatigue, so we can keep this meeting short." Then hang up as quickly as possible. Meeting averted! </p><p>After all, there's no better way to demonstrate your intelligence in a virtual meeting than to demonstrate why it wasn't really necessary in the first place. </p>
I sat in front of my CEO to discuss several complaints of racism. I was new to my role as a Culture Director. I was nervous about his reaction to the complaints. But I also knew he strongly supported developing this new department; I knew that he would take the right steps. So I was shocked when I heard him say sheepishly, "I don't know, Noelle...all of this stuff about racism. I just don't see it. I don't even see color. I'm pretty much color blind."
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