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The Community Club Team
The Community Club Team

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What We Learned Hosting a Virtual Summit - Community Chat Weekly #31

Community Chat Weekly #31 - What We Learned Hosting The Community Chat Summit

Community Chat Weekly is a newsletter about building and growing communities, featuring collected tweets, posts and thoughts from various community managers.


What we learned hosting a virtual summit for 1,300+ attendees

Last week our team brought together over 1,300 of the world's top community builders from organizations like Twilio, Reddit, Zendesk,YCombinator, and On Deck, for a two-day, fully-virtual event.

Numerous people have since reached out and asked us what we did to make the event such a success. While it's always challenging to look back and precisely pinpoint why something went well – especially when many factors are at play – we've summarized some of our learnings and processes that went into making the summit a success.

💯 First, some numbers:

😎 We had 1,342 total RSVPs, of which 1,258 attended (93.7%!)

📣 Hosted 40 speakers across 26 different sessions, generating 13 total hours of live content

🤝 906 one-on-one connections were made via networking sessions

😅 And we put the event together on a shoestring budget, with just 3 team members running the entire thing!

Session recordings are available on YouTube, including this great session from Shana Sumers!

Plan, Plan and Then Plan Some More

The number one thing that we did that led to a successful event was over planning. Hosting a two day virtual event with 40 speakers requires a lot of work, and you want to account for as many expected and unexpected things as possible.

In the weeks leading up to the event we were in constant contact with our speakers, making sure they understood exactly what was expected of them and providing them with a speaker guide. You can find the speaker guide here. While it's specific to the platform we used, Hopin, you are free to use this as a starting point for your own speaker guide!

Set Specific Roles for Each Teammate

We ran this entire event with a small team of three — Jacob, Cole and myself. I primarily focused on the current speakers, the timing, and getting the next speaker live on time, while driving engagement via the chat and polls.

You likely saw Jacob in a number of sessions, as he held the role of emcee, moderating our fireside chats and panels. In addition to this, he made sure that speakers showed up to the virtual backstage at least 15 minutes before their scheduled time. Cole assisted Jacob with the speakers, while also finding quotes and snippets to share on Twitter, drawing new viewers into the event.

These clear cut roles allowed us to keep things manageable, enabling each of us to 'specialize' and focus on keeping our part running smoothly.

Rethink the 'Webinar'

Very few people actually want to watch your webinar, and even fewer want to watch 13 hours of webinars over the course of 2 days. Rethink the approach of having a talking head on camera for 45+ minutes — keep your sessions shorter and make them as interactive as possible.

We had four types of sessions –– fireside chats, panels, presentations, and networking –– making sure that no session lasted more than 30 minutes and also heavily encouraging all of our speakers to constantly interact with the chat and leave time for Q&A after they were done presenting.

Read the full post, with more thoughts and detail on our blog!


😥 Missed the Event?

We'll be releasing recordings of the great sessions over the coming weeks and some are already available for you to watch! Check them out on YouTube here.


🐦 Community Tweets

New community book alert!

How do you balance inclusivity and exclusivity in your community?

The community platform lifecycle ♻️

Is it even a community newsletter if it doesn't feature a tweet from David?


📝 Blog Posts

A handful of recommended readings from the past week.

How to build companies by building communities (2 min read)

Chatterbug Co-founder Preston-Werner explains how building open-source communities is a great way to create virality among developers.

10 things I learnt growing a paid community (Weekend Club) to $500 MRR (4 min read)

Charlie Ward shares 10 great things he learned building Weekend Club, from implementing community guidelines early, to gamification works, and creating more leaders.

How Entrepreneurs Can Build Product-Led Communities (13 min read)

Stephen Wemple of Spero Ventures shares incredible lessons from founders and community leaders who have built product-led communities. Learn from greats such as Laura Nestler, Rei Wang, Bailey Richardson and more!


🙌 Community Jobs

A new addition to the Community Chat Weekly newsletter, we're now featuring some of the best open jobs in community!

Community Manager @ Notion

Community Manager @ Catch Social

Community Engineer (Developer Relations) @ Dgraph Labs

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