10 lessons from running our first virtual summit

- October 20, 2019 3 MIN READ

As with anything, when you are doing new things in a short period of time you learn what you should have done instead or had pre-prepared. So here it is…

In case you didn’t know over at Big Ideas Rural we ran our very first Virtual Summit for International Rural Women’s Day. What a better way to celebrate Rural Women’s day than by holding an event that anyone, any where could join in on. After all one of our biggest set backs living in rural and remote areas is the isolation and km to get to… well anywhere.

A little background before we share with you the 10 things we have learnt from our first Live Virtual Summit.

Tori and I live on the opposite sides of Australia we came together when Tori reached out to collaborate. This resulted in a Mini Marketing Series which turned into partnership in Big Ideas Rural. in 6 weeks we have launched a new business, an e-course and now a virtual summit. It has been a whirlwind e-business romance and we love it! We are so excited for all our future plans and the happenings now within our membership. We even have plans to catch up in person early next year.

But as with anything, when you are doing new things in a short period of time you learn what you should have done instead or had pre prapared. So here it is…

1. Start early

Look, we’ll be honest, Big Ideas Rural was born at the start of September. We managed to build and launch an entire course before we even began work on the summit. We’ll be starting early next time. Spoiler alert. We’re already working on our next one (won’t be happening for a while!) it’s going to be BIG.

2. Have a backup plan

Were you online live for the first 10 minutes when the audio to one of our presentations straight up wasn’t working? We had no plan B. Next time we will have a plan B and a plan C.

3.  Testing doesn’t always work

We tested the tech to avoid any issues when we were live. And yet we still had a hiccup with our first presentation! See point 2 about having a plan B.

4. Google and fast thinking is your friend

Something not going to plan? Jump into Google someone smarter than you has already thought of it. Not going to lie, Google saved our first speaking slot yesterday.

5. Record in two places

There might be a massive freak dust storm and the only file of the summit might be stuck on a desktop surrounded by the freak storm. Next time we will be recording and storing directly to the cloud- in two different platforms. We never want to put ourselves (mostly Sam) through that pressure again. Massive apologies to everyone for the delay to gain access to the post event files! We’ve lived and we’ve learned.

6. Tag team or call in backup

Not gonna lie. It was a big day for us. We think next time we’ll either tag team introductions and follow ups or call in additional co hosts. It required a lot of energy of both of us to show up and host for four hours. But we were SO happy with the result. We need to figure out how to have the same result, without being quite so draining. We both felt we needed a nap. But then major tech issues ensued- see points 1,2,5 so you can relax after your summit.

7. You guys rock

You guys made us yearly when over half of the registered attendees were there live at kick off time. Thank you so much. You made our vision of connecting and celebrating rural women come true!

8. Pick amazing speakers 

The four speakers we had set the bar very high for all future summits. But we are stoked at the high level of inspiration delivered by our speakers for our first speakers. So extra special thanks to Megan Woodward, Chantel McAlister, Hayley Dawson amd Peace Mitchell. You ladies literally made our summit what it was.

9. Breaks are a good thing

We’re going to build in slightly longer breaks for our next summit. We had structured activities during the breaks so everyone could connect in some way- but some of the breaks were only long enough to pop the kettle on.

10. Throw your heart into it

Have a vision? Don’t let the tech stop you. Don’t be intimidated by circumstance. Anything is possible. This is our mantra for Big Ideas Rural- we throw our hearts into every bit that we do. And we promise to keep doing it.

This post was written by founder of The Rural Compass podcast and co-founder of Big Ideas Rural, Samantha Meurant on LinkedIn and republished here with permission.