Addressing Unconscious Social Bias within the Association Community: A Unique Livestream Event

Addressing Unconscious Social Bias within the Association Community: A Unique Livestream Event

When organizations consider holding a livestream program from a place based conference or a completely virtual event, a common question asked is, what content will be compelling enough to get people to pay attention?

 

 

 

 

Click to view the livestream.

Several weeks ago CommPartners was asked to livestream a session for the Council of Manufacturing Associations (CMA) in cooperation with the American Society of Association Executives titled: Unconscious Bias: An Association’s Role in Social Issues. The program originated from CMA’s Winter Leadership Conference that took place at the Four Seasons in Baltimore, MD, on Friday January 11, 2019. The archive of that event can be accessed here.

Of all the possible topics to livestream, CMA chose this subject because they knew, organizations are wrestling with their role in today’s political and social discourse. It’s a topic that transcends professional development training and presents an opportunity for community conversation and engagement. CommPartners’ role was to bring this session to the remote audience and to make them feel as if they were onsite and provide opportunities to share thoughts and ideas.

Taking risks and considering alternative formats for livestream programs can position your organization to extend your reach and impact. It can place you at the center of important conversations we are all having.

As a result of using the livestream format for a more personal and compelling topic, CMA was able to realize five key benefits:

  1. They greatly increased their profile to individuals and groups who otherwise would not be aware or involved with the CMA.
  2. Attending an onsite conference is expensive. By offering a session like this one, they were more inclusive and recognized the importance of reaching out to those who could not afford to attend or didn’t have the ability to travel or leave their homes or offices.
  3. CMA, along with ASAE took the lead in forging the conversation around hidden social bias. They showed who they are and what they are about by addressing the topic in public way. This showed is pays to be bold.
  4. This was a session from the heart. Online attendees were touched by the format and conversation.
  5. The session used a dramatic delivery that worked well to engage those in the room as well as those online. You had to walk away with a wow feeling as you watched the event. It’s the type of session that creates interest and a positive feeling about the host organization. If you are a member, it solidified your feelings about your investment. If you aren’t a member and this was your first experience, you had to walk away impressed.

This program was a collaboration between CommPartners, Council of Manufacturing Associations and the American Society of Association Executives. It was an important topic that has relevance to the greater association community.  As the production company, we were proud to help extend the reach of this session to online viewers around the country.

For additional information about CommPartners Elevate platform integrated with Higher Logic Communities, contact Meghan Gowen at mgowen@commpartners.com

CommPartners Year in Review

CommPartners Year in Review

As 2018 winds down, all of us at CommPartners want to express our gratitude to our clients, partners and extended community for your collaboration and friendship over the past year.  This was our 25th year in business.   Where has the time gone?  It’s been fun to look back and see how technology and online learning has changed and how our company and all of us individually have evolved.  We’re proud of our history and our evolution as an organization. We feel fortunate to work with so many wonderful clients over many years. These relationships make our jobs so enjoyable and rewarding. We are extremely blessed!

Recently Barbara Bouton, Vice President, Professional Development from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association provided us the following quote:

I truly think CommPartners is the best company I’ve had the privilege to work with in my career. I value each of you and am proud of the work we’ve accomplished together – especially the innovations!

What Barbara said reinforced our sense that what’s most important is the relationship between our team and our client’s staff and the commitment to stick together to seize opportunities and meet whatever challenges arise.

So as we celebrate 2018, we take pride in our clients’ success and all you have accomplished through your education initiatives.

The Year’s Highlights

  •  We celebrated five years since Elevate LMS was developed. It takes this period of time for a SaaS solution to fulfill the promise you envision when it’s first created.  This year we experienced over 100% growth in new client placements.  We are thrilled to welcome so many new organizations into the CP Family.
  • We had our first user conference in 2018 that occurred in the spring in Washington DC. The conference included keynote and breakout sessions, trainings, one on one consultation and exhibits. Thank you to our presenters, partners and attendees for making this event a success.
  • We established our Advisory Board to receive feedback on new ideas and development and provide clients an active voice as we move forward.
  • We created a new administrative portal in Elevate that makes creating, managing and tracking education programs simple, fast and convenient. Our team was determined to support our clients with the most intuitive and user friendly admin available.
  • EventCenter our proprietary webcast software was redeveloped with a new design, attendance checks, interactive features, high quality VOIP and enhanced multimedia.
  • Our Higher Logic Partnership continued to evolve allowing our mutual clients to bring together community and learning in a unified presence. We are now building the next generation of our integration to support further engagement and bring together content from thought leaders and peer sharing of ideas.
  • We established a partnership with BadgeCert to seamlessly provide and assign digital badges from learning activities in Elevate. We feel this will be an important to benefit to our clients as they incorporate digital credentials into their education offerings.
  • The National Credentialing Institute was unveiled by our friends at Limitless Association Resources. CommPartners will be hosting this new site which is created to provide associations with assessment-based, professional development based on industry best practice for current and emerging industry professionals.
  • We created our own community called CommPartners Connect. It supports the opportunity to collaborate around important topics in online learning and events.
  • We welcomed five new staff members to the CP Team.

CommPartners’ first client 25 years was the National Association of Home Builders. This year NAHB selected CommPartners and our Elevate platform for their LMS.   We’re grateful to reestablish our partnership with NAHB and all of our clients who continued to depend on us to support their online learning and events.

May each of you be blessed with good health and happiness in the New Year.

 

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6 Tips and Tricks for Creating a Webinar That Sells

6 Tips and Tricks for Creating a Webinar That Sells

Guest blog by our partners at  WebMechanix

Creating a webinar that sells is one of the best ways to generate revenue online. There’s no better way to get in front of your target audience and wow them.

So, are you sure you’re fully optimizing your webinars for conversion? The truth is everything from promotional emails, to how you hook attendance, to how you present your offer ultimately affects your sales.

After extensively researching webcast and webinar best practices, and drawing from our own experience, we have found some powerful ways to optimize webinar sales.

Today, we’re sharing the top six webinar tips and tricks that have the highest impact on the bottom line.

The class is in session…

1. Prepare and Practice

WebMechanix marketing manager, Clare French, has conducted countless webinars over the years. She highly recommends making sure you plan and practice beforehand.

You’ll want to outline the marketing automation plan for your webinar follow-up process early. Nail down the dates you’ll have your slides and other content emailed to your attendees, and have your sales and support teams follow up personally with prospects and customers afterward.

Many platforms have a practice mode for presenters to sync up just before the event starts. Taking a few minutes to make sure everyone is on the same page about the technical set-up and behind-the-scenes communication is invaluable to the attendee experience. There’s nothing worse than a presenter fumbling through the presentation because they don’t know the basics of the tool.

Schedule at least one practice run 3-5 business days before the event. Doing it earlier allows more time to make changes and regroup once more if needed.

Always give “housekeeping” tips at the start of a webinar to let attendees know how to communicate with the presenters. These tips should set the precedence for when questions are answered (in the moment versus at the end), and gives you the opportunity to set expectations about following up with attendees.

2. Use Organic (and Paid) Social Promotion Beforehand

Your webinar is a one-time, live online event. It’s powerful because you get to interact live with your audience. Squeeze all the juice out of it by filling as many seats as you can.

When it comes to webinar promotion best practices, be sure to get all the presenters and partners to promote the webinar on their social and professional profiles beforehand. Also, if you have the budget, use paid ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Instagram.

3. The Magic is in the Q&A

Out of our six webinar marketing tips, this simple tweak may yield the most to your bottom line.

Make sure you answer attendee questions and interact with them during your webinar. That’s the beauty of a live event. Otherwise, you may as well do a pre-recorded presentation.

Tim Paige of LeadPages, world record holder for most webinars conducted, tripled revenue and increased attendee stick rate, the percentage of the event an attendee stays, to an impressive 98%. He did so with one tweak: answering questions during the presentation rather than at the end.

When answering questions, keep it natural. Make sure you don’t destroy the flow. Answer a handful of questions at regular intervals during your webinar. Mention the inquirer’s name and the question out loud before you answer to re-engage attendees.

4. Measure Yourself Against Benchmarks

Webinar engagement metrics (based on CommPartners clients) typically look like:

  • 50% attendance rate for free events; 65-75% for paid or credit events
  • 75-80% participate in polls
  • 5-10% participate in the chat
  • 50-60% download presentation slides

By using benchmarks, you can effectively gauge the success of your webinar optimizations. If your live events aren’t performing as well as you’d hope, benchmarks can help you can identify potential issues and adjust. Stats can give great insight into how you can improve your webinar engagement and stick rate. For example, considering using emoticons and interactive behavior to help with stick rate.

5. Provide a Real Phone Number

At the end of your webinar, offer a number for people to call with questions. You often can’t answer everything on the presentation and prospects may only think of a good question after it’s over.

Russell Brunson, the founder of an eight-figure SaaS company, was already implementing a ton of webinar tips and tricks. Then, he tried something new that increased webinar sales by 25%. At the end of his webinars, he offered a Google Voice phone number to call and leave questions — and he called everyone back with an answer.

If you have call center capacity, consider experimenting with a live phone number to answer questions immediately. There’s a reason why infomercials do this: it works. Creating a webinar that sells depends as much on the quality of the follow-up process as the event itself.

6. Double Down on What’s Working

After you have a few webinars under your belt, you’ll notice specific parts of the process that catapult results and others that peter out. To sculpt the perfect webinar, double down on what’s working.

If storytelling balloons attendance, duration, and sales conversion, do it more often. If sending three emails instead of four before the event leads to more attendees, send three. If a tweak to your Facebook ad doubles conversion rate, scale up your ad budget.

This tip may sound more like common sense than an effective webinar tip, but common sense isn’t always so common. With all the moving parts to hosting a webinar, it’s easy to forget about doing more of what’s working when there’s so much to juggle.

Every part of the process has room for optimization.

Pro Tip: If you change your Facebook ad creative to focus on the solution you offer rather than your personal branding and face, it performs better with a cold audience. Your face doesn’t convert as well because they don’t know who you are yet.

Conclusion

By implementing these six webinar tips and tricks, you’ll see higher attendance, more engagement, and a more extended attendee stick rate. And all of these tactics together help you create a webinar that sells.

Since webinars can get confusing with all the moving pieces, focus on these fundamentals, and you’ll be on your way to a sales-optimized webinar process with a lot less headache.

What’s your favorite part of a webinar?

As a webinar production company, CommPartners has over 25 years of experience providing webinar and webcast hosting services to clients. If you’re looking for someone to host your webcast, or need general help with webinar management,  fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (800) 274-9390 to see how we can help.

Insights From Our Initial Peak User Conference

Insights From Our Initial Peak User Conference

A year ago we made the decision to host our first User Conference.  Since this was our initial event, we had some trepidation about whether our community would embrace the opportunity to join us for several days of education, training and networking.  Our decision to move forward was quickly validated as we reached the maximum number of attendees we could accommodate in the venue.

When the first day of the conference arrived, we were excited to see in-person the people we interact with on a daily basis.  As I began the initial welcome, I mentioned to the group that this felt more like a social function as opposed to a business event.  There was a warm feeling that comes when relationships evolve over time and there is continuity of working with the same team to share opportunities and solve problems.  For our team, this conference was an important barometer of where we stand.  It’s one thing to have one on one interactions, however it’s an entirely different situation to see many of your clients in one setting. We feel extremely blessed to have had this opportunity.

There are three insights that we walked away with from the event:

Click to view photos from Peak 2018.

  • We have a vibrant community that has evolved organically with us over a long period of time. There are no shortcuts in getting to this point. CommPartners has an average employee tenure of 8 years with many staff being with us for 12 to 15 years.  At times, we don’t think about how important a factor this is in building close client relationships that lead to greater continuity and trust.  You could witness this in real time during the conference.
  • Peak served an important purpose of facilitating ideas and proving attendees practical applications they can implement today. One of the greatest benefits was the sharing of best practices and hearing how people in the same position overcome day to day challenges of managing professional development within their organizations. We realized we need to keep this conversation going and not wait until we meet again. Therefore, we launched a number of initiatives to give voice to our clients and allow for ongoing engagement. They include:
  • Elevate Advisory Board: This is a 13 member panel group made up of mostly clients to provide guidance and feedback on Elevate’s development, provide feedback on our services and share ideas with other Board members.
  • CommPartners Mastermind Groups: These groups bring clients together for 4 sessions to engage around topics of leadership, creative thinking and professional growth.
  • CP Connect Community: CP Connect is an online community. It will be launching shortly to continue the conversations and sharing of ideas that occurred at Peak.
  • CP Cares: We are expanding our altruistic initiatives to support those in need. We are hoping to involve our clients in these efforts.
  • We need to continuously come through for our community. You depend on us. This was evident through the passionate conversations that occurred at the conference.  We understand this responsibility.  In the coming year we have aggressive plans to bring innovation, additional resources and service enhancements to our clients. We’re excited about growing with you and helping you succeed.

If you have any additional feedback or thoughts about Peak or any other items, please contact me.

All the Best,

Rich Finstein

6 Webinar Presentation Tips On Preparing Your Webinar Speakers To Deliver Amazing Experiences

6 Webinar Presentation Tips On Preparing Your Webinar Speakers To Deliver Amazing Experiences

The truth is that all subject matter experts don’t always make great speakers. Additionally, some people can deliver a killer in-person presentation but fall short when presenting to a virtual audience. We’ve compiled a few webinar presentation tips that will help ensure that your webinar speakers are equipped to deliver an amazing and memorable presentation experience:

Our Top 6 Webinar Presentation Tips for Speakers

  1. Deliver on the expectations of the learner – provide solutions, education, and inspiration. Leave your attendees with key takeaways and action items. But be sure to make it entertaining – tell stories, speak to personal experiences, include video or bold imagery. Case studies or real-world scenarios also work really well to help illustrate points.
  2. Encourage speakers to have personality and add energy. It can sometimes be awkward when you have to present to your computer screen and you don’t have an in-person audience to infuse natural energy. Consider having another person in the room so the speaker feels like they are talking to an audience. Standing up to present (with the right headset to ensure audio quality) can also help ease a presenter who is more used to in-person events.
  3. Speak the language of your audience. When preparing your webinar presentation, know who is on the webinar – their role, industry, department, etc. If you have a varied audience, that is okay, but be sure to acknowledge that on the live webinar and set the expectation that some of the content may not be completely applicable. This is also a great way to encourage post-event follow-up if you are unable to address specific audiences.
  4. Remove the fear of presenting. Presenting can be scary and doesn’t always come naturally. Layer that with a presenter that isn’t all that tech savvy and we may have a recipe for disaster. Consider having another voice to help moderate and make the presenter more comfortable. Always have a training session on the technology before the live presentation to reduce fears about how the webinar platform works, or consider hiring an event production company so that presenters can simply focus on delivering content. Lastly, always do a thorough sound check – bad audio can ruin the best presentation.
  5. Create a slide deck that encourages engagement. The following list includes our favorite tips on how to prepare a webinar presentation slide deck that people will pay attention to:
    • Include polls, breaks for questions, or even encourage attendees to openly use the chat window to share ideas. If the speaker is comfortable they may even address some comments on the live webinar.
    • Know the flow of the presentation and your story.
    • The webinar should address ONE thing. Don’t try to cram too much into a webinar, you will lose your learner and will simply run out of time.
    • Avoid cobbling together a presentation from old decks – start with the narrative first, then build the presentation.
    • Leave time at the end for questions and conversation. This can be a great way to infuse the participants own personal experiences around the topic.
  6. Rehearse – but not too much! Know your narrative in and out, but don’t rehearse to the point that the delivery feels rigid. Rehearsing will also help boost the confidence of the presenter. Comfortable, interactive, and confident speakers top the list of how to ensure your next webinar will be a success.

Need Help Managing Your Webinars?

As a webinar production company, CommPartners has 25 years of experience helping to enhance and advance our clients webinars. We hope these webinar presentation tips will help your speakers deliver an outstanding and memorable learning experience! If you’re looking for someone to manage your webcasts, fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (800) 274-9390 to see how we can help.

Want to talk about how you can take your webinars to the next level? Explore our learning management system, Elevate. Give Meghan a call at 443.539.4851 or email mgowen@commpartners.com for more information.