Izzy - Naya is truly the best!! Question for you Naya: What has been the most fun aspect of managing events? What has been the most challenging?
Thanks Izzy! You being the best at what you do makes it easy for me to give my best :)
But the most fun aspect of managing events is two-fold for me: 1. I get to learn tons of new information and meet new people and as an avid learner, I really enjoy that! 2. I love getting to amplify and uplift new speakers in the community space!
The most challenging aspect of managing events is keeping people engaged and attentive virtually, especially 2 years into staring at our screens, but I've found that keeping topics and speaker lineups fresh and relevant, investing in your background (background music, clear and clean backgrounds), and giving the audience the opportunity to engage via Q&A, polls, etc. can go a long way!
Max - Thanks for doing this Naya! What advice would you give to other community managers who might be in charge of throwing events even if it isn't their specialty?
Max, this is a great question! I would say:
1. Remain curious— the event landscape, especially virtually, is constantly changing so keep asking questions, viewing product demos, and staying up to date on who and what is trending in the industry!
2. Engage your community throughout the event — a relevant poll to open & close the event or live Q&A or town halls to figure out what's relevant to your community.
3. Stay organized and include your team — I mostly use Asana to stay on tops of tasks related to the planning and execution of events and I add relevant team members so that they can support your efforts or contribute ideas!
4. Keep it simple — less is more when you're getting started with managing events! Quality content is most important — you don't need the flashiest platform or the most notorious speaker to get people engaged and excited!
Alan - Naya, one question I have is: how do you decide and prioritize which events to run? Do you group them into themes and run events as a series over a month? Or do you find individual events perform better?
Alan, thanks for this question!
Generally speaking, I do try to group events into monthly and/or quarterly themes as a sort of “Plan A”, but I always try to keep an ear to the ground in order to deliver events that are relevant to what our community members need! I frequently leverage my team members as well—both in terms of finding out what's relevant to them as Community Managers/frequent collaborators of Community Managers themselves, but also to find out what questions or concerns they may be privy to that I'm not.
Metrics of success can vary from event to event so it's difficult to say which perform better, but I will say that we've most often met our goals with events that were relevant to current problem/challenges experienced by our community and events that we built with our community (i.e. inviting community members to speak at events, hosting casual hangouts, Book Club discussions). Our communities have a ton to learn from these events, but they also have a ton to offer!
I'll leave you with a quote that someone recently shared with me, “What the student and the expert have in common, is that they're both still learning.”I've found it mutually beneficial when events create opportunities for and empower community members to be both a student and an expert!