By Chris Caffrey, the founder of The Legacy Club, a virtual private members club for entrepreneurs, directors, and owners of disruptive businesses.
From San Francisco to Shanghai there is a common challenge we are all facing right now. That challenge has restricted contact, curtailed travel and almost derailed our economies. COVID 19 may have stopped us from meeting in person over the last 12 months, but what it has accelerated, is the need for technology to connect, discuss and learn.
We have also seen an international togetherness that has expanded horizons, not just on a personal level, but commercially. One such company that has seen a meteoric trajectory is Hopin, a London based “Startup” that launched less than 2 years ago and has since raised $125M, and been valued at $2.1B. Hopin and similar platforms brought international communities together in a way that others could only dream of. Of course, the content of the call or the virtual event was important, but platforms like Hopin & Airmeet allowed users to engage and more importantly “get what they came for”.
Where the technology is concerned, you either embraced it and did your best to stay connected, or you called it a phase, and said it won’t last. There are arguments for both, but the latter is the wishful thinking of those need that face-to-face be successful at what they do.
When I think about those old school ways that the city bankers and insurance brokers would have ordinarily done their business, in a pub, or fancy restaurant, giving the company card a good thrashing, I think to myself…what are those people doing now? Have they embraced the tech and taken their deals online, or are they now part of the growing collateral damage lists the pandemic is responsible for?
There is one thing that has stood out the most during this crisis, and that is the desire to learn from international peers and connections.
What does “Community” mean to you?
- “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common”.
- “the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common”.
I choose B every time, and maybe that’s the common difference between the tech evangelists and the ones standing by the fax machine.
We have a very unique opportunity to make new connections, create new partnerships and grow as humans. 2019’s Community has now become 2021’s Audience and we’ve established we have the tools (Platforms), and now have the audience. The most difficult bit is to knit those elements together and create and engaged and willing community.
More often than not, you are your own target audience so ask yourself what you would like to discuss, what topics make you tick and keep you wanting more?
Acid test your subject matter with smaller groups and ask for feedback. I know it’s a cliché, but feedback really is a gift. Without it you will never know how your content is landing.
Empower your community. Ask them what they want to know, or where they feel the gaps are for them personally, that way you are giving them the most important thing, value. This needs to happen often to maintain a consistent level of engagement.
We may believe that we have more time than ever on our hands as we are mostly working from home, but actually the statistics show that we are working 1.5 more hours per day than we would from the office. With that in mind, shorter, impactful and slide free content is a good place to start.
You can become more adventurous with your presentation as you become more comfortable with tech capabilities. Ensure you topics and subjects make sense and resonate with an international audience. There is no point discussing the replacing of the local church roof when you are speaking to Karen in Pittsburgh. Also look to find your niche, go with topics you can be an authority on, or at least pick-up guests’ speakers that are.
None of us are experts in every field, but it helps to have a supporting cast that are as international as your viewers are and can help you bring everyone together for a common discussion. I firmly believe this is just the start and international communities of learning will play a key role in the development of the founders of the future.
Don’t cancel your platform subscriptions just yet, in-fact, considering upgrading. There is whole world out there, waiting for you to unmute the microphone and turn your camera on.