3 Virtual Event Design Tips from Partnering with Team Simon Sinek
by Guest Contributor Donna Kastner
Often, the best discoveries come from hands-on-doing. Such was the case for discoveries gleaned from partnering with Team Simon Sinek to design and facilitate live online classes.
Before I go on, a little background on how this came to be…
About a year ago, I discovered live online classes offered by Simon Sinek. Most of these classes aligned with his best-selling books. While Simon wasn’t always leading these sessions, he had a small cadre of Master Trainers taking the lead, so I enrolled in a couple of classes to get a bead on how they were tackling this new online frontier.
These online classes were far more engaging than many others I sampled. Better yet, beyond the learning takeaways, there were a few great techniques they used to enrich networking conversations. It was well worth the investment, if only to come away with a few techniques I might incorporate in my own online training.
So how did I land an assignment working with Team Simon?
During one class, I changed my Zoom screen name to Retirepreneur. Someone at Simon’s organization noticed and reached out to learn more, as they were thinking about creating a version of the “Start with WHY” class for retirees. Fast forward to today and I’m their go-to facilitator for this niche audience.
It reminds me of that classic quote: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Thankfully, when opportunity came knocking, I was ready to answer.
Now onto three design takeaways from this Simon Sinek experience:
1) Pair Up Capable Online Co-Facilitators
For each workshop, I was paired with one of Simon’s Master Trainers. They excel at both leading interactive learning experiences, but they also have strong command of Simon’s material. As for my role, I’m the subject matter expert (SME) representing the niche audience, which in this case was retired professionals. Having two different voices as co-facilitators takes engagement up a notch from the very start. But there’s one more thing I noticed – Simon’s master trainers are fun people. In turn, the banter between the co-facilitators was both noticed and appreciated by participants.
2) Strike a Perfect Blend of Large Group Learning + Peer-to-Peer Chats
These classes spanned two hours, but it was carefully designed as a series of shorter sprints that picked up momentum as the class progressed. For 15 minutes, there was large group teaching, followed by a one-on-one breakout. As the class progressed, there was an ever-so-subtle dialing up of duration and depth to these exchanges.
3) Weave in Stories to Foster Deeper Connections
Story sharing is key, as stories often reveal clues about our WHY. At various points during this class, I would take on the story sharing role for the large group, if only to model what they would be doing in their breakout sessions. Beyond demonstrating the storytelling dynamic, we also taught them how to be better listeners. Each time I shared a story, the Master Trainer would facilitate chat contributions with callouts from my story. With nearly 100 participants, most contributed meaningful takeaways in the chat box. These were by far more active chat boxes than I’ve seen at other online events.
There’s so much more to the Team Simon approach than I can cover in a single blog post.
If you’re intrigued, one next step you might take is to sample one of Simon’s online classes yourself. They’re affordable ($30) and I’m sure you’ll spot even more techniques you might borrow. Here’s link to the list of online classes: https://simonsinek.com/InspireU
Please feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com with any questions you might have. I’d be happy to jump on a call to brainstorm on ways this model might be customized to delight your own event community.
About the Author
Donna Kastner is a conversation catalyst who facilitates dynamic peer-to-peer forums that reveal what’s top-of-mind for customers. She’s also founder of Retirepreneur, a think-tank for executives who are striving to design rewarding and fulfilling encore careers.