Hosting a conference in a virtual environment, especially one with 12 hours of content a day, could have easily gone into “Zoom Fatigue” territory. However, the right mix of engaging speakers, lively interview segments, and plenty of opportunities for networking, greatly diminished the chance of fatigue. Transitioning a weeklong in-person conference to a two-day virtual experience was a large undertaking from our whole team. This new conference provided our CEPAs and advisors a chance to hear from industry leaders in a safe and virtual setting. Our event was not entirely virtual as our attendees received a “Bash Box”. The box was filled with books from six of our speakers, a “make your own cocktail” kit, and a recipe from the kitchen of Scott Snider.
Insiders Bash offered 24 hours of content from over 30 different speakers. Our speakers covered topics ranging from leadership strategies to digital marketing tactics and storytelling. We started the week with EPI Live, a live Q&A segment where our Vice President, Scott Snider, interviewed various CEPAs about how they were managing their business through the pandemic. Many spoke to how virtual experiences have altered how they communicate with their clients and colleagues. Dr. Fred Johnson stated that, “Leadership starts and ends with connecting with people”, and that his business has moved from a transactional approach to a relational one with his clients.
Brett Dearing advised that your content be both informative, educational, and personal. He said, “Let people see who you are when you are at leisure. Show us walking your dog or going for a run. They [business owners] are ultimately investing in you, as well as your experience”. The biggest takeaway from our EPI Live sessions was that building a rapport with potential clients leads to a more successful business relationship.
The highlights of our first Insiders Bash were our two Keynote Speakers. Keynote Speakers have the power to make or break a conference. Speak for too long and the audience loses focus. Talk in a way that is too pedantic and the audience feels anxious and uninformed. When we selected our Keynote Speakers for Insiders Bash, we wanted people who would be able to educate without intimidating our audience. We chose Tom Deans, an Intergenerational Wealth expert and Best-Selling author, and Kindra Hall, President and Chief Storytelling Officer at Steller Collective. Both Tom and Kindra provided extraordinary live content for our attendees.
Tom Deans, author of Willing Wisdom, spoke about the struggles family businesses are facing during the pandemic and highlighted how crucial advisors are to the family business exit. He referred to this time as the “Golden Age for Exit Planners” as many business owners might be heading into unplanned exits. Tom also mentioned the absolute need for business owners to have a legal will, and not to “cheap out” on the most important document they will ever sign.
Kindra Hall, author of Stories that Stick, provided an engaging and entertaining keynote speech about the power of storytelling in business. She shared her personal journey through storytelling and how stories sell more than statistics and information. She said, “We never buy the thing, we buy the story of what the thing represents in our life”.
Although many businesses think they are telling stories in their branding and content, Kindra shared that “we allude to our stories, but don’t tell the story so we don’t reap any of the benefits”. She highlighted how to share complete stories and that the value of our business and products dramatically increases with the addition of a story. Even if you feel you do not have a grand story to share, Kindra says, “It isn’t the magnitude of the story; even small stories can make a really big difference”.
Insiders Bash 2021
We hope you enjoyed our very first EPI Insiders Bash. As Scott Snider said, it is important to “work on your business, rather than in it” during times of drastic uncertainty and change. We are living in a world of uncertainty and change now, and we can either stay the same and perish, or learn to adapt to this new virtual-centric world and thrive. Virtual events are not going away anytime soon, but here at EPI we will continue to innovate how we interact in the virtual space. We are already planning for our next Insiders Bash. We hope you will join us in 2021 for another incredible few days of content. As our speaker, Linda Ruffenach said, “Everybody has an inner badass, but we don’t always embrace it”. Consider this us embracing our inner badass.