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How We Innovated an Online Conference Solution...Because My Wife Went Into Labour

Mark Dobson
03 Apr. 2020

It was a national roadshow for CBA Third Party Banking and the first stop was Perth. We live in Melbourne and our baby was due ten days prior to the keynote. With CEO, Adam Croucher, we had all agreed to the risk of a clash but never thought it would actually happen! (I know. Don’t say it. I know.) Yet, as the Perth date drew closer, so did the pressure.

Sure enough, 24 hours before the keynote my wife went into labour. There was now no way I could go to Perth. Adam and I had a great relationship and were communicating the whole time, so we agreed on plan C, doing the presentation via Skype. I discussed the plan with my wife (essential at this point), hired a professional camera and lighting team and set up a studio at Thrive Network which has lightning-fast internet.

At the hospital we naturally hoped the baby would come sooner than later, but it didn’t. With my wife’s blessing between contractions (no word of a lie) I left the hospital, presented the keynote to a single camera with no crowd audio and on about 40 minutes sleep. Adam texted me regular updates from the room so I could tailor content to the dynamic there. “You’re nailing it!” Said one text. Phew!

Apparently, they applauded at the end, I couldn’t hear them. But my gut said it worked and I scurried back to the hospital. I was there for the birth of our awesome daughter.

At the next roadshow event I saw Adam (in person this time). I was apologetic and hoping he would forgive me for not being there. “Are you kidding me?!” he replied “We have been wanting to go online for years and you forced our hand. It was fantastic! People loved it! That roadshow can only have about 700 attendees. If we do it like you just did, we can get to all 12,000 people at once! Mate, we just won!”

We brainstormed what the next roadshow could look like and I gave him the heads up that not everyone will be able to present to a camera like that, so proceed, but scope your talent well.
And sure enough, this year we are doing another roadshow. The difference is that no one is travelling, there are no venues, it is a lot cheaper and all 12,000 people in the team are welcome.
And I have been invited back to present again, as well as bringing the new presenters up to speed with how to nail their keynote to camera.

Even more relevant in this climate, Adam has not had to cancel this year’s event, it is still going ahead with no changes required.

In our data we also noticed higher engagement scores and higher productivity as a result of not having to travel for the event. Adam Croucher CEO – CBA Third Party Banking

The Benefits?

  • Costs down 85%
  • Audience up from 700 to 12,000
  • Travel down from 10+ days to zero
  • Planning down from 12mths to 3mths
  • Entire conference recorded for use on other platforms
  • Can do 4 events a year versus just 1

Keys to Success:

  • Presenters need to be experienced presenting direct to a camera and with no live audience
  • Recording location must have great internet speed
  • Professional video and lighting team will create a world-class look
  • Be deliberate about creating the backdrop/stage to make it look more like a TV set than a board room

Mark 'Dobbo' Dobson is a high-performance leadership expert with a specific talent is taking high performers to even higher levels of excellence. He has completely transformed sales teams, dramatically increased productivity, freed up the time of leadership, shortened sales cycles and been a catalyst for the change the leader imagines.

To engage Mark for an event, online or virtually, get in touch with our expert team.

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