Yesterday micenet tuned in to the world’s first – but presumably not last – hybrid speaker showcase. Conceived by Cliftons Venues, Cliftons Elevate showcased a range of well-known international and Australian speakers who presented to audiences physically in Sydney and Brisbane, as well as online to those at home. Collectively, the showcase featured nine hours of content from speakers including OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn AO and well-known broadcaster and journalist Tracey Spicer.

More than 1500 people from around the world took part in the online component, and the physical Sydney event was oversubscribed. Clearly a thirst for inspirational speaker content exists!

The virtual event offered a lot of the features we’ve come to appreciate in events this year. Audience members were able to switch between rooms at any time and experience different speakers with ease, and after every talk a pop-up appeared asking whether or not people would like more information about the speakers.

A few of the glitches typical to online events occurred – namely sound cutting out unexpectedly – but not for long stretches or in a way that distracted from the content.

The main themes of the talks were resilience, mindfulness and gratitude – the three pillars of fulfilment that have served a lot of people well this year, and that we’ve explored in-depth in our newsletters.

To save extoling their virtues once again, we thought we’d sum up the best pieces of advice the speakers provided to event planners.

Motivational speaker Julie Cross delivered a humorous yet touching talk on the various ways she has turned obstacles into opportunities to strengthen her emotional muscles – including the loss of her husband and her son being diagnosed with autism. Her advice for event planners during this time was to harness the power of dance. Yes, dance.

“We can’t dance at the moment, and people are missing that,” she said.

“Tap into it with your delegates, have everyone get up and dance in between sessions. In a Covid-safe way, of course.”

Scott Dutton from Finding Fair – an organisation that provides conflict, communication and culture training to organisational teams – declared that before Covid, he was firmly anti-virtual. Now, he delivers countless virtual events every week, and knows a thing or two about creating engaging ones. His advice for doing so was to make your audience feel connected and valued, to make the facilitation fabulous and fun, and to ensure the content is great through the use of creative tools like Yotribe and Mentimeter.

Our favourite talk was delivered by Tracey Spicer, who wove stories about her background growing up in Brisbane with her experiences in dealing with workplace discrimination and anecdotes from the suffragette era (did you know that the Spanish Flu actually assisted women with getting the vote in Australia?). Her advice to listeners was if they want to engender change, they should deliver messages with humour.

“Anyone can be funny, it’s something you can learn, a skill, and if you use humour to deliver messages, it resonates more and stretches further,” she said.

It’s safe to say that we clicked ‘yes’ when asked if we would like more information on these speakers.

Did you attend Cliftons Elevate? Let us know what you thought of it at digital1@btp.net.au