Robbie Samuels 0:00
It's like getting in the back of a cab knowing exactly the route that I want to take having all the information except for their access to the car, and then having someone take a different route, and you're in the back being like, no, don't get on that, you know, and like, this is what it feels like. And I can't keep going to things that are making me itch. So, yes, I provide video and detailed unsolicited feedback with love and say, take it or leave it, it's fine. It's like spinach in your teeth. I gotta point it out to you.
Sarah Fejfar 0:31
How are entrepreneurs like us daring bravely to build a state? Ditch the sweat pants and step up to the mic? How do we create our own transformative events? So we can get our message out into the world in a bigger way. It's not only profitable, but it's actually something we can be proud of. That's the question and the answers are inside this podcast. My name is Sarah Fejfar. Welcome to greenroom Central. Today I brought into greenroom central studios Robbie Samuels, an event design consultant and executive zoom producer. He helps organizations bring their events online with less stress and greater participant engagement. He's the author of three books, including his latest which releases today, break out of boredom, low tech solutions for highly engaging zoom events. He has been recognized as a networking expert by NPR, Harvard Business Review, Forbes and Inc. He's a TEDx speaker, and host of the on the schmooze podcast, please join me in welcoming Robby. So I wanted to start by asking about your new book, because I'm so thrilled that you literally wrote a book on how to be engaging on a zoom, because I get a lot of feedback from CEOs who are like cash and kind of my guests are over being on Zoom. It's boring, it's, it's not engaging. It's, you know, been there, done that, that the bar has been raised. And we're just gonna go back to in person, and I'm kind of like, oh, my gosh, no, no, like, we have just like, been, like, the world has been opened up to us in terms of how we can make our events more accessible, to make our events available to guess, all around the world. To make our events more accessible from a monetary standpoint, I mean, the list goes on and on. And, and so I never want people to take this amazing resource out of their toolbox. Right? I never want them to say, Oh, um, we're just going to do in person, because I think it's, it's always going to be in and now I, there's always a place.
Robbie Samuels 2:53
Yeah, originally thinking about organizations that used to only have in person events, like an alumni organization, that maybe had three cities that they would host events in. And then with the pandemic, they started really draw in alumni that were scattered all around the globe. And to now say, Nope, we're going back to these three cities. That's it. You know, you're taking something away from people, or to the organizations that used to have one big annual conference. And now they've been doing all this virtual programming and their chapters are doing all this virtual programming. I mean, there, there are associations where there's one chapter for the entire state of Washington, it's really hard to get physically to that one location. So having virtual as an option, I think is, like you said, a tool that we all need to keep in our toolbox. But we can't be doing what we've always been doing, we have to find new and innovative ways to bring people together to create those transformative, inclusive and engaging online experiences.
Sarah Fejfar 3:54
First thing I want you to share with us is you talk about purpose first and designing events with outcomes in mind. And I think that's one of my favorite things to teach inside of livan Academy is like, we have to know like, what's the end goal? And then kind of back into that, right. So what are your tips?
Robbie Samuels 4:14
Well, I think that you should enter a meeting, knowing ahead of time, as your participants come in, what are they thinking, feeling and or doing? Right? And then at the end of your time together? What are they going to be thinking feeling and are doing in that in between that shift is the transformation. So if you pause and have that conversation, which is actually if you're in a team, it's really important that you're all on the same page about those outcomes, because you may have different understandings of what the purpose of the meeting is. You may also decide you don't even need a meeting, which is a great outcome. But if you are going to have a meeting, knowing that will help you decide what kinds of content to share what to focus on within that content, who would be the best speakers to share that content, what kind of exercises to do whether or not to have breakout rooms? If to have breakout rooms? What kind of questions What was the purpose of the breakout rooms, all these everything that you say, maybe we can throw this in, it's like judged against the outcome does it help participants he gets the outcome. Not really. Alright, it's a really nice to have, but it's not critical. So this also helps if you design your session in a modular, so you have all these different segments. And you suddenly are told you only have, I don't know half an hour instead of 45 minutes or 40 minutes instead of an hour. Rather than panicking. Talking really, really fast. or skipping the q&a, which is such a big mess, you will know which modules are critical to keep and which you know, are bonus content that you can skip. And you can always refer people to other resource handout or book to tell them how to get the additional information. But you don't want to you don't want to like try to cram everything in. I think that's the mistake I've made a lot of speakers make. And by having that clear understanding of front, it'll tell you what to leave out without feeling like Oh, but I need to tell them all these things. I love
Sarah Fejfar 6:13
that. It's kind of like the accordion approach. So it's knowing what pieces are critical to learn live while we're face to face to kick off transformation. And which ones can be ancillary and kind of homework, if you will. The other thing that I want to dive into is what are all the things that people are doing wrong? Because I'd like to know, so that a I stopped doing them, but be like, just awareness is such a gift, right? And I think
Robbie Samuels 6:49
Sarah, I mean, this book, basically, the subtitle unofficially is Robbie's pet peeves and how to avoid them. Because I wrote a book, I mean, there are 10,000 words, just about breakout rooms. It was the first chapter I really started writing. And it was 20% of the book until I realized the book was actually bigger than what I originally thought it was going to be. I mean, it was, it was twice more than twice what I thought it was originally maybe, but but like 10,000 words just on breakout rooms, because there's a zillion things there. Here's what I'll say. Just because you have Microsoft Word in your computer does not make you a great writer. Just because you happen to have, you know, Adobe software, or iMovie doesn't make you a great videographer or editor or graphic designer. And similarly, just because you know how to get onto a zoom call doesn't make you a great virtual presenter. And there are some fantastic in person facilitators and presenters that have amazing content and amazing stage presence, when they're in person, they have not done the work to translate that to a medium that is more cinematic than it is about a big stage. Right? It's a smaller screen. So it's fewer senses. So the way we hold people's attention is different. So beyond the purpose first design, I think facilitation is different. And you know, in person, for instance, you would never have to like say who goes next once you start a circle, like you know who's gonna go after, but in the online space, like, you're looking at your screen, we don't know what's on your screen, and then your screen changes. And you're like, Wait, did Mary go? I can't? Well, you know, there are ways to avoid that friends. Or you can be like, Oh, Sara's turn Sarah gets put in the spotlight, you're like what? Like you didn't know is your turn? You can't you didn't know what the question was, you weren't paying attention. So there are ways to not have you will be deer in headlights to let them know they're on their on deck. instructions can be better, like stop saying things like go ahead and raise your hand and chat. It's never been in chat. I mean, I wrote a book called breakout or boredom, low tech solutions for highly engaging zoom, because what I'm proposing is that we can use the built in zoom features, plus quality facilitation, plus thoughtful purpose design was first designed to create incredible online experiences. So it's about understanding, you know, or here's another one, hey, go up here to the top right. That's not your top right. That's your top left. We were let's just break this down. If I was on a stage, and you were in an audience, you would understand if I said to you, like we're doing you know, aerobics, and if I say right hand, you're gonna hold up your left hand. So, you know, you have to say right hand, left hand right hand left, the people that marry you. My three year old back in preschool, I had to tell the teacher to stop saying the wrong thing because my kid didn't know right from left yet. And it was very confusing. That my kid It is naturally marrying and the teacher keeps saying the wrong thing for the kid, you know. So there's so many pet peeves, or go ahead and unmute in person, you would never end the presentation and say, Alright friends, time for q&a, go ahead and start talking, what you would say line up at the microphone hand in an index card with your questions, raise your hand, you'd have to give instruction. Why is go ahead and unmute even the thing. Sorry, I could go on Zehra there are so many things, send people to breakout rooms with no direction about what to do with their time and call it engagement. Really sorry, you were saying? You're
Sarah Fejfar 10:36
cracking me up over here. I absolutely love it. I'm picturing you like just feverishly taking notes in every virtual event that you've been on since 2020.
Robbie Samuels 10:45
I will tell you, honestly, I do send notes to hosts if I attend their networking event, and I want to go back because I think I like the people, I will send them notes about how to improve their, their structure facilitation, etc. And they all have a moment of like, Who is this guy to tell? Oh, actually, he gets paid a lot of money to do this. And then they'll send the instructions to their team and be like, follow everything Robbie says. And they're like, You never take feedback. They're like, No, but Robbie know stuff. And so I'm like, I can't it's like getting in the back of a cab knowing exactly the route that I want to take having all the information except for their access to the car, and then having someone take a different route. And you're in the back being like, no, don't get on that, you know, and like, this is what it feels like. And I can't keep going to things that are making me itch. So yes, I provide video and detailed unsolicited feedback with love and say take it or leave it, it's fine. It's like spinach in your teeth, I gotta point it out to you. It's digital Spinergy,
Sarah Fejfar 11:47
I love you for giving unsolicited feedback, and helping everyone produce better virtual events on Zoom. And what I'm hearing is, and this is something that I I guess just just never connected the dots on before is that we're in a medium where it's like, it's just like stage left stage, right, like stuff that is just so commonplace, when we're on a physical stage in real life. And then I think none of us realized that your thing still i in the virtual world. And so I can't point down here, if the buttons up high,
Robbie Samuels 12:32
every time you do something that's a little off, like telling people, you know, go ahead and raise hands. And then they point they raise hands here and reactions, and they're pointing to your bottom left, which is not where reactions is on Zoom. And your brain has to do that little bit of figuring out what you actually mean. That's part of the Zoom fatigue. So zoom fatigue is not the right content, which is purpose versus design, right? Too much information, which is also progress, service design, poor quality of facilitation, because that's just confusing to people, if you can solve for those problems. And you can find a way to create some kind of intentional engagement, which means opening with some housekeeping where you're sharing with people, here's how we're going to use chat, here's how you can ask questions, here's where we're going to answer questions. Here's how to interact with us, you know, use these reactions, or here's the American selling us for a plot, whatever the rules are for your house, you know, like you said, the rules, and don't say it once and say everybody else is always going to figure it out, because then you're gonna have regulars who know and newcomers or don't. So you just have to kind of build this in as part of the opening. And I'll say this, Sara, and then I'll pass the mic back to you. I believe that thoughtful structure creates a sense of belonging that this is about equity and inclusion. Because the people who are already in the know, the people who already have power and privilege and comfort and seniority, the people who like built the thing aren't going to be fine without you naming how to do things. They're going to step in, if you send people to breakout rooms without any structure. And they're all muted. Somebody is going to unmute, but they may never relinquish the microphone, that 10 minutes could go by with them just giving us a little coffee. And you in the main room is thinking I created engagement. Yeah, in the checkbox kind of way. And it's not intentional. Not everyone got a chance to be part of it. They were invited, but they were not feeling welcomed. And so I actually think that if we like put a dei and b belonging lens on this thoughtful structure is part of that and so many times I see speakers sort of relinquish that responsibility and let participants create it on their own. And what am I This opportunity, because we really know better, we are the ones who are deciding that outcome. And if we want to help people get to that outcome, we need to be driving that.
Sarah Fejfar 15:09
Don't even get me started on. On lack of leadership when it comes to sending people to breakouts, that's probably my hot button issue is I'm an introvert, I'm shy by nature, I want you to tell me exactly what to do. What are the rules of the game here? Because I gotta step up and play. I'm already anxious, because you just said that we're gonna go to breakout soon. And so my brain is like, you know, like spinning. So I need you to be loud and clear verbally with the instructions, I need you to have a slide that has those same instructions. I also want your chat like, I don't want any lack of clarity on my part, or the people that I'm going to come together with in that Zoom breakout, because that's awkward, too. And I'm allergic to awkwardness. Is it an shy introvert person, right?
Robbie Samuels 16:04
Well, I'll give you another another sort of pet peeve that we can all do better. It's really great to give people a sense of who goes first in breakout rooms. So I think a lot of speakers and facilitators have started to get that there. They get that. But then they'll give people go in order of longest or shortest hair, or brightest to darkest shirt, or birthdate. Now those things are either subjective or take time to figure out. So every time I've done the hair thing, there's been a guy in the room who's bald, and we ended up having a conversation about that. It's fine to be bald, but it wasn't the point of the conversation, the birthday thing, I've had so many conversations during the pandemic about Horoscopes. That happened, because we were having a conversation about whose birthday is when, and these things take time. And then color is blue darker than green. I mean, yes,
Sarah Fejfar 16:53
I'm allergic to wasting time. So what you said subjective. So what's the right answer, then?
Robbie Samuels 17:00
The right answer would be alphabetical, or reverse alphabetical by first or last name. If you go by last name, I always say if your last name is not showing you go first, which gets people to write their last name pretty darn quick. Yeah. If you want to go in a particular order, maybe you want to go from most experienced at least experience, then I would direct people to get in the breakout room and immediately in chat, right the number of years they have as experience wise, so that you can quickly discern the order. You know, so it's just, it's like really providing a lot of step by step structure, so that people don't get into breakout rooms and just kind of all look at each other waiting for someone to start and they can't they're like, what was the what we're supposed to be talking about? Like they can't remember. Now one way to help you remember is you talked about saying it out loud. And you know, sometimes you can have a slide or put it in shot. Here's the best way giving your answer, or having someone else give their answer. So let's say I was gonna share my win, you know, hey, everyone get the breakout rooms share your biggest win of the week, my biggest win is that what happens is, as I tell that story, your brain starts thinking of their own story of what you would rather say. In fact, you almost want to interrupt me right in the moment just start talking, which means you're really engaged in this conversation, you're primed. Now, you know, it's alphabetical by first name, your name starts with a or like, it might be one of the first I'm ready. So it's like, we get people's brains engaged through storytelling. And we miss that step all the time. So give people a reason to get into the rooms don't make it just like random. And an answer the answer it or have someone else provide an answer is a great way to get people primed for those.
Sarah Fejfar 18:44
I love that giving your answer tip because I think it's, it's helpful when, because everyone, everyone enters the room with the same question in mind, which is how do I fit in. And when you are sending us into a room with rules, and then showing us what that looks like to fit in, by giving us your, your story, your three things, whatever it is, first. It feels good. It feels real good.
Robbie Samuels 19:19
It also if you want people to be a little more vulnerable, which might be you know, if you're going to have people stay in the same room two or three times, you could ask or even if you're in a mix it up a little bit, but like you can ask slightly more vulnerable or braver questions. So you sharing sets that tone. So let's say talk about your biggest challenge or, like the biggest challenge you've overcome, you know, like, you know, you could say something about like department motor vehicles lines being really long, and that would be very surface answer, but relatable. Or you could talk about something that really hits home. And even if people don't have the same answer the You've now set the ground from which we all build from. So it's really it's, I don't want, it's not orchestrated. I'm not trying to like pull an emotion from you. But I'm trying to create a space I'm holding a container, that's our job as facilitators and hosts is to hold the container and guide people. And by the way, I did this Sara in person, I know that you and I met through event stuff, I used to host a in person gathering, you know, downstairs at a bar we we took over the whole room, in the first five feet from the door, you will have talked to the four or five people who we had planted everything from letting people know lining up, what to expect when they got to the table, the person behind the table who was taking the money and giving them a nametag, two steps later, here's your bingo sheet and your pen. Let me fill it out for you. Let me get you started. Two steps later, there was a table with asking about and I'm looking for tags, with people, two or three people standing there talking to you. And then there was the bar, which is where everyone was gonna go. But before you even got to the bar, you had, you know, stickers on a name tag, a raffle ticket, the bingo sheet, a pen, you know, and like you had been really welcomed into this space. And people would always leave like, how is it we met people, I don't never meet people at these bar nights. So I think that structure matters. This is not just a virtual thing, I think is a really big event of overlap between how you prepare for a great quality in person are a great quality virtual program, there are outliers of things you have to think about for both of these modes, that are that you have to know to really do well. But so much of this is built off of all the years, I just had to figure how to translate it into the virtual world the way that made sense. But the the mechanisms might be different. But the purpose of it makes sense. Like, I think for anyone who has experience with in person, I challenge us all, to be a little more creative in how we problem solve the world of virtual instead of saying virtual, it's like playing soccer with football rolls. Like, it doesn't make sense. Like No wonder you're not doing well.
Sarah Fejfar 22:13
But we're all trying our best. I think we all just got thrown in, right.
Robbie Samuels 22:19
But we all got thrown in. But it's like, you know, constraints are in existence for in person to you can't tell me that forcing people to all fly to one location and then cramming the content tightly into just a couple of days is the best scenario. I've been to events with 42 concurrent sessions. I've been to events that took over the entire downtown city where events were meetings were a mile apart, I was choosing the next session, basically whether I could physically get there in time. That can't that that was what it was, we did the best we could within those constraints. So similarly, we got to act this good to understand the rules of this game and act accordingly. Yeah.
Sarah Fejfar 22:57
So you wrote the book on how to do this. And I'm grateful because I my anxiety level is like rising just a little bit right now going oh my gosh. So like, I probably have been pointing to the wrong spot, or just been like go find the button instead of actually learning where the button is. And, you know, being able to very articulately tell people where to go. So please tell me that inside of this book, like there's a chapter that I'm supposed to read, that's going to give me the rules,
Robbie Samuels 23:31
everything. There's there's an entire chapter chapter nine on settings. And there's multiple places to look for settings. So there's an entire chapter walking you through settings. There's a there's a whole section on mirroring. And I even go so far as to tell you the correct answer. Yeah, I have you try it on your own. And then I just give you the crib notes. Like what handy use for what thing you're going to say. And I also tell you, if it's too confusing, like don't point just verbally tell people write it in your notes, what the verbal like, you know, stage instructions, like write your stage instructions out. So you know, you know, even if you don't remember which way to point, you say here's where to go to find it. Look on the bottom right, because it
Sarah Fejfar 24:12
might be like unlocking levels of like Mario Brothers, like we're just going to first we might only be using like a couple buttons on the controller and then like we might be able to grow to like using more of them, right?
Robbie Samuels 24:24
The goal is to get 5% better every time you see, okay, whether you're hosting, speaking, facilitating or participating. If we all get 5% better on how our setup is. I mean, I will tell you I'm having anxiety right now that I'm not looking at both cameras. We're on two mediums and is making me a little nutty that all the people watching you on Instagram is like why can't Bobby figure out where the camera is because you got me looking at the camera on my computer. And I'm not going to switch because I know you're going to take this footage later and I'm really happy for you. But like, if you can As a participant and as just get better at looking at the camera, if you participate more in chat, you know, as a participant, you can be the person who writes takeaways in chat, you can be the participant who writes, finds resources that are mentioned and grabs a link and drops it in chat. You could really jump in do you
Sarah Fejfar 25:20
ever did you write about that in forgive me for not having read at all, yet, I got an advanced reader coffee, I feel like one of the special children. But forgive me if this is in there, and I didn't read it yet. But I'm wondering is giving jobs to people that are in the audience thing? Well,
Robbie Samuels 25:41
it's not so much giving jobs to audience members, I do have a whole section about working as a team and I list out all the different roles that you would want to have, particularly if you have more than 20 or so people like you, were really going to be beneficial. And like, what's your incident chat moderator and a zoom producer, like what you might expect from different people. But I will say that as a participant, even on a webinar where like people can't see you, right, like, you're just a random, like, you're an attendee, you're not even if it has been, I have made myself known and visible by being the person who quickly like a speaker mentions the podcasts or a book or website or any resource or a person. And I go find the book, and I go find the thing, and I drop it in. And I put a little note explaining what it is. Or if you know, if there's a really detailed slide, I'll grab a screenshot and drop it in, like, I just, I'm now it's an unnatural thing for me to do. But you know, you've got all these, you're gonna have 1000 people on a webinar, my name is gonna keep showing up. And then if I have a resource related to my work that I want to put in, I feel fine doing that, because it's just one of a zillion things that I'm sharing, but you don't have to every on resources to step out and, and standout. And by the way, this is something you can't do in person, like, yeah, the equivalent would be a Twitter, an active Twitter hashtag in a conference, where there's always you know, some people who were really actively live tweeting or sharing resources. But that's become sort of passe. So this is the best thing you can do virtually.
Sarah Fejfar 27:08
It's like in I mean, that's such a hot tip for any of us who are attending virtual events on how to show up and be authentically serving. And also self serving, getting our, our name out there. I mean, I You see it in Facebook groups, for example, that there's the person who's always active and showing up, and you just, then they're helpful, and you just know them by name. And there could be 1000s of people in that group. And this right, you're just pointing out to me that the same thing holds true in virtual events. Yeah. So I know that inclusive inclusivity is a huge thing for you. And I would be remiss if we didn't at least touch on that topic a little bit. What would what would you want us to know about zoom events and inclusivity?
Robbie Samuels 28:04
Well, I'm actually one of the things I'm a little regretful is that I didn't make the section on accessibility visible on the table of contents, we made a decision to like only have a certain level of like, you had her show on the table of contents, cuz it was getting too long and cumbersome. And it's, it's in the book, it's in the content section on the lecture section. Because I feel like the people who lecture needed a lot of help about how to design slides, and how to pause on their slides. So there's so many tips. And I reached out to two friends of mine who are disability access experts, who were able to provide just some really great ideas, and I got feedback from, from participants who are who come to my stuff who, you know, have ADHD or autism or diversity of different kinds or track brain injury, there's a lot of reasons to kind of build this in. So there's a couple that I think are really universal. One is when you switch to new slide, pause for a second, because you know, people are going to start reading, don't put everything on one slide, like build the slide. So if you have five bullet points, the first slide has one bullet point, the second side has two bullet points and so on. But then what I like to do is actually make the new bullet point a different color, like a vibrant orange, and then I gray out the other colors, so that it's very clear. This is the one we're talking about. Now, if you put all of them on I'm gonna be reading both for a while you're still talking about bullet one or two. And that's the kind of dissonance that we can avoid. Yeah, I also put something in called a pause slide P au S E, which is a pause button and it says it's basically says Job takeaways and write questions. So jarring takeaways is something you do for yourself somewhere and questions I want you to put in the in the chat. I like people to write the word question in all caps beforehand so I can spot it and I've also increased the font size of My Chart 250%, which makes it a lot easier to spot. And then the other thing I do is a your you are here slide, which has got the agenda. And then similarly, I use a vibrant color to point out, this is the next section we're going to. So it's almost like train stops, you know, like I sort of pull our bus line, I pull it up, and I'm like, Alright, so we had our pause, I answered the most pressing question. If there was one other questions are gonna wait. And now I had a drink of water. And now, this is where we're going into this next section. So this is all about bringing everybody back in who were multitasking or distracted, or whatever it is. Universal, I think universally bring people in is really helpful.
Sarah Fejfar 30:41
Yeah, that's so smart. And I think that your tip there about not using builds and using multiple slides, like my hack for that is create the slide and tell me if I'm wrong would create the slide. And then go make you know, if it's got eight bullet points, eight copies of it, right, or seven more copies, and then just like, delete off the stuff and change the colors. Yeah. makes it so much. And I bet it sounds.
Robbie Samuels 31:10
Love also say is just because you can doesn't mean you should. So people animations, I mean, you could that's a very simple animation. And I think that's fine. What we want to avoid when it comes to animation is tech swooping in, or gifs or silent video, every single slide should not be creeping and crawling. Literally, some people are going to end up with migraines and be in bed for three days. And no one wants to be the cause of that. So now that I've told you that that could happen, be paying attention. So I know people that you know have video always on behind them on their their resume background, like, like you just like it's just not accessible and not friendly to a lot of people for a whole bunch of different reasons. So if you're going to use, you know, something, it needs to be purposeful. And so like for me changing the colors, we all know where what point we're focusing on, like that's a really good use of animating the next step. But if you don't want to, you know, building could just be like you said, making five slides. And then just changing the colors, which I tend to do. Because if you're ever asked to switch your content from I don't know, like Google slides to PowerPoint, or PowerPoint, or Keynote or Keynote, if you do, the way we're talking about where it's one slide after another, it will translate beautifully. If it is leaning on people, ah program reading that the animation correctly. Oh, that's yeah. Because I've had it happen where we were like, We need to have your slot. I mean, I use Google Slides. And then they're like, No, we need it for PowerPoint. I'm like, I don't even understand why but okay, fine. And I can export as a PowerPoint. And I know that it's all going to work.
Sarah Fejfar 32:55
So it's like it's not even, it's not even just a zoom tip. This is a tip for everybody who,
Robbie Samuels 33:00
by the way that wasn't even in the book. But I mean, I talked about the bill, but that's not a reason I gave, I mentioned a few things here. That's not the book. So you've asked some good questions. I think the hardest part of writing a book like this is is you have to constantly go back to your purpose. And so the purpose was to help presenters who are given between 60 and 90 minutes to do a one time presentation to share some kind of value. They don't necessarily know the audience super well, or the audience's savviness with computers or technology. So my biggest difference between this and an ongoing class or course, or team meeting is, I don't use third party tools for a one time session, because you will lose people. And you can get 70 to 90% participation in a zoom poll. And now we have a dance to polls, which are even cooler. Whereas you send people to a link for jam board or Mentimeter, etc. And you might get 30 to 50% participation. And yes, you're very cool. But what was the point was the point engagement, or looking like a really cool presenter? I guess you have to decide. But if it's about engagement and getting information from people, then I'm the low. The low tech part of my subtitle low tech solutions is built in zoom has a lot of features that we're not using, or we're not using fully. So keeping those that as a constraint will actually help a lot of our audience members more fully participate. Because they learned early on, they click a link in chat zoom window goes away because they had full screen zoom, and they didn't have to bring it back. And so they basically been taught like trained and not click links. And we think we're being easy. I will just drop a link to Mentimeter and they're like who will link touching that. So you have to know your audience.
Sarah Fejfar 34:50
This that made me think of a question that I got this week, which was hey, have you used x platform? I mean, fill in the blank. There's so many right Right. And, and they wanted to use it because there's like cool breakout room feature. And you know, it looks like a video game and whatever. And, and I came back and said, my personal preferences, zoom all the way all day every day. Because if you look at the stats of how many people in the world know and use Zoom is extremely high compared like, like, astronomically surpasses like all of the other ones. And I don't like any sort of friction in between me and you know the content that I have deliver and the guests tell me what your position is they're
Robbie Samuels 35:42
both my parents have figured out how to get on a zoom call. So I think that answers that question. My dad actually said, what your book is about zoom, but everyone's back at work, and everyone knows how to zoom. So he thinks because he knows how to like get on Zoom, like the world must know how to use Zoom. And I'm like, Yeah, but not well. But you're right. Like my father knows how to join a zoom call. But if you send him to some other platform, he doesn't visit us that. Is that comfortable using that? So not that he's your target. But why add friction? Why make people work harder? I think that when people say you can't do something in zoom, and then I show them how to do it. They're like, Oh, yeah. The book will surprise people. I've already gotten like 60 reviews sent to me in advance, the book won't officially published until maybe Monday, the latest ebook will be out for 299 $2.99. And the paperback will be come out towards the end of the month. But I've already gotten about 6070 reviews in advance. And it's been interesting, because it's been people who are beginners, and some really seasoned professional speakers, professional facilitators, who sort of I would say, Join my launch team as a like, I'll be nice to Robbie. Sure. All right, I'll take a look at this thing. What do I have to learn? And then they're like, what, like, things you don't know to ask? Yeah, the things that you didn't you just thought wasn't possible, you never been taught to question it. And I'm talking like storytelling to help give illustration video images to kind of make the point come alive. Step by step guides and checklists, settings like, I mean, facilitation and purpose versus design and some of the stuff that you might know one or two of these things, but to have it all laid out and in a resource that you can easily read cover to cover, or just pick a section and dive into it. I'm actually recommending that everyone gets both the ebook and the paperback because I want both sales. No, because the ebook is something you can search really easily to find what section but I also think people like having a book to like quickly, you know, dog ear and like highlight and like be able to reference quickly. I mean, either medium will work. But this is been more than one person. Of course, they don't know each other. And they don't know what other people are written. The word Bible has shown up on numerous review reviews. Like, this is a zoom Bible, like that kind of thing. So this is very comprehensive. Folks, you're watching right now you can actually join my launch team, you can be one of the last few to join and get the Advanced Reader Copy. Because as soon as the book gets published, that part closes, you go to Robby samuels.com, forward slash break out, launch, Robbie samuels.com, forward slash break out launch, sign up, I will send you the Advanced Reader Copy PDF, you could listen to it using speechify, either on your phone or your computer or just read it. And we're asking for reviews. I say we because collectively, I'm gonna hit 100 Plus Reviews by March 13, and 200 Plus Reviews by the end of the month. But I can't do by myself. So that's the week,
Sarah Fejfar 38:50
I am so excited to read more of the book and like, memorize it. So I can help clients with all of the things that you've got in there. I think that everyone should be grabbing a copy because we all need to do a better job of harnessing the power of this platform. It is unrivaled in terms of the ability to create profitable events. It's just such a gift. And I think the people who are going to continue to profit from producing events on Zoom or virtual events are going to be the ones who learn the facilitation tips learn how to be engaging learn the platform and your book is the answer.
Robbie Samuels 39:46
So I will say I will have I will live in order with that or they hire professional. And yes, you can hire me but I think if you can hire anybody who has been trained and how to do this, not just like some Upwork person nothing bad about up work, but go with someone who's invested the time and money to be trained folks who've worked with me spent $2,000 to be certified. And several months, this is not like a one hour course. This is like an investment of back and forth experiential learning. So, you know, I have organizations that I've been working with since 2020, multiple years of multiple events a year. And they've decided that the benefit of working with me is that they don't want their team their staff to have to stay on top of all the things in Yes, their team has gotten better at zoom, because they've heard me say certain things over and over again, they are really good. Now they could prep a speaker, like, you know, they can handle slight tech issues. But I'm the one who's like staying on top of every new feature, every new release all the changes, you know, why put the pressure on them. So it's about sort of bringing events online with less stress and greater participant engagement. And if you were doing this in person, you'd have an AV team, you'd have a catering staff, you know, someone else with the water on the lectern. Here, the speakers are being asked to take on a lot of that role themselves, including sometimes having to educate how to use the zoom platform and teach people how to add polls. Okay, here's how you add my polls, like all that stuff that we have to do as speaker. So the book will help speakers. But if you read it, and you think, Whoa, this is way beyond my paygrade, that's when you want to go find someone who can really help you step up your game. Particularly if you're making money. If you're making money office, you really got to be aimed to be top notch. Yeah, it will make such a difference Head and Shoulders smart.
Sarah Fejfar 41:37
I mean it but I think it's I think that that lens that you just asked us to put on was like you would go hire the expert who can make the food for your guests, and who can, you know, run the cameras in the lights if you're in person? So yeah, like why not invest in someone who's going to help you use the platform that you're using, even better.
Robbie Samuels 42:03
And you don't even have to pay for coffee. I mean, like, there's a lot of ways. By the way, one of the things we talked about in my book is sending welcome boxes or gifts in advance me huge. Trust me, if you want to spend money on virtual, there are lots of ways to invest, whether it's professional staff, sending out gifts in advance or sending out something after, but it will, really people will find your event memorable. You'll stand out people want to refer people to come to your stuff. It's, it's by inches that we have to get better because everyone else is sort of at a standstill. So if we just keep getting a little bit better. I mean, think of where I am Three years later, when March 2020. I didn't know. I didn't know I had access to breakout rooms. Now when did we all every single person, including with free accounts have access to breakout rooms before 2020? And none of us do that use them? No, no, we've all come a long way.
Sarah Fejfar 42:55
We have probably where can linchpin nation find you if they want to get access to your book or your services? Or the people you've trained? Awesome?
Robbie Samuels 43:05
Yeah, so a few things. One, Robbie samuels.com is the home of all things that I do. And I do a lot of different things. every first Friday of the month, I host No more bad zoom, virtual Happy Hour, which is no more bad zoom.com That happens to be this Friday, if you're listening live breakout of boredom.com is where the book will be once it's on Amazon. If you go there now, the book will tell you it's not live yet. But if you're listening and you want to join the launch team, go to Robbie samuels.com forward slash break out launch. And I would really love that. I mean, the people the feedback, I will tell you that. Sorry, I don't know if you know this, but I was still writing this book in January. Like I wrote. So I wrote 25,000 words by the end of December thinking the book was about 25 30,000 words. And in January wrote another 35,000 Plus words. And the book ended up being 64,000 words. So I was writing while my editor was editing and my for minor was starting the formatting process because I wanted the book launch date to be March 13. Because it's the three year anniversary of when the world suddenly realized that in person events had to come to a stop. I hosted my first virtual happier. So I committed to that and I stuck to it and it's we're like creeping up on that. It's about to publish though. It's gonna happen.
Sarah Fejfar 44:31
Ah, I'm so I'm so proud of you. And I'm also so grateful because, like you said, gonna become such a resource and a Bible for CEOs who want to do a better job of making money with virtual events. So thank you.
Robbie Samuels 44:51
I'm excited. We all have to do our part to raise the bar because if we don't then zoom is going to become what everyone says like Charles, I want to turn zoom fatigue into zoom in tree.
Sarah Fejfar 45:05
I love it. On that note. Thank you Robbie for hanging out today. I appreciate it. Take care. Bye. Thank you for listening to the greenroom central podcast. If you love this episode, then please take a screenshot on your phone and post it to Instagram and be sure to tag at Sarah Fejfar. And let me know why you liked it, and what you'd like to hear or who you'd like to hear from in the future. That'll help me know what to create for you. The number one thing I'm asked by CEOs whether it's their first event or their 20th is Sarah, how do I get more butts in seats. And so I put together a guide for you head over to filling events.com For a free copy of 107 ways to failure. I want to help you quickly master event marketing and failure events even if you've never done it before. I'm scouring the online business world and found 107 of my favorite strategies working right now. To fill your next in person or virtual event. Create the event promotion plan you need from these easy to implement customizable strategies for free over at filling events.com I appreciate your commitment to leveling up and learning the mindset and strategy of live events. Keep going. Keep learning. If you want more, head over to greenroom central.com For show notes and all the links from today's episode.