ABOUT TODAY’S EPISODE | MIKE ABRAMOWITZ
In this new era of business, virtual events have become an integral part of operating. Mike Abramowitz is an expert at running energizing virtual events that create connection, promote shared purpose, and add significant value for attendees. Mike is the TOP District Manager in the entire Cutco/Vector Marketing sales organization. He won THREE Silver Cups in 2020, including the #1 District Team with over $2.4 million in sales. He runs events at multiple levels with different attendees and different objectives, and has refined his techniques at such a high level that he has taught the entire company how to run dynamic and effective virtual events. He shares all of his expert tips in this special episode.
Q&A WITH MIKE ABRAMOWITZ
Q: Before we get into the differences in running events virtually, what are some of the principles or strategies that REMAIN THE SAME from running live events to running virtual events?
- Outcome: what do I want to accomplish with this event? What is the reason for this event?
- Energy: I always have to start an event with music!
- Point People: Work the crowd before you start talking. Find people to refer to before the event starts and let them know how you’d like them to set the tone for energy (i.e. blow up the chat box when I bring up this topic).
- Connection & Community: Connected to a shared purpose, the speaker, to each other; people want to be a part of something bigger beyond their computer screen.
- Value: People must get something out of the event in order to want to come back. It cannot only fulfill the purposes of the promoter or speaker and not give value to the attendees.
Q: What’s the most important NEW concept you’ve implemented into your events in the past year?
- I have a setup where I can turn my laptop around and stand to bring that live energy. I also have a microphone I can hold and walk around like I’m on stage.
Q: Tell us how you strive to create immediate energy at the start of a virtual meeting.
- I have a trampoline in my home office and when I need energy, I jump on it!
- I start my event with people that I know bring me energy and have them on Zoom early to get the mojo from them.
- I like using the chat: ask a random question that gets people interacting. Have attendees grab their pet, show us something interesting from your office, dance parties, music.
- Spotlighting people during an event and showing how it’s done makes it fun. Have a facilitator whose job it is to find the people with energy to help draw attention to what you want people to see.
Q: You have a number of mantras or hashtags or core philosophies that you frequently repeat at all your events. What are a few of these that stand out most to you? Why do you find these things to be so important?
- #tad – Tiny Actions Daily: highlight anything small that you accomplished in a day that creates incremental change and movement in your trajectory.
- #thepowerofoneyear – where could you be in 365 days with tiny incremental changes?
- #ctc – Cutco Through College: share the skills you learn from Vector that creates options for yourself within the company and outside the company.
- #makeyourdifference – I’m doing everything I can right now to grow personally, professionally, financially (#triplegrowth) so that I can make a powerful difference within my community and my world that I live in.
Q: Why do you take time to share the organizational mission and how does one do this correctly?
- If someone is doing an activity with a purpose or cause behind it, it allows the activity to be that much more meaningful and enjoyable. That’s why we start all of our functions with our vision, purpose, and mission: to bridge the gap between the classroom and the personal, professional, and financial goals of our people. By making a difference in others and developing ourselves as leaders, we will make a powerful impact in our communities.
Q: How about the sharing of team or common goals? What role does this play in your events?
- A leader of an organization needs to know the big mission and quantify what is needed to hit those goals.
- The sales are a by-product of the quantified goals (i.e. recruiting goals, number of orders), and when people hit their goals individually, it will help us achieve our goals as an organization.
- During an event, we publicly highlight all the milestones and achievements that are available to them. We highlight people with examples of how the job is helping them with their personal goals.
Q: How do you promote Team Building at your events?
- Social proof: the more social proof we have of people already working this job, the more it becomes normal.
- Paychecks: spotlight someone who had a nice paycheck that was referred to the job by a friend, ask them about the “random text of awesome” they received. Create activity to present the opportunity to others who may need it.
- Always tie the activity with the weekly, monthly, and campaign teambuilding goals.
Q: One of my mentors once taught me that it was a good idea to try to mention everyone’s name at least once during a Team Meeting.
What are some different ways that you employ to recognize people?
- In the virtual climate, having people’s name on a slide is one way to recognize them. There are many different categories that can be meaningful to highlight.
- Have your staff prepped as “paparazzi” to take screenshots of the slides and send them out to certain group texts/chats and social media to create more recognition.
Q: A hallmark of my own events has always been some form of personal development. How do you implement this component into your virtual meetings?
- We start our team meetings with personal growth since it’s so critical to our organization’s mantra and mission. We want to give people something that deals with perspective, belief systems, developing self-confidence, holding agreements with themselves. It’s not about never messing up, it’s about the recovery.
- The personal growth is what will equip people to want to listen to the other sections of the event because they’ve already received value from the first few minutes of the meeting.
Q: One your key principles is the idea of “influencing people’s beliefs.”
How do you do this at your virtual events? (Put your belief-system on).
- We talk about problems in our lives and circumstances: what are the ways to take action for the problems that we can control, and what are the ways we can reach acceptance for the problems we cannot control?
- Journaling, finding the gift, finding inspiration, connecting to the spiritual side of life
- Success = simple disciplines practiced and repeated every day
Failure = a few simple neglects repeated every day
Q: You got any favorite “truth bombs” that you like to share the most?
- You can go out and Google these “truth bombs”, but one is: we could afford $100 for one thing, but we can’t afford $100 for something else. Don’t make excuses for things that are meaningful.
Q: Give us an idea how you wrap up events. What are the mainstays?
- I.N. – What’s Important Now. It’s important for people to never leave the site of a decision without some sort of small action followed by massive action. Lay out the action steps and benchmarks that people can hit immediately to create momentum for the next day.
- Get people signed up for the next event while the excitement is there. Event to event management is important, especially in the virtual climate.
Q: What are some different events you run besides weekly team meetings?
- During the summer we run a workshop every morning, seven days a week. We will also have key staff meetings and invitational meetings.
Q: What else do you find critical for the success of a virtual event?
- Make sure you have some level of communication system in place around the event. Have a platform to follow-up after the event so the conversation doesn’t end. (WhatsApp, GroupMe, Discord)
- Record every event so that anyone who missed the event can get the recording and all the information. Follow up with them after and ask for their debrief. The recording is also helpful for me to revisit certain parts of the event.
- Find a way to create community with the people that are part of your event.
- Mantras and hashtags can help affect people’s habits and actions. #CLSK
- Find some element of shared purpose. Quantify that purpose into team goals, then break them down into individual goals.
- Catch people doing things right and find ways to recognize them by name, through slides, social media, and messaging platforms.
- What are some of your core philosophies that you want people on your team to learn and adopt? Find ways to weave those into your events.
- End your events with What’s Important Now (W.I.N.). Review upcoming events in the calendar and create action as the event winds down.
- Creating opportunities for interaction helps make events great. If you’re teaching a simple concept, pose a question and get people to write their answer for a few minutes (either in a journal or a word document on their desktop). Next, create breakouts rooms for people to discuss their answers in small groups to create engagement and involvement. Have a debrief of people’s experience among the group, either verbally or through the chat box.
Show Notes for this episode provided by Lyn Ginelsa, Cutco/Vector’s Western Region Events Manager.
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