An Open Letter to Hosts of Virtual Summits

Dear Person Who Is Creating a Virtual Summit:

Kudos to you for taking on this big project and huge organizational challenge!

Since most people who host online summits do so as a tactic to grow their audience size, as you go about selecting the “experts” who will speak/present/be interviewed for your summit, it’s likely that you may be looking for people who already have a large audience.

This is only natural: you want their audience to become your audience.

So it’s not surprising if you want to ask your potential invitees the size of their mailing lists before you sign them on your “guest expert” roster.

You have a goal for a certain number of people you’re hoping the summit will bring on board, and by adding up the numbers in your various “experts’” audiences, you can get a rough idea of how many people will, at the very least, be exposed to the summit. And hopefully some decent percentage of those will subscribe.

Be advised, however, that inviting people to participate in your summit, and asking them to set aside time for a phone appointment with you, BEFORE you let them know that you have a MINIMUM LIST SIZE, is very bad business practice.

When someone sets aside time on their calendar to speak with you about your summit — for which you have already invited them to present…

And then you get them on the phone and tell them all about your summit, and what a good fit you think they’d be…

And then you ask them the size of their list…

And then you UN-invite them, because their list is not up to your standards…

This is Very Bad Business Practice.

In fact, it is a very fast way to burn bridges.

So, as you plan your summit (which I’m sure will be absolutely wonderful, and not just the same old, same old, which everyone and their mother seems to be doing these days), I suggest that it would be wise and politic for you to let your potential “guest experts” know in advance that list size is more important to you than the value that they might conceivably bring to your summit’s audience, and that you are only inviting “guest experts” who have a list size of X-thousand or more (whatever your particular specifications are), before they move things around in their calendar in order to accommodate a phone call with you.

If you waste people’s time, and UN-invite them to something that you had previously invited them to, it has a tendency to make them not think very kindly toward you.

With that in mind, I wish you a wonderful summit!

Melissa Dinwiddie

Originally published at on March 12, 2016.

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