Lizzy Williamson, Event Energizer at Two Minute Moves
Mia Masson (MM):Good morning. Good evening, Lizzy. How are you? I am so excited to be here with you, Mia.
Thanks for joining us. You're like Evolve’s fitness queen and I'm so excited for our community to hear from you. What time is it there?
Lizzy Williamson (LW):It’s 6:00 PM. So it's pretty good because you'll often find me up at three in the morning doing events all around the world. This is very civilized!
MM: That is the beauty of virtual being able to make it accessible to anyone, but also must be tough on your sleep cycle.
Yes, but it energizes me so much. I just love the fact that I can be there in the middle of the night, with people on the other side of the world. I’ve grown to love it.
MM:That's amazing. I'd love to speak to you about your involvement with the Evolve Community, because as you know, it is our Evolvers that are going to be watching this interview. And they would love to hear from you. Would you introduce what you do and a little bit about how and when you joined the Evolve Community?
LW:It was at Evolve Homecoming.
No matter how great the agenda and content, there's still moments in an attendee’s day when the energy naturally starts to drop, maybe this day to get a little bit of screen fatigue. That's when I came on and gave everyone a little chance to look away from the screen for a moment to move their bodies, to have a stretch. They felt more comfortable. They could return feeling re-engaged and ready to retain all this awesome content that you had for them.
That's when I really got to explore and go deeper into what you guys do. And I was actually really blown away. I was amazed at the energy of the Evolve Community, the way that you brought us all together, the connections that I made there and the relationships I’ve built, thanks to the Evolve’s support through all of that.
MM:That’s what I really get from you. It's fun, it’s caring for your community and wanting to build something coming from a genuinely supportive place. Wanting to cheer everyone on and go, ”What can we do for you all to make this community, building this connection building much easier?”
LW: I'm just so thrilled to be part of it.
MM: I have to admit that it's tough to strike the right tone. But when you have a community of everyone in the same industry facing the same challenges during a historically difficult time, you naturally find that openness, supportiveness and that attitude of sharing and caring, which has been really incredible for me to see in this community and in the industry as a whole. What do you see as the value in a community like Evolve?
LW: I think it's really easy to connect with someone. It's easy to press that connect button on LinkedIn, right? And then you might never see that person come up on your feed again! You might never reconnect with them. But what I'm after and what I think so many of us are after is these deeper relationships with each other. So that's not just surface-level, like “Yeah. I've accepted the connection. Never really hear from you again”
I want to know what you're doing. I want to know how I can help you. I want to be able to support each other and that's why it’s so great to have a platform like this because otherwise I think that the connection can sometimes stay very surface-level. A community (like Evolve) allows us to have these more meaningful connections and be part of something that is just bigger than me here in my studio on the other side of the world, by myself. And I think that helps drive me forward every day. And I'm sure it helps a lot of people as well.
MM: Love that. So tell me about your personal experience over the past 20 months. Were you always doing things online or did that change when the pandemic hit?
LW: I was a “live” girl! I was a performer up on the stage at huge conferences and events. I would get up in those moments in between speakers, where you look around and people are starting to twitch in their seats and stifle their yawns and look around. That was my moment to get up on stage and get everyone moving, energized, refocused and refreshed.
And so when the pandemic hit, when all the live events that I had we canceled, I came home and I just thought everything that I have been working towards is over, that's all that I had known. My goals were completely set up in the live event space.
I had never sort of really thought about virtual. And so, I spent a few days with the blanket over my head thinking “Oh my gosh, I can't believe this is over!”
I found the place where my business really sits and then I came in here and I got my whiteboard marker. I thought, “Okay, what are the new problems? What are the opportunities here?”
Everything's going virtual. What does that look like? When someone is sitting there and in their home with lots of distractions, staring at a screen, we get screen fatigue sets in about the 30-minute mark, they're not getting up as much as they would with they're at a live event, walking to the next session.
They're not having those moments where they can see someone and get the energy and connection from that face-to-face meeting. A lot of the virtual events were long and back-to-back without breaks in between the speakers. And as I was riding on this whiteboard, “Whoa!”
I could, in all of this mess and through all of this hard stuff that everyone is dealing with, I could make a difference to someone's day. I could actually bring my moment of energy, of positivity, of joy. I could get someone moving their body, they feel better, and I could help in this space of the virtual world where engagement can be so challenging.
And there's nothing like putting on a great song, getting everyone moving together, and put a smile on everyone's face. So what I thought was the end of my business was actually, when I really looked at the problems I could solve, the beginning.
It was the beginning of my business that has now grown so dramatically. I've been able to reach so many people at such amazing events all around the world. I could lift people up at a time where I think everyone really needed that extra lift.
MM: Well, your story has just lifted me up. That was so inspiring, Lizzy. When you said that you pulled the blanket over your head, I think that really strikes a chord with what so many people felt. And maybe are still feeling. People that have been in the events space for a long time and have been like you, working towards certain goals that maybe now are not even relevant anymore. You completely turned that challenge on its head and said, “I've got you and I'm going to make something out of this!” So congratulations, because I've seen you all over social media and I saw what you did at Evolve Homecoming. You really do get people lifted up and make a peak of energy during the day.
LW: Thank you.
MM: I'm wondering about all of your energy and those nonverbal cues that you could have in a physical event, how do you transfer that online through a screen to someone sitting at home? Do you have any tips for event organizers that are in this community that are trying to get to the core of that virtual engagement? That's been so tough to crack.
LW: Yeah. The first few that I did after I finished, I just bawled my eyes out because there is nothing, no interaction. And when the chat is quiet, it's like, oh, this is awful.
Then I started to get really used to it. I started to get a lot of feedback. You start to notice in the chat of people going, “Thank you! I needed that.” I’ve learned to trust that this is translating to them. So the first thing is I always come back to my purpose and my why, which is really about how can I lift people up through getting them moving? How can I make them feel better by disrupting long hours of sitting and staring at a screen?
Bringing those micro moments of positivity, energy and joy. When I come into my events with that behind me, with a really strong purpose, a strong why, I look into the camera and I think of one person. That one person changes, but I speak to that one person who I know right now really needs this moment to move, stretch, whatever it is that they need.
Who are you talking to when you are staring at a little camera hole and that can really make a big difference? When you see someone come to an event with energy, that's when you see the chat light up and they say, “Love your energy, this is fantastic!”
Energy comes from a reason why you were there and not forgetting that you are actually still speaking to that one person, you would look around in a crowd and see that person. But certainly for me, it has taken some practice and I feel like the more that I have done it, the better I get at it.
MM: I even sometimes, 20 months later, still feel a little shift when I'm talking to the camera. Now I'm feeling more comfortable. I think it’s really inspiring how the people that you have at your events can bring that energy and remind them in some kind of ways of the purpose of the event that you’re attending.
LW: What is it that you are wanting your attendees to feel? What is your intention for them? What action are you wanting them to take? That drives energy and engagement.
MM: That's an amazing piece of advice. Evolvers, I hope you heard that. Go back to the why. Go back to the purpose. This counts for every speaker at your event, it counts for you as the event organizer that is putting on this whole event. You need to remember the core reasons why you're doing it all and the energy will naturally come. Thank you, Lizzy
If you’re burning to share your story and want your fellow eventprofs in on it, we want to hear from you! It’ll be great for the community to learn from one another while you’ll rest easy knowing your story is out there in the world doing some good.