3 min read
One of the greatest parts about Toucan is the people we share our excitement about community with. The Toucan community is so special and has been a source of inspiration, laughter, and support since the very beginning. And one of the members of our community that exemplifies everything we love is Shaily Hakimian.
Shaily found Toucan about a year ago (via Tik Tok, of all places!) and was one of our first big supporters. She is a lover of community and a pro at all things event planning, so she’s seen a lot of different technologies over the years and knows what it takes to develop a strong virtual presence.
For Shaily, Toucan provides the perfect environment for her clients to gather their community members. She is passionate about helping others develop their personas and connect with others effectively via online tools, and she does this through her work as a social media consultant. The most extraordinary thing about her is how fast her mind works and how she can internalize information to then form creative ideas. I get to see this every week at our Toucan Social, but I really got to see it a little while back when I attended one of her clients’ events.
The event I attended was hosted by a woman that coaches other women on how to get work as B2B consultants. In total, there were around 80 people who attended, making the Toucan space an exciting sight to behold. There were profile pictures dotted all around the screen, and among those pictures were tons of Meeting Spots with different prompts. Just a few of my favorites were: What is the best roadtrip snack?, Are you wearing pants?, What is the best bargain you got?, and What is your claim to fame? (Note to all Toucan hosts: Fun Meeting Spots really make a huge difference! Knowing that you’re in an environment where you can be open and silly makes any conversation flow smoother.)
Something to keep in mind is that virtual events - even on Toucan - require the care and attention that you would give an in-person event. Just like how you want all your guests at an IRL networking event to feel comfortable, making sure that virtual event guests get the attention they need and a solid introduction to the platform is extremely important. There are a few key steps to giving guests a solid welcome.
First, Shaily recommends creating a Meeting Spot, regardless of the event size, that says “Start Here.” This teaches newcomers the basic action of clicking the “Join” button on a group to move there. It is also very effective to have a seasoned Toucan user waiting in the “Start Here” spot, whose role is to walk newbies through the basics of the platform. And the cherry on top is that the “Start Here” spot serves as a great place for people to meet new folks and make connections right off the bat.
Second, making an announcement at the beginning of an event is always a great idea. Just like at an IRL event, the host should say hello to everyone, thank them for being there, explain where the refreshments table is - you get the gist. 😉 On Toucan, that takes the form of the host(s) getting up on Presenter Mode, addressing everyone at the event, and explaining a thing or two about how the platform works.
Lastly, Toucan’s “About Me” feature allows everyone to introduce themselves to the other people at the event however they’d like. You can write your job description, make a joke, add some emojis. Just be you. On top of that, you can add your social media and website. If lots of people fill out their profile and share a little bit about themselves, then it makes starting a conversation that much easier, not to mention following up/connecting afterwards.
The important part is that people have a good time, and part of that is making sure that nobody feels out of place. There are so many ways to make a Toucan environment feel just like everybody’s all together in person. If you’d like any more tips, just reach out to Shaily Hakimian or (even better) come chat with her at our weekly Toucan Social on Thursdays at 3pm ET. Email email@example.com to receive an invite!
Antonia Hellman is a co-founder and CEO of Toucan.
She is a senior at Stanford University studying political science, economics, and management science & engineering.
Prior to Toucan, her career experience has been in data science and political campaigning.
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