UpLift Live conference feedback

The relentlessly helpful® blog by John Espirian

24 April 2024
UpLift Live conference feedback

Here’s the feedback we received on the first UpLift Live conference. I’m focusing here on the suggestions for improvement rather than simply sharing all of the mostly very positive compliments about the event.

It’s great to read the lovely things people have said about UpLift Live, but I’m most interested in the suggestions for improvement, so that we can make things even better next time.

I’ve broken down the feedback into the categories below. Each category contains an anonymised set of feedback, with my own answers under each point.

(If you missed How we made UpLift Live, do take a look after you’ve read this.)


During the LaunchPad calls, have breakout rooms with speed networking with 3 or 4 people answering some quirky/professional questions so that people could get to know each other a little.

Good idea. I still haven’t experimented with breakout rooms in Zoom, but I’m open to trying this for future LaunchPad calls.

Name badges for the pre-party drinks?

We considered this for the pre-party but wanted to keep the event informal.

We’ll have to have another think about this, including whether it makes sense to give out conference lanyards and badges for the main event on the night before. (What if they get lost or damaged?)

Loved the idea of the pre-party but the space wasn’t the best, and it was hard to hear people. I would suggest trying a different venue for next year.

Yes, many people said the same, and I agree. We were expecting 70–80 people but turnout was more like 100 people.

Perhaps we’ll need a pre-party registration system next time.

More structure at the pre-party to help the socially awkward.

That would be easier in a quieter space, but we also want to keep things informal. Do parties need to be structured?


On arrival (even if delayed) I would have benefitted from having the water and toilets pointed out. Tell people there are also toilets downstairs.

Good point. I did have in mind to ensure we pointed out toilets and refreshments to everyone entering the venue, so we’ll have to do better with that next time.

Make the quiet room easier to find. I really needed it by the afternoon break, but no one seemed to know where it was.

Yes, we definitely should have done better with that. I know some people did get into that quiet space and appreciated it. Sorry to anyone who missed out.

Having a map of the venue somewhere – maybe in the agenda booklet – so showing toilets, prayer room and speakers room would be good.

We’ll see whether the venue can provide that for us next time. We’re at Millennium Point again in 2025, so I hope this ought to be possible.

Have the WiFi password on the big screen.

Definitely. When we toured the venue before the event, we believed that the WiFi password would change by the time of the conference, so we didn’t put it onto any of the onscreen graphics.

I certainly would have appreciated this if I were an attendee. We’ll get it sorted for next year.

Maybe have a place where people can say they will meet in the conference so that those who have connected can set a time and meet. Because of the numbers, it’s hard to know who is in the room.

Perhaps it’s possible for us to create temporary “landmarks” in the venue to help with meetups like this.

Sadly the venue wasn’t ideal for me. The cinema style seating was cramped and stuffy. The intimacy of the welcome area was lost when in the main room. There was nowhere for a notebook or laptop and I saw people balancing things on their knees. No place for drinks – the mugs didn’t fit in the cup holders! Squeezing past people already seated was not easy!

We can’t do anything about that for the next year at least, as we’re back at Millennium Point for UpLift Live 25.

The type of venue we’re using is set up for the presentation style that our speakers have been tasked to deliver. I’m not sure how we could change things in future to give people more space without losing something.

I’m open to ideas if anyone wants to discuss this further.

Location was a bit tough to get to with it being in such a built up area. Why are events held in cities within the congestion zone charges? There are plenty of conference centres that are not within these zones that are suitable!

We chose Birmingham for its good transport links, and Millennium Point was one of the best conference venues I’ve been to.

If anyone could suggest better venues that are more accessible, please let us know, and we’ll consider them for 2026 and beyond.

The area where people stayed during the breaks, with the large tables. A different interior would have been more suitable for a short break. I found it difficult to make contact with new people during the breaks.

It would be good to understand how the interior could be better suited to short breaks and networking.

Speakers and content.

The three from Mission Control should have introduced themselves.

We did but only briefly, as we wanted to get on with the main attraction.

Having spent months building up to the conference, we assumed that most attendees would have a good idea of who we were already.

Anyway, Mission Control comprises John Espirian, Jeremy Freeman and Gus Bhandal.

Set the tone in the intro, e.g. today is about x, y, z – and think about what your questions will be for the panel at the end.

Yes, that’s a good idea, though we ran out of time for questions during the Q&A, so people weren’t struggling for things to ask about.

Play music when people walk onto the stage.

We played some music with the audio sting that Mark Deeks made for us.

We didn’t go so far as to have different entry music for each speaker. I’ve seen that done at other conferences and it was a bit cheesy. (Perhaps that was just down to my musical tastes.)

The only thing missing from the speaker lineup, for me, was a talk on LinkedIn Advertising.

A few people mentioned LinkedIn ads, and we’re currently discussing topics for next year.

The screen was huge, and although most slides worked well, some really didn’t. Too much text was very difficult to read as it was so large and in your face, and the GIFs were very distracting.

We’ll keep this in mind for next time. And yes, no more GIFs.

Topics on Sales Navigator and more specialised presentation.

Not quite sure what “specialised presentation” means here. More in-depth content?

Ask speakers to ask permission before mentioning people during talks, and make sure they get names right.

Yes, good shout. If you haven’t already recorded your audio pronunciation on your LinkedIn profile, please do so now!

I felt some of the speakers didn’t have a clear message to get across so I felt a bit lost. I picked up great stuff from each of them but felt some were better than others.

It’s natural to enjoy some presentations more than others. It would be good to know which bits made people feel lost.

A couple of the speakers weren’t very relevant to me. I wonder if next year there could be something running through the day as an alternative to the talks if people wanted to dip out, e.g. the Q&A was fantastic. Maybe people could sign up for sessions with specific speakers outside of the standard agenda.

I wonder what impact that might have on the energy in the room if lots of people leave before a talk starts so that they could meet other speakers outside.

We’d need to put on a bigger event to justify running a proper second track to the main event, and that would have a major impact on cost. Perhaps this will be possible at a future event.

Slightly longer speaker times. I felt some presentations were rushed.

We preferred short and sharp so that we could accommodate 8 speakers and a Q&A while keeping time available for networking and breaks.

More time for Q&A, or Q&A at the end of each speaker’s session.

Q&A is always my favourite bit, as all the interesting questions come out when people are warmed up. It would be too stop-start to do this at the end of each talk, though.

The last hour where participants asked questions to all the speakers was incredibly good. Therefore, I think that part could easily be extended by 30 minutes. So, after the last two lectures, a 15-minute break, and then 1.5 hours of questions to the speakers, would have been wonderful in my world.

I wonder how long most attendees would want the day to be.

Yes, we could probably extend things, but then we might have to face people leaving during the Q&A or otherwise being simply too weary to participate properly.

Again, Q&A is my favourite bit, so I don’t object in principle to it being longer, but something has to give if that were the case.

Musical finale intro could have been shorter and sweeter. It really spoke for itself!

The tech setup was the long bit. The song itself was only 2 minutes!


There were two hashtags used which created confusion. Lots of scampering to change #UpLiftLive to #UpLiftLive24 when I saw that on the screen at the event. Only for posts after the event to then encourage people to check out #UpLiftLive to catch up on everything that happened during the event.

The plan was to use #UpLiftLive for general stuff about the conference and then to use #UpLiftLive24 for posts on the day of the conference.

Sticking to just #UpLiftLive for everything would be easier.

It would have been helpful to receive one “here’s everything you need for the day” type email so you had location, timings, agenda, etc. all in one place.

It felt as though we were sending out a lot of emails, so I wonder whether anyone felt there was too much information.

Having a summary email that contained everything might be an idea for next year, though.

The LaunchPad sessions were quite short noted. I would have joined at least one more but I could not arrange it, which was a pity.

We’re going to come up with a schedule for all LaunchPad calls and publicise these well in advance.


Don’t know who you approached to be sponsors this year, but felt like lots of the tech providers (social media scheduling tools, AI tools, etc.) would have been interested in having a presence.

There wasn’t too much interest in sponsoring the very first event of its type in the UK, but we’re hopeful that the success of the first conference will open doors for us to approach more sponsors for 2025.

The sponsor stands were difficult to get at and didn’t seem very inspiring.

The positioning seemed fine to me, and realistically there was nowhere else where the sponsors could have set up.

Sponsors (clockwise from top): Flamingo Marketing Strategies, DOHR, Milico
Sponsors (clockwise from top): Flamingo Marketing Strategies, DOHR, Milico


Lack of seating at lunchtime. I would like to have eaten my lunch sitting down. Maybe the welcome area could have been cleared to accommodate more tables and chairs.

We definitely looking at this for next year, especially if we sell even more tickets. If needs be, we will hire extra space so that people aren’t cramped during lunch.

Vegan sandwiches were great, but other stuff that was also vegan wasn’t in the same place – so salad, falafel, brownie etc on the main buffet so wasn’t aware it was available and then when did don’t want to go push in the main queue!

We’ll ask the venue to be even clearer with labelling.

I don’t think sandwiches are enough – I get really hungry at conferences! More salad style choices would have helped.

The sandwiches were a small part of what was laid on for lunch. There was also chicken, salmon, falafels, veggies and other goodies.

Food at UpLift Live conference
I won’t have a word said against the gluten-free vegan brownie – that was lush.

Vegan, GF and V should be at separate areas so the non veggies don’t eat the veggie bits etc.

We certainly need to be clear on labelling, but I wouldn’t want to restrict people from eating whatever they wish, so long as everyone is catered for. I don’t believe we ran out of food.

More lunch options

We had 6 items on the lunch menu, plus the sandwiches – and there was a fruit platter with pastries in the morning, with tea and coffee throughout the day. I think that’s a fair provision for refreshments.

Better sandwiches! They were pretty poor.

The sandwiches were actually a bonus to the core lunch menu that we put together.

Goodie bag and lanyards.

Change the goodie bag for next year. Two of the pens broke before I’d used them and I felt that the contents could have been more sustainable.

Definitely agree on the sustainability angle. I think less is more for the goodie bag.

Tell people what’s in the goodie bag. Hang a picture with the goodie bag content at the registration desk.

Great idea.

Swag bags, with fewer paper fliers, as I ended up recycling most of mine, and it felt like a waste.

Yes, I think it would be good to pare down what each attendee is given, and to separate the goodie bag from the conference programme.

Lanyard label was not strong enough. Many fell off and some were stuck together with white tape before the event started.

We’ll try to print on thicker material next time.

Put everyone’s LI QR on the badge. Ask people to upload as part of the registration/ticket purchase experience.

That would expect too much from attendees. We could potentially do this on their behalf but I wonder how much these codes would be used, especially if we handle do pre- and post-event networking well.

Have different colours for speakers, sponsors, Espresso+ members on the label.

Could be worth looking at next year, but it would be an additional printing cost.


For next year, I would love for there to be a little bit of a support group / buddy system / collaboration for international travellers to make it less daunting and easier to meet up before the events start.

If we create a discussion group for attendees, perhaps international delegates will be able to form such plans well ahead of time.

Don’t have it so close to Social Media Marketing World, as I’ve already bought my ticket for it and can’t really justify two conferences in one week.

On one hand, we don’t want to miss out on attendees coming to our event; on the other, we don’t want to be beholden to other events’ schedules.

Next year’s UpLift Live conference will be on 27 March 2025, and I expect we’ll stick with a March date for future conferences, too.

The guide for the event could have included X and Instagram handles for the speakers – obviously not that important but don’t necessarily want to post every picture and comment about the conference on LinkedIn alone.

Fair comment. We’ll see what our next set of speakers think about this. It’s in our interests and theirs to give them as much exposure as possible!

A box where participants can leave their lanyard after the event in order to recycle. Tell them about it at the end.

Good point about sustainability. I wonder how many people keep conference lanyards as a memento of such events.

What about a photobooth?

Good idea. We’ll have to look into the costs of that, but I like the community spirit of the suggestion.

What about a mini podcast on the day, going out maybe at intervals, like Lives, maybe, on LinkedIn, to really ramp up the interest and share the love? Quick chats with the delegates, how it’s going, what are they particularly enjoying, what are they looking forward to?

That might end up being a lot of effort for a very small number of listeners.

We did have some episodes of the UpLift Live podcast that were recorded in the buildup to the first conference, but very few people listened to it.

Maybe invite submissions to speak, to potentially widen the range of speakers/topics.

Might be an option for a future version of the conference, but we currently have more than enough speaking candidates for 2025.

We’re also well aware of the need for more diversity in our set of speakers. We’ve talked about this topic a lot behind the scenes but people who don’t know us might assume that this hasn’t been taken into account. I can assure you that that’s not the case at all.

Make it a 2-day event with more/longer networking breaks and more speakers.

We are considering offering workshops on the day after the conference, but the main event is still just a 1-day conference.

It’s entirely possible that some people will want to attend one or more workshops but not attend the conference at all, so we’ll need a separate registration process for that.

It would have been nice to have an after party or some way we could have all stuck together for a bit longer.

I didn’t want to commit to anything like this in the first year of the conference, purely because I had no idea what my energy levels would be like after the main event was concluded.

We’re looking at what we can do to keep the good vibes going after the end of the conference in 2025.

I was slightly disappointed that so many people left early after the event. I was hoping for more networking but I think people had enjoyed the night before and were tired and wanted to rest. Maybe more of a post party next year so it grows the community.

That isn’t the impression I got. We had the venue for 2 hours after the end of the conference, and there were still plenty of people around during that time. I know this because I was there playing games and signing books with lots of people!

Finish was running over slightly so I would have liked to know how much, so I could see if I could stay or needed to leave to get my train.

We’ll try our best to be even tighter with timings next year.

Many attendees weren’t aware that the stage timers failed for everyone who spoke in the afternoon session, so we did pretty well to end up where we did.

Your social media on the day was a bit light.

Fair comment, but all of the user-generated content from attendees has swamped my notifications in the month since conference.

Maybe people could post questions to speakers throughout the day – either digitally or dropping their question on a postcard into a gold fish bowl kind of thing. That could kick off the Q&A and also allow for speakers to answer those questions as a follow up to the event adding extra value for those attending the conference. Use Vevox app and submit questions through the day as they come up.

It’s a good idea to have a route for people to ask questions without having to jump on the microphone, so we’ll look at how best to handle that.

Thanks for the recommendation: I’d never heard of Vevox before.

Talk about sharing on social and use the hashtag.

We did make some references to this, but I’m glad we didn’t go overboard with it.

I’ve been to some conferences where it feels as though there are constant reminders that you have to share your excitement and quotes all over social media, which becomes quite tiresome after a while.

Promote the sponsors more.

If anyone has any practical suggestions about how this might work without making the whole thing feel like a big ad, I’d be pleased to hear them.

As someone who didn’t know anyone at the conference I did wonder if there could have been something more done with the downtime. Maybe some kind of structured networking? Or people having the opportunity to be grouped with other people in similar job roles?

This is why we organised the 5 LaunchPad calls and the pre-party.

Maybe there’s an opportunity to do something like speed networking during the day, to help people get to know each other better.

I was not completely aware of the before show stuff (not talking about the before show party). I think some groups had therefore already formed which made the event somewhat ‘clique’.

I guess this is a reference to the LaunchPad calls. We did quite a bit of communication around that, but perhaps not enough to reach absolutely everyone who had a ticket.

The vibe didn’t feel cliquey to me at all, but I’m probably biased as I knew most of the attendees.

Only one LinkedIn headshot person. Limit the numbers perhaps.

The headshot booth provided by The Headshot Guy was a nice bonus that we didn’t market in the run-up to the conference.

I didn’t have time to use the booth myself, as I was so busy on the day, but I know those that did really enjoyed it.

Expanding this service to attendees would have an impact on ticket prices.

I would have loved if dinner could have been included after the conference as it would have meant more networking. I know this would cost more for the ticket price but I’d happily pay that.

We’re hoping to do a post-party in 2025.

Maybe short workshops on certain topics.

Definitely in our plans. Stay tuned for more later in the year.

Finish on a positive.

As I said at the top, the feedback overall was really positive. So, for a bit of balance, here are just a few of the 50+ positive submissions about what attendees enjoyed about UpLift Live:

The HUGE attention to detail. Those fruit platters upon arrival, the healthy lunch with choices and options for all, the decent breaks of 30 minutes, that each speaker spoke for the same time, the quality control you had in place to ensure that presentations fitted well into the programme and didn’t overlap in terms of content, the friendly vibe of everyone, the pre-party the night before. I felt very well looked after. AND I felt like I learned a ton about all things LinkedIn from the great and the good. I was very happy I attended this!

… and …

The single track worked really well. The flow with having two speakers and then a break worked well and there was always tea and coffee during the breaks. Food was excellent and didn’t have any post lunch need for a nap.

… and …

EVERYTHING. But especially the consistent quality of the speakers and that you could easily find somewhere to sit. And coffee was ALWAYS available!

… and …

Rich learnings from incredibly knowledgeable and aware speakers. Gus’s compèring was great – a natural.

… and we could go on, but you get the point. People did like this event!

See video testimonials from attendees.

Let’s wrap up.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to making the first ever UpLift Live what it was.

And thanks to those of you who gave us constructive feedback on how we can make things better next time.

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Join us in Birmingham on Thursday 27 March 2025.

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John Espirian

I’m the relentlessly helpful®️ LinkedIn nerd and author of Content DNA

I teach business owners how to be noticed, remembered and preferred.

Espresso+ is a safe space to learn how to ethically promote your business online and get better results on LinkedIn.

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