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Production Value Matters Podcast

How to Facilitate an Engaging Conference: Build a Community with Liz Lathan

November 7, 2023

How to Facilitate an Engaging Conference: Build a Community with Liz Lathan

November 7, 2023
Host(s): Matthew Byrne
Guest(s): Liz Lathan



In this episode of Production Value Matters, host Matthew Byrne is joined by Liz Lathan, Co-Founder & CEO of The Community Factory.


Join them as they:

  • Delve into the importance of building a community 
  • Discuss how most conferences can be quite boring
  • Outline why audiences need to feel energized in order to learn
  • Talk about why a sense of belonging is so vital for everyone
  • And more!


Liz Lathan is the Co-Founder & CEO of The Community Factory, a Community as a Service (CaaS) solution for companies looking to drive pipeline and revenue through loyal, organic growth strategies. She is also the Chief Community Officer at Ichi Community and Team CMO, as well as being the Co-Founder and former CMO of Haute Companies.


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Create Environments Where People Can Fit In – Liz describes herself as a seeker, and as she was an only child growing up, she’s always felt like she didn’t really fit in anywhere. Her solution to this was to create environments for people where they feel like they could fit in; her entire career was based around creating beautiful programs for people, and having done this for so long, she’s realized that she’s not alone in her inability to fit into things, despite being an extrovert. There’s something comforting about this, knowing that others feel the same way. Community, as she describes it, is not a place nor is it a platform, rather it’s the way people embrace you when you go somewhere, and knowing this now, it’s meant she’s been able to help others feel like they belong.


Bring People Together With Content – Liz doesn’t want to discourage anyone from attending conferences geared more towards content, in fact she still enjoys going to those kinds of conferences. She says that, when it comes to content, you need to be able to bring people together, whether that’s through a workshop or helping them solve problems, the key is to make them feel as though they’re a part of something. Liz talks about a time she went to a keynote conference, and one of the rooms was converted into a living room space with furniture, which made the keynote speaker engage with the audience more and make them feel comfortable. 


Boredom Leads to Good Things – It was Liz’s boredom that drove her into building The Community Factory. She was bored of the same conferences with the same topics and the same content, and oftentimes people will sit in a dark room and listen to the keynote speaker in the hopes of feeling motivated but… that very rarely happens. Instead people get tired, bored, and exhausted from having to pretend. So, therefore, she wanted to create something where people wouldn’t feel like that, where people could actually gain real, energizing value from conferences. 


Provide Your Audience With a Sense of Place – In order to succeed when intertwining content delivery and building a community, Liz says that you need to be able to provide people with a sense of place, rather than the feeling that they’re walking into a dark, general session room and writing emails whilst someone on stage speaks. You need to make them feel like they’re really getting something out of their time here, something of value. If you walk in and feel like you’re part of a live studio audience, you’re less likely to go on your phone and more likely to be an active audience member because, well, who doesn’t want to be on TV? It doesn’t take much to accomplish this, only little tweaks and implementations to bring people together in a different way. It’s about bringing the audience the same content but delivered in a different way.