You have found this page because you have been invited to be part of a yBC Symposium. This page should provide you with an initial set of answers to some of the frequently asked questions we get about our symposia.
What is a yBC Symposium?
A yBC Symposium is a carefully produced, TV-quality virtual roundtable featuring leading thinkers discussing the topics that matter the most.
While this is a format that we often deliver to clients as part of wider projects or campaigns, yBC is also producing a number of purely editorial (non-commercial, non-sponsored) symposia around topics we care about.
Why is yBC doing this?
Think of this as our CSR. We could do charity fun runs or other activities – but we’ve decided to do something more powerful. We have chosen to invest in making engaging online panel discussions around “hot topics” which currently have a very high level of interest and relevance. These are usually topics we also feel strongly about.
For some of these topics, we would go as far as saying that we feel a huge moral obligation to elevate the conversation around these important issues – not just because they are interesting, but because they are important to all of us.
Importantly, we know that if we do our part well, those involved in the symposium will share the content far and wide (including with their well connected allies and contacts), so that our combined efforts help to elevate the conversation around the topic we have chosen.
What experience does yBC have?
18 years of content development for clients in the UK, Europe, North America, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. Clients range from global brands to niche consultancies. We are known for creating “bingeworthy content”, exploring new formats, and helping clients communicate with impact. For a sampling of recent projects, see our news posts. For more general information about yBC, our main website is here.
What’s yBC’s agenda?
We don’t have one. We are interested in exploring hot topics and brining the right people together to do this. We think that key topics we suggest will be of interest to lots of people, which is why we’re prepared to do it at no cost. We also ensure that those who we ultimately involve in a symposium will put the content to very good use, sharing widely, so that all of our efforts are not wasted.
What’s the catch?
There is none. This is a way of us connecting meaningfully with talented, connected thinkers and making a difference. We are not selling anything. We will not on-sell the content. There are no advertisers or sponsors. We are genuinely interested in evolving the conversation around the topic (or range of topics we have suggested to you). We’re covering all production costs. We have (other) commercial projects which pay the bills. We are doing this simply to elevate the visibility of hot topics which we think need more attention.
What preparation is required?
None. Those on the panel will be subject matter experts, and will already have their angle/point of view/position clearly in place. They are also likely to be articulate! So it remains for them to join the panel and discuss.
Who will be the facilitator and what is their experience?
Likely Mark Sinclair. Mark is editor in chief of yBC.tv’s series of ReThink shows.
Mark has led our editorial arm (including for commercial projects) since the business started in 2005. He has conducted hundreds of non-scripted interviews including with well known personalities like Sir Richard Brandson, Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, Eden Project founder Tim Smit, Guardian columnist George Monbiot and many more. He has interviewed CEO’s, academics, politicians, sportspeople and other experts, and has been a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists in the UK. Mark has also co-written and published two books and written countless articles and blog posts. He prefers to interview individuals and moderate groups of experts where he himself has some knowledge of the field but is not an expert in the subject, meaning that he usually holds no set view and is genuinely seeking to understand more. He is a strong advocate of journalistic integrity.
Where’s the studio?
Your office, home office, hotel room or dining table. Each person records from where they are (in the world). We will be recording each panellist locally in high quality, at the same time. We then use post production techniques to elevate the quality of the video. Given multiple time zones (in many cases) this means that with a live panel discussion people will be located in a variety of places.
What do I need for the session?
You just need a laptop or tablet, a good wifi connection, a quiet space and reasonable lighting. We can help you check all of this ahead of time. Note: this is not conducted over Zoom due to low quality – we use a variety of industry leading platforms which record in high quality.
How long will this take?
Probably a total of 10-15 minutes (in total) arranging logistics ahead of time, and 60-90 minutes for the online symposium itself.
Can I have my PR colleague/consultant sit in?
We have always said no to this – for 18 years we’ve been interviewing people. This is in the same boat as an interview with TVNZ, the BBC, CNN or Radio New Zealand, except that it’s an online symposium in this case. We also don’t share questions in advance, as we find people come over-prepared (and sometimes scripted), and that lacks authenticity and works against viewer engagement. We may broadly outline topics, but often don’t need to as we are dealing with the experts!
What else do I need to do?
The only thing that we ask is that you and your colleagues/organisation make the most of the engaging content that we create together. In practical terms, this means that you need to be prepared to share it widely with your contact base, and also in any appropriate comms which you send out to your networks.
How much distribution are you guaranteeing? Who will this reach?
This opportunity is not like appearing on a top blog with millions of subscribers. We are interested in making super engaging content. It can then be shared by any panelist (and their key contacts) or us, via an embedded player on our website. This means it works from email, social media, blogs and your own website. We often find that if the content is engaging enough, others who you are connected to might want to share it. We may also send it to media.
One of our key considerations when we select our final panellists for a particular symposium is that they are likely to take this content once produced and put it to very good use. We like to see our engaging content being used enthusiastically.
Do you have any tips to ensure I look good in the Symposium?
Yes. We are likely to conduct the interview on a Zoom-like platform (but much higher quality). It will be relatively easy for you to use. We will send you a link close to the time. Please rest assured that some of our best (and best received/most engaging) interviews have been captured using this method.
It may seem obvious, but based on experience, the following guidelines do help some people:
- Please be ready ahead of time – allow 10/15 minutes before the symposium starts.
- Check your hair, clothes and teeth (!) beforehand – please be happy with your appearance
- Try not to wear any clothing with thin stripes or super contrasting colours.
- Given that we are involving you remotely, online:
- you are best to use small headphones or air buds for audio at your end.
- please have a strong, secure internet connection
- ensure that you are in a room which does not sit next to noise (traffic, noisy colleagues, the lift well)
- try and frame yourself against a nice backdrop (something neutral/simple)
- do not use virtual backgrounds (such as available on Zoom)
- no over-the-top branding please – we’ll add information about where you are from
- No need to prepare significantly:
- You already know the subject matter very well. We will not deviate from this.
- No notes please, and certainly no scripted answers. You wouldn’t do this for the BBC, CNN, TVNZ or any other channel. Please don’t do this for us.
- We will start with a general chat/warm up.
- Please don’t feel the need to tense up. We will conduct this as a relaxed discussion.
What else do I need to know?
Our Terms of Interview (which also covers your involvement in a yBC Symposium) can be found here. In agreeing to take part in a yBC symposium, you are agreeing to these terms.
I have questions not answered here in this FAQ. What should I do?
Please get in touch with us!