Michelle Markwart Deveaux
Michelle Markwart Deveaux is leading “Before the Tech Stack, Systems” and “Pay Attention to the Tech Behind the Curtain” at the 2023 NATS Winter Workshop in Miami.
We’re looking forward to your upcoming sessions at the NATS 2023 Winter Workshop! Give us a brief overview. What can attendees hope to take away?
From the first session, folks will walk away with a solid understanding of what an SOP [standard operating procedure] is, why they are the first step into tech for the studio, and how to choose tech in a meaningful and low-shenanigans way! We tend to put the tech cart before the systems horse — and get wooed into shiny object system, right? The goal is that folks can give themselves a break when they need it, and make choices that make sense for their desired outcomes. Every voice professional needs tech tools — so let’s be sure they enact our systems, and allow our business/studio to be in alignment with our mission, vision, and business model!
As for the second session, I have to admit, I am REALLY excited about showing people what is “under the hood.” One of the great disservices our field experiences is people hiding the reality of what kind of tech stack and systems it takes to run a business — the lack of transparency causes people to make costly mistakes, spend energy they don’t need to spend, and waste time on ideas that really don’t apply to their studio. This “Ask Me Anything” session is a way for people to ask someone who is transparent (to a fault sometimes!) all those questions that feel “aren’t allowed.” I want people to know what mistakes I’ve seen made and have made myself, discover what tech they shouldn’t bother with for their model, and get a big fat “GO FOR IT!” from a person who does this every day. PICK MY BRAINS TO BITS, Y’ALL!
Sounds great! It seems like there are tons of tech solutions to sort through. Can you give us an example (or two) of tech for the studio that you’ve seen used in way to increase effectiveness or efficiency? What about an example of “tech gone wrong?”
Hands down, in 2022, every studio or business (yes, both academic and private) must have a robust scheduling software plus a powerful payment gateway, and know how to use it well. The amount of time and mental energy this saves in the long run is exponential in comparison to the time and mental energy one will spend setting it up and learning it. On the flip side — using the same tech as an example: LESS robust versions of both of these things is where I see things go wrong. One needs to have tech that will allow a business and studio to grow into something else. Usually, when people pick tech for where they are right now, it goes south quickly because the platforms or softwares limit growth and wind up sabotaging revenue and/or time and energy management.
My thinking is that it’s usually not the tech itself that causes the issue: it’s the system being unclear, with desired outcomes being undefined, that leads to “tech gone wrong.”
And if it IS the tech that has gone wrong, 70% of the time it’s user error and 30% it’s something we have no control over anyway, like an update that exposes a bug in the code.
Makes sense. OK, so what is one of the biggest hurdles for studio teachers in regards to embracing tech for the studio?
Other than what I previously mentioned about not being clear on desired outcomes, I think fear of the internet, softwares, and computers, coupled with a learned helplessness around those things is the biggest hurdle. Learning some basic best practices on how the internet can be used, having a general understanding about how conditional logic works, and a bookmark to YouTube is all one needs. The resistance to certain tools also comes from a perception that it will take a long time to learn, or a misunderstanding of why it’s important to implement a tool. Studio teachers will often tell me their resistance is around time and “not being good at tech.” Yet, after we do some unpacking on what they really mean, we discover that it’s a fear of the unknown. Which is always so funny to me, because we performers are trained to be good at taking risks and playfulness and trying to break things!
Very true! In advance of the workshop, do you recommend attendees do any pre-reading or pre-work?
For the whole workshop: Set an intention about what you want to experience; who you want to talk to. Cultivate openness and a spirit of curiosity. Or, plan to come with the intent to begin a journey that you’ll continue after you leave the conference! All the presenters are SO fabulous — I am truly honored to be in their presence and be counted among them! As for me, my intent is to come and soak up the goodness and then apply new things after I return to the office.
For the sessions I’ll be doing: Download the workbook associated with “Before the Tech Stack, Systems” and read it over when it’s posted. Read the blog over at thespeakeasycooperative.com and peruse the site, and the social media platforms we engage in (Instagram: @thespeakeasycooperative) and Facebook: Faithculturekiss studio: Home of The SpeakEasy Cooperative.) Do this so that you come with specific and targeted questions for “Pay Attention to the Tech Behind the Curtain!” If you wanna be super fancy, you can list out all the tools you currently use for the work you do so you can do an audit of them as we talk about systems.
Oh, and for good measure, I always tell people to read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, “Range” by David Epstein, and “The Art of the Inquiry: The Secret to Revenue, Relationships, and Retention” by me. 😁
Anything else you would like to add about your sessions or the workshop?
DeMar and the whole crew has been so generous as to allow Karen Michaels and The SpeakEasy Cooperative to have a table to meet and greet our fellow wonderful NATS people. As I did in Chicago, I’ll be offering a limited number of complimentary mini 1:1 coaching sessions for a few hours each day, so be sure to book to chat with me at the booth once we all get there. And grab Karen’s social media planner at the booth, too. You’re gonna want that.
Also, make sure you reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if my team and I can be of assistance in regard to the workshop or our sessions ahead of time.
Thank you to all who are working so diligently to be sure that our time in Miami is fruitful and impactful. (Who wants to take me to see a little nightlife?)
Catch Michelle Markwart Deveaux presenting “Before the Tech Stack, Systems” and “Pay Attention to the Tech Behind the Curtain” at the 2023 NATS Winter Workshop along with our other wonderful presenters at the 2023 NATS Winter Workshop in Miami, January 6-8.
Save money by registering early. Early-bird deadline has been EXTENDED to Saturday, November 12, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. ET. ($249 NATS member rate; $279 after November 12). Don’t delay, register today!