Omnipress Gives Back – Free Sites for Conference Handouts

Published by Steve Manicor | Topics: Associations

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In a time where the economy is wreaking havoc on the meeting industry with declining attendance, canceled meetings and budget cuts, I feel proud to work for a financially strong company whose leadership is willing to help others in a time of need.

So when our CEO, David McKnight, brought the leadership team together and told us, “we’re going to help associations by creating professionally designed web sites (with search, access control and site tracking) to distribute their conference handouts at no charge and with no strings attached,” you can bet I was smiling.

Get the offer details here: Omnipress Gives Back

Free Sites for Conference Handouts –
An Interview with David McKnight (Omnipress CEO)

Chris Uschan: Tell me about the free online offer that Omnipress has made available to associations.

David McKnight: Omnipress is offering to take content that associations have developed for their conference and place it on line in user-friendly searchable format. There is no purchase necessary to take advantage of this offer. The offer is designed for those associations who are struggling to make ends meet and are considering not sharing educational content at their meetings.

Chris Uschan: Why is Omnipress doing this?

David McKnight: We recognize the challenges our customers face in these uncertain times. Conference attendance is a concern for all of us. But clearly the health of this industry requires that we continue to find ways to distribute content efficiently. Everything right now is about saving money and we feel this offer will help those in need. The last thing we need is for associations to stop sharing information at their meetings. Education is one of our best ways to get out of our current economic challenges and we want to help the meetings industry continue their mission.

Chris Uschan: Why is Omnipress the right company to make the content available online?

David McKnight: Omnipress has been helping associations for 30 years with collecting, processing and producing education content for conferences. While print has been our foundation, we have been delivering a significant amount of content in digital products over the past 12 years. We feel we can do it very efficiently and save our customers time and money. We also understand that their IT staff is more than likely working on larger, critical projects… working with us is easy and we are very responsive.

Chris Uschan: Is there a catch to the offer?

David McKnight: Absolutely not. If all someone wants is a web site to share their session handouts, we’re here to help with no strings attached. It doesn’t stop there though. Our Account Managers have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to creative ideas to help associations lower the costs associated with their on-site conference materials. Should an association have needs much bigger than just a web site, we can help with many cost-effective ways to produce and deliver conference content.

Chris Uschan: Is moving conference content on-line the right thing to do?

David McKnight: Clearly it’s a cost-effective solution. Will it meet all of your attendees or member needs? No. People have different learning styles. Content on the internet is typically scanned, not read, so it might not be the best learning tool. There are also generational learning differences to consider.

Chris Uschan: If you were in charge of sharing educational materials to attendees what would you do?

David McKnight: First, Powerpoint has devalued the on-site handouts. Slides are for talks, not handouts. I would required speakers to share a 2 or 4 page synopsis of their talk (not slides). This paper would include an overview, key learning points and resources (something of substance that one could read and find value after the event). Combine these short papers with a place for notes (e.g., a journal) and the conference program information and you now have a useful, on-site reference book. Now your conference book has value and longevity. For the slides, I’d place them on a web site in printer-friendly, 3-up format and provide access to view and print before and during the event… Then send numerous email reminders to attendees on what to expect with their materials. When it comes to change, you need to communicate often. By only printing short papers, you save on paper, save money and maximize the attendee learning. It’s an investment in the attendees. It brings value to your conference.

Chris Uschan: What is Omnipress’ vision for future content solutions to help associations deliver knowledge?

David McKnight: Options. Producing content on different media to meet the needs of a society that is used to getting it their way. The process of “education”  and what is “effective” education is different for different people. Educators have known for years that most of us learn best when we can hear, see and interact with the content. Distributing content via the internet is just part of an overall strategy to get information to the world. Emerging social technologies offer compelling opportunities for speakers and attendees to network, collaborate and share content easier then ever. Currently, we are developing an online solution that integrates newer technologies and best practices to help enhance face-to-face meetings and create a home for all the great content and ideas shared at an event.


About Steve Manicor

Steve is Omnipress' Director of Business Development. He has over five years serving the meetings and training industry. He leads our product/service leadership and development teams. more

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