10 Reasons You Should Collect Speaker Materials Online
Over the years, we have seen many of our customers move from alternative methods of collecting speaker materials to collecting this same content online.
The most common scenario we run into is an overworked meeting planner spending hours of every day trying to organize and correspond with hundreds of their potential authors via email. Then the planner’s workload rises greatly during the last few weeks before the deadline rush, as you know that presenters will make edits right up until they’re at the podium. This doesn’t even cover some of the other ways that material can come in… such as CD, flash drive, FTP, or <<gasp>> hard copy. So it’s no surprise why these meeting planners are looking for a smarter way to collect these materials from their authors.
Knowing all this, I asked my fellow colleague Sean Lawler, Product Manager of Online Collection, Conference Recording, and eCommerce/fulfillment services to share why collecting speaker content online makes sense.
10 Reasons on Why You Should Consider Collecting Speaker Materials via an Online Collection System
- Eliminate The Email Assault – Watch your inbox get lonely while your audience moves to an online system. Large files in your inbox are now just forwarded chain emails from your mother. You can always remove your spam filter if you need to compensate for the reduced traffic.
- Make Your Authors Do The Work – When you’re collecting author data via clearly defined form fields and upload areas, you remove the ambiguity from the submission process and make the author responsible for transferring the correct material to you. The system’s automatic feedback and instructions can greatly reduce support calls, increase compliance, and make you happy.
- A Centralized Area For Everyone – One place to hold all of your submission data, whether you’re a meeting planner, program or track chair, reviewer, author or co-author. No matter your role or your sleep schedule, you’ll have real-time access to the latest data in the system. There’s the added benefit that since the system is on the internet everyone has 24/7/365 access, which is great for a globally-diverse audience.
- Mass Emails Are Easy – A good collection system should feature the ability to email your entire author pool. Additional functionality such as email templates, filtering (e.g. send to the entire pool, or just those who haven’t finished their submission), and form emails can personalize emails and get them to the right people with little effort.
- Your Time Is Worth More – While an online collection system is obviously going to cost something, consider how much time and sweat you currently devote to your collection duties. Delegate that work to the collection system and the users and free up your schedule.
- Stay Organized – An online collection system can keep your submissions organized by title, author names, etc., but these systems also typically contain an array of reporting tools, filtering options, and data downloads that can help you coordinate your content. If you like to see and modify your data in a variety of ways, an online collection system might be right for you.
- Ease the Transfer of Materials to Print, CD, Flash Drive or Online – We get content from over 800 organizations a year for their final Print, CD, Flash Drive, and/or online products. Only a portion of these organizations use an online collection system. It’s usually much less work for both the planners and the final production staff if the data is provided in a consistent, organized digital format and we know from experience that an online collection system can really help with that.
- Provide a Consistent Experience For Your Authors – If you collect author materials in both Call for Papers/Abstracts/Proposals and Final Collection phases, your accepted authors won’t be struggling when they need to submit their final materials because they will already be familiar with the collection system. Your prolific authors also notice if you use the same collection system from year to year, even though you might be collecting different content this time.
- Facilitate Unbiased Reviewing – If you’re reviewing submitted abstracts, you can recruit reviewers to use your online collection system to rate your submitted materials. Not only will you benefit from everything being located in the same system but configuring the review process for blind/peer reviewing, recognizing reviewer conflict of interest, and allowing a reviewer to recuse can help remove bias from the process. This has become especially important when publishing collected content to industry journals.
- Get Your Program Scheduled – Many online collection systems also include some sort of program scheduling tool. You might work better when you build your program using a grid of Post-Its® on the wall. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you prefer all of your submission data and program information in an easily accessible place, most collection systems have this feature.
As you may know, we offer an online system for call for papers, abstract management and collecting speaker presentations. You can learn about this (watch our 5 minute self-running presentation) on our web site.