Every Speaker Wants to Feel Special

Published by Sean Lawler | Topics: Conferences, Online Collection Systems

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Since I’ve worked for over three years at an organization that specializes in educational meetings and trainings, I’m sensitive to the meeting coordinators’ plight of trying to get all the speakers to turn in their information on time (see our
tip sheet, the famous Dear Speaker letter).
That’s why I try my best to keep deadlines when I’m chosen to speak at events.

Although a couple of times I’ve found myself revising my final PowerPoint on the plane the day before my presentation, for the most part I get my handouts, bio and photo in by the deadline. But I still get the reminder emails that are shipped out to the general population of presenters, such as, “Hey – just a quick reminder that I need your final handouts by the end of this month. Just ignore this message if you’ve already turned them in!”

Those kinds of emails make me worry a little bit. Didn’t they get my handouts? (I usually feel obliged to write to the coordinator just to check if they got my stuff, and that necessitates extra, unneeded time on both ends.) Or perhaps they just haven’t taken the time to sort out the dids from the did nots? Or maybe they just don’t have a good mechanism in place to send separate emails to presenters in various stages of the process?

Most collection sites have at least the ability to send an email to your submitter pool. What are the system’s other email capabilities?

Here are several questions you should ask about your collection system’s email capabilities:

  • Do you have to type up a new message every time you want to send something, or can you save email templates for later?
  • Can you personalize blast emails with mail merge functionality?
  • Can you filter what users you send it to? For example: only corresponding authors, only speakers with incomplete submissions or only speakers with oral presentations so you never have to say, “Just ignore this if it doesn’t apply to you.”
  • Does the system keep track of sent messages and bounced messages?
  • Does the system send emails in plain text and/or HTML?
  • Does the “from” email address come from the system or from you?
  • Can different emails appear to come from different people?
  • How do people reply to your emails?

From a presenter’s point of view, I think the more personalized you can make your email system, the easier it will be for your presenters to do what you need them to do, and the less headaches it means for you and your staff.

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About Sean Lawler

Sean is the Product Director of Digital Services here at Omnipress... handling their online abstract management/speaker file collection, digital publishing platforms, mobile event apps, and other digital media delivery. He understands technology very well, but can relate it to non-technical people better than most. ...read more

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April 4th, 2011Jody urquhart says:

This happens to me all the time. I get this email handouts are due etc etc and I think oh shoot I didn’t get my handouts in. Because I am on the road I don’t have any of my notes so I create the handouts only to find out I did send them in months ago.

I usually adding it’s my fault but it must cause confusion for many

Twitter: Idoinspire


April 5th, 2011Sean Lawler says:

No kidding!

That’s why I’ve found that reminder emails work much better when you’re filtering them so they only go to people with incomplete submissions. It reduces work for everyone that way.

Twitter: SeanMLawler


[…] Send Out Multiple Reminder Emails/Posts – It’s a busy industry, and most people need reminders. Instead of bombarding speakers with emails a week before the deadline, try staggering your reminder emails three months, two months, one week ahead of time. Give them suggestions as to where they should be in the slide creation process. And if a speaker already turned in their presentation, don’t send them the ol’ “Hey, this is a reminder to turn your presentation in. If you have, ignore this email.” Make your speakers feel special. […]

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