3 Must-Have Tools for Conferences

Published by Sara Olbrantz on February 23rd, 2012 | Topics: Conferences, Online Collection Systems, Online Publishing

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conference planning tipsOkay, maybe these are not must haves, but they’ll certainly make your job as a meeting professional a lot easier.

As you may have heard, CareerCast.com named “Event Coordinator” the 6th most stressful job of 2012.

As a person who coordinates meetings and annual conferences for association, you understand the stress of speakers not hitting their call for final presentations deadline, getting the most current information in the printed conference programs then making sure they arrive on time, and making sure your attendees not only can find their handouts online, but offer a website that professionalizes your conference.

… and this is just work-related stress!

While there are a lot of details you need to be concerned about when planning an annual meeting, there are certainly some you SHOULDN’T be worried about.

3 Tools to Improve Conferences

  1. Collect, Manage and Review Presentations Using an Online System.
    Stop using email as your tool for collecting your final presentations and start using a system that keeps you organized. Collecting final presentations via email may be better than Fed Ex deliveries, but it certainly doesn’t mean you have a cutting edge collection process. As busy professionals, we understand how easy it is for emails to disappear, sometimes even before we get to see them. (The love/hate relationship with our spam filters is never ending.) Creating ONE online location for ALL submitters and reviewers streamlines the entire process from your initial call for abstracts to collecting reviewing speaker’s final presentations.
  2. Provide a Conference Program and Speaker Materials in a Condensed Learning Journal and Flash Drives.  More conference materials mean more worry about which conference materials are going to arrive on which day from which vendor to what location. This is completely unnecessary. Instead of having your conference final program, session materials and note pads, try a conference learning journal that includes both your final program and extra note pages in one spiral bound book. Then, attach your flash drive of conference proceedings right to the inside cover. And finally, right under that flash drive, include a link or QR code which will lead attendees right to your conference’s online event community where they can download the speaker handouts.
  3. Publishing Your Conference Handouts and Proceedings in a Digital Publishing Platform. Don’t leave it to your presenters to “take business cards and send their handouts in a link to session attendees.” This is crazy, but it still happens.  Start publishing your conference proceedings and session handouts in a consistent online location (better known as a Digital Publishing Platform). Then keep publishing year after year in this same knowledge center under the same URL… like conferencehandouts.yourassociations.com. Market this web site everywhere (in emails, in the program cover, on session starter slides, etc.). And if you’re publishing your materials through this digital publishing platform, attendees should just be able to Google it.

Spending less time worrying about conference materials, give you more time to worry about more important aspects of planning a meeting or conference.

What are other resources that would help make your job less stressful?

Free Download: Abstract Collection Systems


About Sara Olbrantz

Sara has worked for Omnipress in the past as our Marketing Communications Coordinator. She has contributed a great amount to make our blog what it is today and has been published in association publications numerous times.

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