The best part of the meeting planning experience is watching it all come together the day of the annual conference.
Attendees are flocking around the registration table to pick up their conference schedules. They’re eagerly picking out their sessions for the day, excited to learn about the newest trends in the industry (if they haven’t already done so on the conference website, that is).
But are your conference sessions featuring the most up-to-date educational content if you’ve chosen the accepted contributed sessions six months in advance?
Is Your Collection Process Preventing Innovative Conference Materials?
Velvet Chainsaw and Tagoras recently surveyed 245 association professionals to learn more about coaching professional speakers for events and found:
75% of associations use a call for papers process that closes 9-10 months before the annual conference.
The Problem: Attendees and members don’t want to learn about the industry trends from 10 months ago, they want to learn about the industry trends that will occur 10 months from now. So how do you provide timely conference education to attendees?
Invite Key Note Speakers Later
I talked briefly with John Eisele, one of our resident Online Collection Experts who said many of his clients invite new speakers into the system once the collection and review processes are nearly finished.
Once you’ve completed your call for papers, review and call for final presentations, consider inviting new speakers into your system to provide specific, timely content for your conference.
These speakers are usually well-known, innovative leaders in the industry who have the knowledge and experience to keep your conference timely.
Offer a Late-Breaking Call for Papers
Another way his clients have maintained current topics is to open a “late-breaking call for papers” just a few months before the event. Have a few session placeholders where there would be a limited number of submissions and the review is expedited.
Perhaps you have wanted to do this before, but technology is preventing you from working with one system to do so. Technology should not be a barrier. If you have a flexible system for your call for papers process, your system should facilitate this process and strengthen your conference session. It comes down to making sure your speakers are submitting their presentations on time and reviewers are reviewing on time.
How do you make sure your conference isn’t outdated before it even begins?