Welcome to the Conference Management Blog

I give up.  I’ve spent months looking for interesting articles on the conference industry but can’t really find one source that gives me a true and deep understanding of the good, bad and the ugly of conference planning and proper conference management and execution.  So…I am going to start my own.

The reason for this blog is to give conference planners a means to air their frustrations on various topics that relate to their world.  Perhaps through their stories they can meet others that are going through the same issues and then find common solutions.  

I will offer 50 topics over 50 weeks but you may have many more to offer amongst yourselves (if anyone is reading this), so I’m open to change or adding more topics to the list.

I deal with conference planners every day so I know your time is short (so is mine).  I’ll be brief and to the point. 

Quickly, before we begin, I want to start off with a draw called ‘My Worst Conference Nightmare’.  I want all conference planners who read this blog to send us your worst horror story.  As a group we will review the story and rate it (we have a review and scoring system) and the person with the worst story of the year will get a free dinner for two any restaurant found in Open Table valued at up to $200.00.  You deserve it!  So please send us your story’s as I’m sure you will receive a lot of understanding, sympathy and advice from others who have been through your situation.

So let’s start: Below are well over 100 topics i.e. issues that Conference Planners may face that we are going to discuss over the course of the next year or two.  Some Planners may face only 1 or 2 at an event and some may face many all at once (which of course entitles you to write an article and tell us about your ‘Conference Nightmare’).   Please review the topics and send in your article.  If it ""worthy"" we'll post it with a link back to your website so that readers or potential clients can meet you online.   Yes...there is a marketing aspect to this as well!

Conference Websites:

Keep it clean and keep it simple

How do people find your conference? Building up your attendees

What is SEO and will it help

Securing your conference website from cyber attack

Managing changes to your conference website

Mobile Conference Website: Is it really necessary or just another fad

Submission Topics

How to manage abstract submissions

How to keep your reviewers happy

Scoring & Rating Systems

How to manage Poster Presenters and keep them happy

Copyrights:  Automate your system or fail

Disclosures:  How to automate

PowerPoint’s:  How to control your Oral Presenters PowerPoint’s

 

Registration Topics:

Don’t lose your attendee when they are ready to register online – Making Registration forms simple

Registration logjams- How to avoid them?  A-F G-M N-Z  Using Physical Barriers

Group Registration – Is it necessary?

QR codes- How do they help move registration lines

Handling last minute attendee switches

Member and non-member pricing

Dual Currency – How to best handle it (also see accounting)

Multi-event registration – Spousal trips, golf tournaments, early bird pricing

How to find sponsors for your conference

Association Special Registration needs

How to make a spousal trip memorable

 

Onsite Staffing

Volunteers and Volunteer Training – Pitfalls to Avoid

Staff Training

 

Exhibitor/Trade Show Topics

Online Registration – When is it necessary?

Online Floor Plans – Is there an advantage in using them?

Lead Retrieval – What are the options?

 

Signage Topics

Signage is Vital: So why is it always left to the last minute

 

Continuing Education Credit Topics

How to get the most out of your CE – CME system

 

Publication Topics

Creating a Great Program – Making it simple for attendees to use and read

Using Technology to Create your Program

What is a Program App and is it Necessary for my Conference?

Who is going to layout my Program for the Printer

Where do I find Program Printers?

 

Transportation Topics

How to get people from the airport to the hotel

Overflow hotels – How to avoid confusion

When your conference center is not near the hotel

 

Technology Topics

QR Codes: What are they and 10 ways they can help your conference?

What is a web app vs a native app?

 

Special Events

Busing Nightmares

Ticket Nightmares

 

Hotel Management Topics

Managing Room Blocks

Managing Groups

Booking multiple venues: The risks and how to avoid them

Communicating with Speakers, Attendees and VIP’s

When the storm hits – How to deal with 1,000 stranded attendees

 

Speaker Presenter Topics

Managing Speaker Expectations

Finding and Retaining Great Speakers

Proper Management of the Speaker Ready Room

Getting PowerPoint’s to the right Rooms

How to create a great PowerPoint Presentation

 

Food & Beverage Topics

Special Diets (see below)

Seating and Ticketing for Meals

Breaks and Snacks: Are they necessary

Managing the Gala and other Major Events

 

TradeShows/Exhibit Halls:

Decorating the Exhibit Hall

Managing Exhibitor Expectations

Decorating doesn’t end with the Exhibit Hall: Decorating the full conference venue

Lead Retrieval  Solutions(see other areas)

 

Special Needs Topics

Dealing with Disabilities

Managing VIP’s

Special Diets

 

Session and Conference Evaluations

Getting feedback on the conference

Session Feedback: Is it necessary

Speaker Evaluations: Do I really want to know the truth?

Speaker Feedback:  How to improve the Speaker Experience

Exhibitor Feedback:  How to improve the Exhibitor Experience

 

Accounting:

Keeping track of cash at the event

Dealing with credit card changes

Auditing the Conference:  A Software Solution

Payment Processors: Who to Avoid and who to Use

 

Managing AV Requirements

The session has started but there is no overhead projector

Audio:  Often overlooked but extremely important

Onsite Interviews and Photography – Lessons learned from the Experts

 

Managing Room Allocations

A room for 500 with 5 attendees and a speaker

A room set for 50 filled to capacity with 100 people sitting on the floor

 

Social Media Topics

How to take advantage of You Tube or Vimeo

Is Twitter Necessary for a conference?

Grow your Social Network: Promote your conference using Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google + more

Social Media Tools for Your Conference (non promotional)

Attendee to Attendee, Attendee to Exhibitors, Attendee to Presenters

Connecting attendees to one another:  http://www.bizzabo.com/

 

Recording Topics

Recording your conference Sessions – Why bother?

What is Scorm&LMS

 

Conference Board Topics

Assigning Roles to Board Members

Your Conference Board Meetings – How Technology can Assist

 

Contracts & RFP’s:

Responding to RFP’s and negotiating conference management agreements

Negotiating Vendor Contracts

 

Other topics:

When is it time to Quit being a Conference Planner?

Cronyism: Conference Planning and Politics within the organization

Finding the right suppliers and getting rid of the old ones

Conference Planning Influencers – Who are they and how can you find them?

Getting the budget you need to get the job done

Board Member Infighting – Is it making your job impossible?

Conference Emergency! – Expect the unexpected (drunk attendees, fainting speakers)


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