Monday, 18 September 2017

IT conferences - viewed as a Consumer.

Below is my list of (updated) tips for conference-organizers.

In Short:
  1. Maximize interaction between people.
  2. Encourage speakers to mix with (paying) attendees.
  3. Force speakers out of the speaker lounge if needed (prevent the clique)

  4. Space. Facilitate space for walking, talking, some seating.
  5. Provide practical (walking) food and Good Coffee throughout.
  6. Sit-down food is optional: tables take up valuable space. Queuing takes time+space.
  7. Hot-meals tend to make people sleepy.

  8. Have a dead-simple-timing agenda, start on whole hrs with 15min breaks.
  9. Ensure timekeeping, use visible Round Clocks (cc Nephantur) and Strikt chairpersons.
  10. New speakers: Schedule them early (nerves) and pay extra attention to timekeeping.
  11. Provide a laptop with (latest) powerpoint and a clicker-pointer. 
  12. In room-laptop is also a sneaky way to collect all the presentations.
  13. Speakers: Never. Rely. On. The. Network. (unless you plan to bail-out)
  14. Make feedback easy (mobile-app or mobile-friendly webpage)
  15. Feedback idea: separate twitter #hashtag per session?

  16. Stimulate exhibitors to have "Active" stands (games!)
  17. Give exhibitors Spacious Stands (e.g. sell minimum of 20m2, discourage "just-a-desk" sponsors)
  18. Forget the sponsor-leaflets in the goody-bag. Nobody reads them.
  19. Useful Exhibitor-handouts: Good Coffee (ask the venue), and Charged USB batteries.

  20. Practicalities: Safe cloakroom (and not "closing" before event is over - Brum)
  21. Facilitate taxi-sharing or have volunteers do the driving (e.g. extra interaction)

  22. Wifi should be simple and work (avoid re-login every time)
  23. Throw cables and power-sockets on the floor in the back of the rooms (iPhones)

  24. Provide a "smokers corner". Optionally: sheltered from rain.
  25. Social events: also provide some sit+talk space.  Disco-noise is hard to talk under.
  26. If you must have us dancing: play cheesy 80s/90s music (ELO, ABBA, Queen, etc.. ask your parents...)

That is the shorthand list for the moment. 
The earlier version of this pedantic list is online here. Reason for the update is mainly because two organizers recently came and said: "See? we have read your list!" I was quite proud of that.

There are a number of things I would love to elaborate on (like the "food" and the "sponsor-stands"), but that will have to wait a bit. 




2 comments:

Luiza KozieĊ‚ said...

Hi Piet:) this is great, I have already note a few things. One detail about sponsor's leaflets in the bags: sometimes you cannot say NO to them:)

PdV said...

Remind me to add this.. https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/univ-123-asking-questions-at-public-events (Yes, I am Serious!!)

 

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