Do you feel like you’re constantly chasing down speakers to get them to turn in their presentations for your annual meeting?
Due dates and speaker policy agreements seem to go out the window for some speakers, causing meeting planners and coordinators to obsessively call and email last-minute reminders. And you might be battling the fact that there is no consideration (honorarium) for your volunteer presenters.
If you follow the ASAE discussion listserv (open to ASAE members only), this topic recently ignited between association professionals.
Here are some of the tips they came up with.
6 Tips for Getting Speakers to Meet Collection Deadlines
Request Speaker Presentations Before the Meeting: Push the deadline as close to the meeting as possible, but ensure speakers they will have time to make any last-minute changes closer to the meeting date if necessary.
Reconsider your Deadline: Is your deadline for speaker presentations and papers reasonable? Does your call for presentations close 6-7 months before the conference? Having too early of a deadline increases the likelihood of speakers not hitting it. Remember, we’re a last-minute society. Plus, do your attendees really want to attend sessions where the content is a half year old?
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 and 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 standard, “Hey, this is a reminder to turn your presentation in. If you have, ignore this,” email message. Make your speakers feel special.
Stay True to Speaker Policy and Deadlines: Once you’ve analyzed your speaker policy and you’re confident deadlines are reasonable, STICK TO IT! If your speaker agreement says those unable to make deadlines will not speak, make sure you follow through. If you don’t follow the speaker policy, speakers won’t, either.
Emphasize Speaker Incentives for Submitting Presentations: Emphasize the importance of timeliness and how it benefits their reputation as professional speakers, the conference integrity and the attendee experience.
Presentation Management System: Do you have an online speaker file collection system that allows you to properly manage multiple speakers and presentations? Your abstract and presentation management system should allow you to easily send personalized reminders to speakers who haven’t turned in their presentation materials. (You should also have a user-friendly collection system that makes it easy for speakers to submit their presentation.)
Do you have any tips for getting speakers to submit their conference presentations?
When placing your session handouts online these days, you need to be sure your attendees know where they can find them.
I’ve attended a few educational seminars and sessions over the past year only to have event staff and speakers tell me (verbally) where I can get a copy of the session handouts. “They’re on the conference web site,” they tell me. This is perfect if if I’ve memorized the event URL and the links to the conference session handouts is in an intuitive place. Well, the fact is, I don’t memorize the URL and conference web sites are not designed in the most intuitive manner and usually contain links to a ton of other things. The point is, session handouts used to be conveniently located in the session rooms or in a conference binder for me to pick up and read, and now I have put on my camouflage and go hunting for them.
That said, conference planners need to make their session content easy to find.
Here are 12 ways you can make online session content east-to-find for your attendees:
Create a easy-to-remember domain name that links itself to your session handouts online. No one wants to type a URL that’s longer than 30 characters. Try something like www.xyz2010-handouts.org. Or, create a named URL shortener like tinyurl or bit.ly and create an alias such as: www.tinyurl.com/2010xyz-handouts. Don’t make attendees search through a maze of links and icons looking for the place they might find content. .
Promote the handouts URL in your program book in many different locations (redundancy is OK):
– On the front and back covers
– In a full page ad near the table of contents, agenda of sessions and other indices
– As a footer on note pages (if you’re producing a conference program notebook) .
Provide speakers with a PPT slide that indicates the session handouts URL and have them place it at the beginning and end of their slide deck. .
Include the handouts URL on the session room walk-in loop slides that play in between sessions. .
Include the URL on the foam-core room signs. The message can be simple: “Session handouts available at www.xyz2010-handouts.org” .
Schedule regular tweets each day to your conference hashtag with your handouts URL (this one can be done via a URL shortner). If your members are on Twitter, this information will travel fast and it’s a good way to gain marketing exposure to your event. .
Post the URL on other social media outlets such as your:
– Private digital publishing platform
– LinkedIn groups or Facebook pages
– The front of your conference web site .
Send all attendees at least two emails prior to the event, one email daily during the event and a two emails after the event that has the subject line “Sessions handouts for XYZ online” and only include a short paragraph with the link. Do not send an email that contain eight other agenda items. Remember, people don’t read and they don’t like long emails. A clear subject line will get their attention and they will appreciate your brevity. .
Tape small signs right to the monitors at the email/internet stations with the short URL. .
Get creative! Tape a flyer in the restrooms (at the urinal, in the stalls or on the mirror). I’m not kidding either. The restrooms are a common place people need to go and spend at least one minute of their time a few times each day. Think about it, you’d rather read anything than be staring at a blank wall. Bathrooms are great places for announcements. .
Include the handouts URL and other important web site information on a flyer in the hotel rooms that are blocked off for your attendees. The hotel is probably a key place your attendees will be going online to catch up with their online life. .
Advertise the handouts URL in your “Daily News” if you are providing this. Again, place this in many different locations and call attention to it.
Hopefully, you are creating some type of online knowledge or event community that contains your content such as your session handouts and other resources for your attendees and members to download and talk about online. It’s a great way to create value and extend the life of your event.