June 24, 2019 by Dave Lutz
Most meeting organizers invest a significant amount of time creating the educational programming for their annual conference. Models vary, but most include a 15- to 20-person conference committee (slotters) and army of reviewers (graders).
Progressive organizers are shifting to a blended model, where conference committees act more like content curators and advisors and less like graders and slotters. Session and abstract submissions are still an important part of the process, but a greater reliance is being placed on curated sessions. Program assembly of submission-only sessions will never yield the best the industry has to offer.
More organizations are looking to differentiate and stack their deck by having presenters who they know will bring their A-game each and every year. Instead of asking them to go through the submission process, these presenters are hand-picked to create or facilitate curated learning experiences. They are often uber-connected in your industry and can be influential in having attendees show up at sessions. Help this group become even better by investing in speaker coaching/training.
Conference program committee responsibilities are shifting. They’re being tasked to identify the greatest problems to solve, or opportunities to seize, for experienced participants. This learner-centric approach is front-end loaded. Organizers are using the advice of the committee to better communicate the learning tracks and outcomes in order for submitters to better align their session proposals.
Committees are having fewer conference calls and preset meetings. Some are dividing the work up and having committee members serve as track advisors to staff and presenters.
As part of continuous improvement efforts for an education program, organizations are looking for ways to improve quality filters and overall fairness to all who participate in the submission process. Some of the areas being addressed include:
Adapted from Dave’s Forward Thinking column in PCMA’s Convene. Reprinted with permission of Convene, the magazine of the Professional Convention Management Association. ©2019.
What quality filters have you introduced in your submissions process? What shifts have you made in your committee’s responsibilities?
Filed Under: Conference Education, Experience Design
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *