In the previous blog of this series of blogs about organizing conferences, we discussed a few introductory points regarding the various phases of organizing conferences. In today’s blog we will look at the importance of an organizing structure and how to set it up correctly.
Compiling a team or committee to assist with the organizing of the conference has many advantages. Working with a team of people ensures that decisions can be approached from more than one perspective, resulting in a wider range of ideas. Having a team to assist the conference coordinator also means there are more hands to assist with the planning and running of the conference. The organizing committee will have to work closely with an individual coordinator, and the members of the committee need to have the time, energy, desire and ability required for the organizing progress.
The organizing committee will often consists of members of the sponsoring organization’s board. For annual conferences there is, usually, already a standing committee that meets year round; and it usually includes the coordinator of the previous conference. With annual conferences, it is also sometimes necessary to set up subcommittees to handle specific parts of the organizing process.
Appointing a coordinator is one of the most critical parts of the conference organizing process. The coordinator will carry out the team’s decisions and is the first line of communication with suppliers, participants, presenters, site providers and exhibitors. With annual conferences, the coordinating function is often automatically part of someone’s job such as the director or chair of the conference committee. In other cases, the coordinator will be a volunteer, staff or board member with the experience and enthusiasm to do the job. If it is a particularly large conference, it may be necessary to hire an event planner to coordinate the conference.
The conference coordinator is the one person that knows what is going on in every area of the events planning and implementation progress. The coordinator ensures the efficient operation of the conference organizing process. Having an individual coordinator heading up the organizing of the conference, simplifies communication and accountability.
Now that the organizing committee is in place, and a coordinator has been appointed, we can start with the planning phase of the conference. The next blog will take a closer look at what goes into planning both small and large conferences.
Resource: Community Tool Box: http://ctb.ku.edu/