Event write up by Clare Waller, committee member and event chair
As each year goes by and the event grows, the Document Excellence Day takes just that little bit more effort to organise. On the up side, every year we learn how to do things better and I hope that shows.
Directly after the event there’s a period of mop up. There are lots of thank you emails to speakers, sponsors and all those who have helped to make the day a success. Feedback is read and collated and a report produced for the Committee Members. Slides and information are uploaded to the website.
And then – we start all over again! Planning for next year’s event has already begun. So, where do we start. First the venue and then the date – that’s the easy bit.
Then, our first port of call is the feedback forms that we receive (thanks to everyone who completed one). We look at all the comments, what worked (and what didn’t), which sessions people liked. In particular we like the ideas for sessions for next year – always a good starting point. As I said on the day, we do read all comments and listen to any suggestions, although it’s not always possible to act on all of them but they do give us a great starting point.
From there we sketch out sessions and pitch the ideas to the full committee. These are discussed, expanded and then adopted (or discarded). We contact possible speakers and get a firm commitment from them. From there we can get the draft agenda together. Nearer the time we put firm timings around the agenda.
The most time-consuming thing is normally chasing speakers for information and we end up bombarding them with questions. That’s something we’ve learnt this year and are putting a full list of questions that we need to ask them in one document – that way we only need to chase them for the answers and not send them hundreds of individual emails with separate questions.
Managing the attendee list is quite a task with people thinking they’ve registered when they haven’t. Again, we’ve learnt this year and have a plan in place to deal with this. It will mean a little more work but should ensure that the list is properly up to date. We’ll send a “warning” email to all members that you’re going to receive the invite. Some firm’s block EventBrite invites so we’ll be asking you to check your spam or to let us know if you don’t receive it. EventBrite tells us the status of the invite (opened, ordered, etc) so we’ll follow up on those who haven’t ordered just to make sure. If this year’s event is anything to go by we’ll be oversubscribed again so please make sure you get your order in early.
Somehow or other everything normally falls into place. We always have to remind ourselves that we are all volunteers and, while we want the event to be fully professional, informative and even slick, none of us are Events Organisers.
I’ve been involved in organising the event for the last few years and have chaired the last two. It’s always brilliant to hear the amazing feedback we get. While we occasionally get constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement (which we welcome), the overall reaction is one of positivity. My two favourite questions on the feedback survey are:
- Would you attend this event in the future and:
- Would you recommend this event to a colleague?
The answer to these is always overwhelming YES!
I love the fact that people feel they take away something new from the day; I love the fact that people feel it was well organised and professional; I love the fact that the vendor community have given us such support and adopted the no selling rule happily but most of all I love the fact that people say they really enjoyed it. That’s satisfaction enough!
Roll on next year!