GETTING INVOLVED IN organizing a conference is a great opportunity for all levels of staff. They will develop a range of skills, including networking, marketing, communication, presenting, negotiating, managing people, troubleshooting and budget management, to name but a few. In addition, they will find that creating something people enjoy and find useful is incredibly rewarding. If this is something you or your staff are interested in you can either look at joining the organizing committee for an established conference, such as the ones listed in the Further Reading section at the end of this Tip, or you could consider setting up a conference of your own if you can identify a gap in the LKS conference market.
If members of your staff are thinking of joining an established committee it is a good idea to think about the skills that they already have and identify any areas that they need to develop when allocating roles and tasks. Some areas that individuals can be involved in are:
Organizing your own conference
If you and your team decide to organize a conference yourselves there are a number of considerations to take into account. These include planning the programme, organizing the venue and attracting people to the conference, not just as attendees but also in terms of presenting papers and running workshops.
The theme of your conference should be relevant and informed by the target audience and their expectations. Once the theme is agreed the programme can be designed with a view to attracting attendees and interesting speakers or experts in the field can be invited to speak or present. It is usual to put out a general call for papers on the agreed theme which outlines the criteria for inclusion. It is not unusual for high-profile speakers to charge appearance fees or expenses and this should be factored into the planning process.