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Spreadsheet Alternatives

Are you currently managing your events, conferences, and festivals with spreadsheets and emails?

Event planning requires an unerring attention to detail. One mistake can result in schedule problems, unhappy speakers, and disgruntled attendees. The tools that event planners often rely on – namely spreadsheets and email – create hours of additional administrative work and don’t yield the seamless results needed. Documents must be constantly updated and effective collaboration with partners and multiple planners is hard. When you’re coordinating outside speakers, session proposals, and audience voting, the process only gets more complex.

Jiffy Events offers meeting planners a process alternative. This simple, affordable cloud-based software can be used for a single event or across your events portfolio to:

  • Solicit panel suggestions and session proposals from anyone, without requiring a login
  • Create a customized workflow that allows you to approve, reject, or delete submissions with ease
  • Integrate the session review process into a single dashboard that minimizes hassles for busy reviewers
  • Involve your attendees by using audience-voting features to get feedback on panels
  • Use the software’s flexible interface – including pre-designed templates – to load approved sessions into an event schedule
  • Communicate with your speakers by email from within the software to let them know their session status, discuss logistics, and more
  • Integrate your speaker management and schedule with other event management software packages for expanded functionality

And don’t worry: if you’re making the transition from manual event tracking to digital for the first time, we can support you every step of the way from helping you to import data to providing software training.

Are you ready to streamline your event administration? Contact Jiffy Events today to arrange a free trial or discuss your needs with an experienced event technology consultant.

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Adding Diversity To Your Speaker Lineup

The importance of diversity has been at the forefront of news headlines and organizational agendas over the past several years. A recent study conducted by Harvard Business School discovered that diversity is a key factor in driving innovation 1, while Forbes found that diversity is critical in “…driving the creation and execution of new products, services, and business processes.”2

With the many benefits diversity has to offer, it’s no wonder adding diversity to your speaker lineup can help your event succeed. Besides appealing to a larger audience base, diversity provides an opportunity to learn from others who process, perceive and think differently, offering attendees insight and perspective they otherwise may not have been exposed to. It also encourages people of various backgrounds to pursue careers and research in fields thought to be out of reach.

While it may seem challenging to diversify your event, these 5 simple tips can assist you in adding some diversity to your next speaker lineup.

Steven Benner, distinguished fellow at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, speaks alongside Mary Voytek, director of the Astrobiology Program at NASA.

Personal Outreach

First and foremost, in order to ensure your event has the best possible lineup, it is imperative your invitations to potential speakers have a personal touch. Avoid using ready-made templates at all costs, as they basically convey to the speaker they are just not worth your time.

Speakers want to feel as if they are integral to your event’s success, not as if they are simply being contacted to fill a time slot. Mike Myatt, Chairman of N2 Growth, eloquently states, “The message is not about the messenger; it has nothing to do with messenger; it is however 100% about meeting the needs and the expectations of those you’re communicating with.”

Consider writing an invitation that recognizes a speaker’s accomplishments, while providing specific reasons as to why their presence would enhance your event. In other words, let them know what you admire, why, and how you believe they add value.

Diverse Materials

It is important to ensure promotional materials appeal to all demographics. For example, if marketing materials only depict white, older men, younger applicants, hispanic applicants and female applicants may not feel as if they are welcome to apply.

In Diversity in Advertising, David Vinjamuri says, “to identify with a product, you must first imagine yourself using it. That’s harder when the advertising shows someone different from you.” Keeping your promotional materials diverse will invite a broader lineup to apply, as each person can relate to and envision themselves as a part of your program.

Code of Conduct

The Ethics & Compliance Initiative states that a Code of Conduct, “…serves as a public statement of what the company stands for and its commitment to high standards and right conduct.” Prepare a Code of Conduct in collaboration with your Board stating your event celebrates diversity and promotes inclusion. Refer to it in your marketing materials and provide access to it online for all to view. People from various backgrounds will feel comfortable participating when they know discriminatory behavior will not be tolerated.

Search Online

Sites such as LinkedIn allow you to find individuals from countless industries, along with recommendations of their work, direct contact information and links to their own personal marketing materials. By getting outside of your usual channels, you can find speakers that target a wider audience base, appealing to individuals you may not have otherwise thought to be interested in your event.

Remember, diversity isn’t just about Race. Liz Bingham, head of Ernst & Young’s UK leadership team says, “…diversity isn’t just an issue of sexual orientation, race or gender; it’s a term that is evolving… companies will need to ensure that they have people with a range of experience and insight into… new markets. So when we talk of boardroom representation in the future, we aren’t just going to be talking about the number of women with a seat at the table, it’s going to be much wider than that. Diversity encompasses all aspects of the human experience, from age, culture, skills and life experience.”

Ask Your Audience

Besides yourself and your Board, who is your target audience interested in hearing? Think outside of your typical invitation list, and approach speakers from varying backgrounds and demographics. If possible, contact attendees from previous events and ask if there are particular speakers they would like to hear from.

In understanding what your audience wants, Ahmad Kareh states on Forbes, “…you need to ask the right questions. Where’s the overlap in what they want and what you have to offer? Knowing this will help you stand out… If you understand what people are looking for, you’re better equipped to position yourself well.”

When creating a survey, it is vital to encourage people to share what they are looking for, as well as receive honest feedback from events past. Ensure your questions are objective and not biased so that the data you obtain is accurate.

By recognizing your audience, setting your goals and being mindful of inclusion, you are sure to add diversity to your speaker lineup that will attract, engage and enrich audiences for years to come.

“Diversity: The art of thinking independently, together.” —Malcolm Forbes

Jiffy Events wants to help you promote diversity at your next event. If you would like to learn more about our speaker management, call-for-papers, and committee review tools—you can do so here.

Photo Credit: (Official GDC)
Photo Credit: (NASA/Paul E. Alers)

https://hbr.org/2013/12/how-diversity-can-drive-innovation
2 https://www.forbes.com/forbesinsights/innovation_diversity/index.html

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Attracting The Best Speakers To Your Conference

How to Attract the Best Speakers to Your Conference

Finding a keynote speaker that will create buzz and excitement around your upcoming event is no easy task. Big names are a challenge to book, and locating other qualified individuals is far too time consuming. With various details needing your attention and much planning and prepping to do, deciding where to begin may have you at a loss. Never fear, these 4 simple tips will help you attract top-notch talent to your next conference.

Focus on Ideas Rather than Individuals

Bestselling motivational author Seth Godin once said, “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” It is important to make sure you are providing the people who attend your event with speakers that will be of interest to them, not just to you or your board, so be sure you’re doing just that.

Besides industry experts, there are celebrities, business moguls, former politicians, military leaders, etc. that are dedicated to various specific causes. A simple search online (including social media) can help you locate different persons of interest that may not have been on your radar, yet are an attractive draw to your guests.

For example, if your event focus is renewable energy, search for users on LinkedIn who list renewable energy, global warming and climate change as a cause they care about. You can easily review their profile recommendations, published works, and find links to related websites that contain footage of presentations they provided at other similar events.

Prominent Maltese physician Edward de Bono once said, “Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” By thinking outside of the box, you can find highly qualified, energized, enticing speakers that are passionate to be a part your program, even if they weren’t the first to come to mind.

News Conference following the test of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) technical capability Level 2 (TCL2) at Reno-Stead Airport, Nevada.

Provide Advance Notice

Inviting with advanced notice (up to a year beforehand), while keeping the itinerary flexible to meet a speaker’s unique needs is of the utmost importance, especially if you are focused on attracting a prominent name. If you are rigid in your request, speakers—especially those with a following—may not be able to accommodate, even if they are interested in presenting at your event.

Make the Submissions Process Simple and Informative

While using an online submissions form can help streamline your search process, it is important to keep these things in mind:

Forms should be short and simple. Be sure forms are easy to understand and follow from the submitters standpoint, not just yours. Complicated, lengthy forms can confuse candidates, leaving many errors for your committees to sort through. If you keep the process simple for those submitting, the process will remain easy for those reviewing.

Candidates should always receive a copy of their submission. It is important the candidate receives a replica of their submission as receipt, not only as proof of entry, but as an opportunity to review should a technical error have occurred.

Keep candidates informed. Candidates should know where you are in the selection process as well as where they stand. Provide key dates for closing submissions and selections up front, while appropriately following up throughout the process. Once selections have been made, candidates should be notified.

Don’t be Generic. Please. Just Don’t.

Ensure speaker invitations are personalized rather than generic. With so many formatted email and correspondence templates, “Dear Professional Speaker,” is not going to cut it.

In Recommended for You: The Power of Personalization, Forbes states that, “Virtually all (96%) marketers agree that personalization advances customer relationships,” with eighty-eight percent saying, “…they’ve realized a measurable lift in business results from their personalization campaigns.”

Use social media to determine a speaker’s specific interests and professional history, recognizing their various accomplishments while making note of some fun-facts you may have learned. Let them know why you believe they will add value to your event, and follow up appropriately if you do not receive a response.

By thinking outside of the box and some efficient, personalized planning techniques, finding a speaker that will help enrich your next event will be a breeze.

In the words of Paul J. Meyer, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”

To a successful conference!

Jiffy Events wants to help you find the best speakers for your event. If you would like to learn more about our speaker management, call-for-papers, and committee review tools—you can do so here.

(Photo Credit: NASA/Paul E.  Alers)
(Photo Credit: NASA/Dominic Hart)

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Technology Conferences

In the tech world, conferences play a critical role in launching new products and startups, sharing best practices, and creating a forum for the community to come together and solve big problems.

Yet event planners often find that the logistics of planning a technology conference are overwhelming. This discerning audience of tech-savvy users demands the latest in event planning options, from the online submission of panel proposals to audience voting and crowdsourcing of sessions.

Spreadsheets and emails aren’t enough to keep you organized and facilitate smooth communications with all of a major event’s key stakeholders. It’s important for technology event planners to have the right tools to eliminate needless administrative work, and allow them to focus on delivering a high-quality attendee experience.

  • Jiffy’s event management software makes it easy to manage the most important activities related to tech conferences:
  • Solicit panel suggestions and session proposals from anyone, without requiring a login
  • Create a customized workflow that allows you to approve, reject, or delete submissions with ease
  • Integrate the session review process into a single dashboard that minimizes hassles for busy reviewers
  • Involve your attendees by using audience-voting features to get feedback on panels
  • Use the software’s flexible interface – including pre-designed templates – to load approved sessions into an event schedule
  • Communicate with your speakers by email from within the software to let them know their session status, discuss logistics, and more
  • Integrate your speaker management and schedule with other event management software packages for expanded functionality

Are you looking for the best integrated event software option for speaker management, audience voting, and schedule building for your next technology conference? Contact Jiffy Events today to arrange a free trial or discuss your needs with an experienced event technology consultant.