The life and times of a conference administrator

The LLS conference is now just over a week away and as I’m sure you can imagine behind the scenes we’re working really hard to make sure it’s a really great event.

Before I start talking about the main reason for this post – which is the administration side of things I wanted to give a brief overview of what made me want to be part of the organising committee.

I had two reasons, firstly like the others I believe that not only is it important for us as a department to be taking part in research projects I also feel it is essential that we let other people know what we’re doing and this conference gives us a great opportunity to do just that.  Secondly, having been part of a larger committee the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals’ University College and Research Group for the East Midlands (CILIP’s UCRGEM) enabled me to get involved in organising events.  This involvement has allowed me to gain an understanding of what’s involved and to realise where my personal and professional skills can fit in.

Name badges

Photo: MrTruffle via Flickr

For these reasons I chose to get involved as the conference administrator, which is a role I relish – not least because I like to make sure that finicky details are correct.  Being able to submerge myself in the admin role has allowed the control freak part of my nature to happily play with all the important but easily overlooked details such as name badges – which Miggie mentioned previously!  However, I also get to be involved with the exciting things such as keeping an eye on how many registered attendees we have, which as I type is currently sitting at 70 plus a further 8 external delegates who currently have booking forms outstanding!

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say I’ve become genuinely excited over each and every individual booking or enquiry!  My other reason for wanting to be involved with the administration side of the conference is that sadly I won’t be able to attend the actual conference myself, as I’d already booked my holiday before the date was decided, therefore the way I could best help was to be involved in the planning and preparation for the conference leaving my committee colleagues to run the actual day.

So what have I been doing to ensure the lead up to the conference has run smoothly?  My first job was to investigate the easiest way to keep track of bookings; this was no easy task as when we decided to go ahead with the conference we were very unsure how many people would want to come along.  I’m going to do another post about using Eventbrite for the bookings, so I’m not going to go into detail here, but suffice to say I eventually decided that would be the easiest way for me to keep track of all the bookings.  I then had to work with the publicity material that Charlotte and HeppDesigns had created and incorporate it into the Eventbrite page so that we had a consistent look and feel to all the pages linked to the conference.  I also created a booking form for external delegates more about the reasons for this in my next post!

Once I’d sorted the processes for bookings my mind then turned to all the little things we’d need for the day of the conference.  Things like: what should be included in the delegate packs; name badges (of course!); working through processes for what needs to be done on the day of the conference and therefore how many people we needed to rope into helping us.  I’ve also been replying to any enquiries about the conference, passing the payment side of things onto our department’s finance assistant and generally getting very excited and enthusiastic over all the small little things that don’t sound like much but really make a difference on the day!  I’ve also designed a certificate of attendance for those attendees who would like one, details of how to get your own personal certificate will be given out on the day for those who wish to have one.

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