So when Rick Calvert and Dave Cynkin offered me the BlogWorld Conference Director job, they talked it up as being “part time.” What they failed to mention was that the “part time” wouldn’t happen until October 17th, and it would only be part time long enough for me to catch my breath. I have a fantasy that they’ll let me sleep in that day…
But I digress….
Working for BlogWorld is anything but a part time gig, especially when there are so many components that go together. It’s fast paced and there’s never a dull moment. We have drama, action, and lots of nagging.
Choosing Speakers is the Easy Part
So I thought the most difficult part of the gig would be in choosing speakers. I mean, 600 applications and 200 – 300 spots? Saying no is not my favorite part of the job, especially when it comes to people who are my friends, but someone had to do it and it might as well be the new girl. After we selected all our speakers, and notified those who we couldn’t use this year, I learned that the content selection is the easiest part of the job.
After that, we’re in for some serious cat herding.
Once we know who our speakers are we have to create the schedule, and also, coordinate a speaker roster.The problem is, the schedule changes on a daily basis. This speaker can’t make it, that speaker needs a better time, the Track Leader wants to add another panelist and it’s a lot to keep track of.
But even that is the easy part.
The entire BlogWorld team is tasked with creating a speaker roster. This roster is important because it contains all contact details for speakers including special information we need to know for each. It contains their email addresses, lets us know if they filled out the speaker agreement, and has places to check off to tell us if we received their headshots, bios and session descriptions. You see, we have to have all this information by a certain day (like yesterday) because if we don’t, that speaker doesn’t make it into the directory.
Yeah, I’d be a little angry too.
So now, we’re in the process of getting all these details from our speakers. Here’s where I’ll once again make reference to cat herding. Many of our speakers included their contact details when they submitted proposals. However, some of that information didn’t come through. Also, Track Leaders put together sessions and panels, so we didn’t have contact information for any of the speakers who didn’t submit proposals to us in the traditional manner. So now we have to:
- Contact all Track Leaders for speaker contact details
- Contact all speakers for their bios, headshots, session descriptions and speaker agreements
- Contact all Track Leaders with a gentle reminder
- Contact all speakers with a gentle reminder
- Lather, rinse, repeat.
Plus? Because the schedule is changing daily, the information the administrative team is putting together for the speaker roster, doesn’t always jibe with the info I have on the schedule, so there’s daily cross checking going on. Lots of spreadsheet requests, and questions about speakers, spellings and more. Some people aren’t responsive to their emails and we have no other way of getting in touch with them short of public callings out on Twitter and Facebook. We try not to do that.
We’re down to the wire now with only about three weeks to go before show time. We don’t want any of our speakers to be left out of the directory. If we don’t already have your headshot, bio, session description, and/or completed speaker agreement, please contact the unflappable Jennifer Holder at firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP so she can make sure you’re included.
With that said, I’m back to my cat herding. October 17th and my late sleep in are looking really good, right about now. Thank goodness I only work part time.