As a conference planner, we know how important it is to find great topics and speakers. It can have a huge impact on registrations and an even bigger impact on how well your event is perceived. However, managing the abstract submissions and reviews process for your conference is complicated enough when everything goes according to plan – let alone when it’s rushed or hasn’t been carefully thought through.
Planning your conference or event, it is important to find the right topics and speakers for your attendees. Striking the right balance can help increase your registration numbers, and the satisfaction of the attendees, and create a buzz for the next year! However, managing your abstract submission and reviews is easier said than done.
There are many solutions and software that can help with collecting and managing your abstract submissions. However, we may be biased but we feel like we can really make a difference for your association. Our software can collect a number of types of submissions such as abstracts, grants, awards, sessions, and more. Our automation can help reviewers evaluate each submission easily and quickly.
This can help you as you plan conferences or events to evaluate your submissions, modify any of the topics, gauge recurring themes, and assess the merits of abstracts and awards. All this is designed to help you save time and get a better understanding of how you want to put together your conference and event timeline and agendas.
Each client of ours is assigned a dedicated account manager who meets with you on a bi-weekly basis to ensure that your needs are being met, progressing towards key deadlines, and is an extension of your project management.
While having someone dedicated to your needs and technology that helps save you time there are still pitfalls and potential roadblocks to look out for and avoid. In this blog, you’ll find some best practices and guidelines that could help you be set up for success.
To help make your conference or event as successful as possible, it needs to captivate your audience with the right kind of speakers and content. Here are some guidelines to help make that possible:
One common oversight that impedes your process for collecting and managing your abstract process is realizing there is information you need from submitters but you haven’t asked them. While you can always go back and change the forms to make sure you have the right information, trying to get in touch with those who have already submitted is a major timewaster. Be sure to finalize all the information you have during planning. Having your dedicated Planstone Account Manager to help walk you through the process and ask questions is a great way to avoid this potential issue.
Creating a form that guides the submitter through the process is key to getting the information you need for your reviewers and for the session. Creating submission forms is a major part of what we do here at Planstone. Our experience in creating a form that guides rather than explains using directions makes for collecting the best data for your organization and an excellent experience for your submitter.
Providing a detailed guide for your submitters early in the process will make your submission process easier. Take advantage of the different ways you can configure your page with Planstone. You know your people best, so it could be creating a general guide with a link to a specific page or having an expandable section. It is helpful to be as clear as you can with timelines and information needed since many people tend to procrastinate and the last 48 hours will be hectic. In Planstone submitters can start their submission process and save as they go along. You can also gently nudge them with ease to let them know where in the process they are and what the next steps in the process are for them.
While it’s important to provide clear instructions and guidance on submissions, you need to be mindful. Too much can easily overwhelm and deter people from submitting. Too little and you’ll be fielding many calls and emails trying to find out information. The key is knowing how your people operate and finding the right mix of enough information that they will actually read, understand and hopefully follow.
Being clear in the instructions on what fields you want on which form will go a long way. Having a standard format on fields throughout the number or type of submissions will cut down on errors or confusion. It also more importantly keeps the data clean. Being able to pull reports from Planstone is simple but the data is only as good as the information being inputted. Additionally, if you want the information to flow between your registrations, AMS, CRM, and so on, it is important to keep a strict standard of formatting throughout.
The more clicks it takes to complete a submission, the higher the chance that the submitter might get frustrated or dejected. Making sure that you are asking for information you need that is actually helpful is important. Times have changed and certain questions that might have been relevant 5 or 10 years ago, might not have any bearing today. Thinking about the information you need that could help with membership, education, or meeting content will be of more value to you, your members, and the submitters.
Making the process for submissions should be as easy as possible. Allowing your submitters to edit or amend their submissions prior to the deadline date is a good idea. Planstone allows for this along with changing the submission type from abstract to session for example. Allowing this type of flexibility will encourage more submissions and overall better content.
As mentioned before, people tend to procrastinate till the last second. In Planstone you have the ability to quickly see where people are in the submission process as well as the review process and send them follow-up emails. Additionally, you might see certain trends in topic submission which might mean the subject matter is too broad or maybe this is an emerging interest. Either way, it is good to make sure you are checking in to keep things moving along and prevent too much scrambling at the last minute.
A good plan and a thought out process will have a major impact on delivering quality content at your conference or event. The hard work spent now on your submissions will pay off later. While you will likely have to go through a few different iterations, always know that the Planstone Team is a true education partner and we are here to help drive your success.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help please contact us today.