When you’ve organized a conference, how can you capitalize on your experience? Here Georgina Collins provides a guide to maximising the effects of an event organiser’s hard work through publications, continued promotion and networking.
Conferences and seminars provide crucial opportunities for networking and career development, and, for an organiser, these benefits can carry on long after the event has finished. If you have a conference website, or a webpage that forms part of your university website or e-portfolio, you can post event material such as photographs or comments and quotes from attendees.
If you have made a recording of the event, consider editing this into separate files and posting some of the conference online as a podcast. You will, of course, need to get permission from those you wish to include in the podcast before making the material available. You could also post some PowerPoint presentations, but again, consult the speakers first. Then make sure you inform people of these developments.
You may also wish to write a conference or event report and send it out to a relevant print or online journal in your field of research. Ordinarily, these are short articles of around 600 words, and include the following information:
- basic details of the conference – date, location, and sponsorship
- the rationale behind the theme and the response to the call for papers
- who opened and closed the conference
- details of the some of the most notable speakers and brief comments on their papers
- details of the keynote speakers and comments on their presentations
- what was achieved by holding the event
- thoughts for the future, new research trajectories
You may wish to post conference or seminar papers online after the event, or even to publish either the proceedings or selected papers from the conference. Sometimes this is stated in the abstract, on other occasions this will be decided by the organisers after the event. In both cases, you will need to secure permissions from the writers of the papers as well as from the owners of the copyright for any secondary material they have used, such as illustrations or photographs.
If selecting papers after the event, it is usual for event organisers to ask for conference papers to be rewritten and expanded for publication. Make sure you give clear guidelines on length, format and style, including referencing. The papers can then be read in full and the best and most relevant ones are selected by a committee and proceed to publication. Bear in mind that you may need to comment upon or edit these, as well as to provide an introduction or ask for one to be written. You will need to approach publishers well in advance.
Following up your contacts
After the event has taken place, ensure you send out letters of thanks to the following people:
- any keynote speakers or invited guests
- general speakers, if appropriate
- your contact at the venue
- helpers on the day
If you have to organise a similar event in the future, these people will be more willing to help out again if you send thank you letters or emails. Don’t bury the conference once it is over. Keep in touch with people, and send follow-up emails to individuals you met. Make the most of the aftermath while people still remember you – the next time you see them could be on an interview panel!
Image Alliance Internationale, Wikicommons