Conference Materials Survey: Attendee Suggestions, Part 1

I’m running a series of posts about a survey I did to see how conference attendees organize the information and materials they bring home with them. Please be sure to read the previous posts in the series:

In this post, I’ll share some of the attendee responses to Question 8 of the survey: What would help you make better use of your conference materials when you get home? Again, I am extraordinarily grateful to the wonderful folks who responded to my survey because so many took the time to give great recommendations in answer to this question.

Respondents clamored to have more presentations and handouts made available online after the conference (either by the speakers or the conference organizers). A couple people specifically asked to have the syllabus made available online too.

One respondent played devil’s advocate to the above suggestions however, stating, “Saying that the notes are available online is useless – how many of us actually manage to write down the entire URL on the screen and then bother to go back and look it up?”

In a similar vein, several other respondents said that posting materials online isn’t enough. More than one suggested assigning keywords to handouts and presentations and/or indexing them by subject and author. Another said, “I wish that the handouts/PowerPoints would be provided in a way that they could be searched by topic. Otherwise, all that great stuff just gets forgotten about because it’s not easy enough to access. It’s essential[ly] hidden unless you remember to go there.”

This sentiment was echoed in another answer: “My real problem is that it takes me so long to categorize and file and so stuff stays in piles til I get to it – but at least I know its there along with stuff I pull out of magazines etc. I wish I had a better way to make use of the stuff!”

One respondent suggested that more conference follow-up is needed to encourage attendees to make the best use of what they learn: “Some sort of nudging follow up from conference organizers might push me to get back to it. A follow up note like ‘Librarians Pat Smith and Jamie Brown are starting to using the tools we explored in these ways – what about you?’ might help restart the conference conversations and push me back into the immediate post-conference mentality.”

A couple of respondents made suggestions specific to vendors. One respondent asked for more clarity in the brochures given out at conferences: “Some of them use cool graphics and vague names and descriptions: business solutions, synergizing competencies, maximizing your….we have no idea what your product does so it’s easier to toss your flyer.” Another simply asked for coupons and trial periods that start after the conference and not during.

Many other respondents simply requested more time to be able to deal with everything they accumulate at each conference. And, of course, there can never be enough outlets or free wireless access at conferences.

My next post will cover the responses to Question 9 of the survey: Other thoughts? Do you use systems/tools to keep yourself organized at/after a conference not already covered above? Ever been wowed by how a conference presented its materials? How did they do it? Find out at the links below:

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3 thoughts on “Conference Materials Survey: Attendee Suggestions, Part 1

  1. Judy Webster says:

    Thanks for sharing this feedback. It has given me something to think about as I prepare the handouts for three talks to family historians in October – November!

  2. [...] Post 6 (Question 8/Attendee Suggestions, Part 1) [...]

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