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:
The final question of the survey was this: 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?
As with the other questions, I received loads of helpful suggestions. Here is a smattering:
Suggestions for conference organizers:
Several people said they appreciate it when pocket-size schedules are available.
“I’ve been fairly under-wowed by the way conferences present their materials, in that every vendor, panel, and talk seems to have a separate set of handouts, or even a separate format. I’ve never been to a large conference that presented materials in a unified way and helped me collect them in a unified way.” — this was echoed by another respondent who said having everything organized in one binder in order of the presentations makes life easier.
“Some very expensive conferences provide binders already set up to keep and augment materials. In the more electronic times we live in I find many speakers refer you to their websites or other places where their materials are stored. Easier to use this way IMHO.”
“I think a good conference provides electronic access afterwards, which is particularly helpful to those who can’t attend.”
Suggestions for attendees:
“I carry a three-ring binder with the syllabus materials for sessions I plan to attend divided by tabs for each day of the conference. I have my conference schedule in the front of the binder, so I can see quickly where I’m supposed to go next.”
“It’s a whole lot easier to deal with a conference if I’ve live blogged it.”
“For some things, I actually write on it, “Why am I keeping this?,” and write out the answer.”
“I try to create an “Action List” of things I want to try, do, research, etc., when I return. Keeping this separate from all the other conference “stuff” helps me to focus on just that. I also need to submit reports on all meetings that I attend.”
“Ideally I would write the conference paper titles at the front of each notebook and list them in a database on computer. I do this sometimes but often I am too busy when I get home and resume work.”
“One vendor at SLA 2009 gave medium-end swag on front table, and the high-end stuff was on a back table; you would only get it if you had a conversation with them.Sometimes [a] weird or intriguing toy is good swag because it’s a conversation starter, both for me at the vendor’s booth and later when I bring the thing back to my office.”
“I do find that I’m starting to scan more things, though. I am a fan of Microsoft OneNote for keeping e-scraps (Evernote is good, too).”
“I especially like following and following up on conferences through the extensive use of Twitter. I just attended a one-day event yesterday and found myself disappointed that they hadn’t created a Twitter handle for it.”
“Slideshare for the PowerPoint (and with download option can often see the speakers remarks as well as the sides), Youtube if a video was made, Rww is great for tech conferences write-ups.”
My final post in this series will sum up the results and include my observations about the trends mentioned and possible opportunities and solutions that have revealed themselves along the way. Read on here:
Post 8 (Conclusion)