I have been a speaker at conferences, on several planning committees, have volunteered and have pretty much served every role that there is at live events. I LOVE them. I love meeting people, speaking to crowds, sharing my knowledge…
And the 2012 CFL BlogCon event held this weekend took the cake. Errr, strawberry cookies.
You won’t get a great recap of the event from me because as volunteer/committee member/speaker coordinator/emcee, I spent nearly 12 hours running around doing stuff. I popped into almost every presentation but sat through none. Sad face.
Luckily, the 200+ attendees have been sharing their recaps on our Facebook wall, and whether you’re local to Orlando or not, I think you’ll find some great reviews.
My thoughts from the planning side:
- Planning? Ha! You can plan for everything and still get surprised. We had a speaker get into a car accident (she’s OK) the morning of the event and not make it. Scramble. We had unexpected road closures that blocked access to the parking garage. Scramble. At one point we misplaced (but found) a box of plugs that were pretty crucial to the entire event. Scramble. You know what? The attendees never…well barely ever…saw us sweat and it didn’t hurt their experience at all.
- Content is key. I spent months working with our speakers to craft fun, informative, easy-to-understand presentations that included lots of takeaways. The feedback I’ve heard so far is that we succeeded. It was very hard to choose the topics and turn some dynamic speakers away, but at the end of the day — it’s about the attendees.
- Sponsors rock. Especially fun ones that embrace the spirit of the day.
- The key to having a great event is having a great leader. We had one in Bess Auer and I can’t say enough about her work. Without her, there is no way the day would have been a success.
- Having a waiting list plan is important. We sold out early…and that bummed a lot of people out. We had a waiting list but it would have been better to automate it somehow so that people who wanted to sell their tickets had one-stop shopping.
- Flow makes a big difference. We had to upgrade to a big venue to accommodate all of the people — awesome! But that meant having rooms that were far away from each other — not awesome! We did a good job of posting signage but could have done better, I think.
Overall, I give us an A-/B+. We did SO much amazing work and only had a few stumbles, and for an event that’s bigger than most weddings, I think that’s pretty great.
And now, a photo dump. ALL of these gorgeous shots are courtesy Macbeth Photography, one of the most fun and fabulous vendors I’ve ever worked with. Seriously, if you need a photo booth, professional headshots, someone to document your next event, etc. Macbeth is the way to go.