Inspired by a single post on Facebook, I’ve decided to make this the running list of improvements I think every libertarian conference should make.
Note: Some conferences do these things already. These things may apply to non-libertarian conferences. I know there’s a lot to be thinking about when putting together a conference, and this is not an inclusive list – it is simply something I notice lacking in some conferences because I’m lucky enough to attend over a dozen every year.
1. Double-sided badges. If you’ve got people’s names in a clear envelope on a lanyard, please make it double-sided. Our lanyards always flip.
2. If there is a projector and the speaker doesn’t have a powerpoint presentation for it, a graphic should be made with the event name, the speaker name, and the relevant social media or websites the speaker can be found for the audience. This should also be at the beginning or end of a speaker’s presentation even if they have a powerpoint.
3. As soon as you confirm someone as a speaker, you should set up a unique code for that speaker to refer people to buy tickets. Maybe their sign-ups gets $5 off or 10% or $50 or $100 – but then you can track the speaker’s ability to specifically send people there to get discounted tickets, and you can find out which speakers have the biggest pull among their audiences.
- Also recommend: in your registration, don’t just ask how they heard about the event, but if there’s a particular speaker or thing they’re hoping to see. That way even if they don’t have a discount code, you can still learn which of your speakers may be more of a draw.
4. There are a small handful of libertarian conferences that still charge speakers their registration fee. If you can’t afford to stop doing that (please stop doing that if you can), at least give your speakers a significant discount (like 50% off) from the registration price.
- Please pay your speakers if you possibly can. Some people are willing to speak for expenses covered, others have fees, others are willing to do it for the exposure – but if you can pay speakers, please do.
- If you can’t pay speakers, alternatives include providing them approved (and advertised) places to sell their books or merchandise, and providing them with decent video of their speech so they can use it to get other speaking gigs (for pay). Provide them value for the value they are bringing to your event.
5. You should try to get the social media or website for every speaker, and add it both to your website and to your programs, so people can find out where to learn more / read more / see more from said speaker.
6. Pick a hashtag. Put it on everything. Tell people to take selfies or pictures of things and hashtag it. Tell people to use it on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.
- If you have some sort of banquet at the end, get an intern to pull as many of those hashtagged photos into a slideshow that can be up on the main screen while people are eating their dinner or something. Let people know ahead of time that will be happening, it will increase buzz.
- If you can’t do that, consider posting an article or end of conference wrap up that features your favorites. Consider a competition to have people vote on the best of your favorite 10 and offer the winner a discounted ticket for the following year.
This list will continue to grow, and I’ll keep adding to it here, so you can bookmark this page if you want.
Good list, Avens.
As Professional Speaker myself, I would contribute to your ongoing list by adding my own article from my series, “‘Speaking for Free’ is a Dirty Word.”
Libertarians organizing any liberty event should embody and be the LIVING EXAMPLE of expecting fair exchange of VALUE for VALUE, which means NEVER having the “something for nothing” mindset of socialism. For that reason alone (that that socialism betrays the very principles of libertarian thinking), I would encourage and posit that no libertarian conference organizers should ever use that “dirty word” of asking speakers to “speak for free.” I say to such ones, please be better than that socialism because you instead choose to embody that living example.