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AER LIFT Online AER Leadership Training Webinar Planning and Managing a Chapter Conference, Part 2 AER LIFT Online AER Leadership Training Webinar Planning.

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Presentation on theme: "AER LIFT Online AER Leadership Training Webinar Planning and Managing a Chapter Conference, Part 2 AER LIFT Online AER Leadership Training Webinar Planning."— Presentation transcript:

1 AER LIFT Online AER Leadership Training Webinar Planning and Managing a Chapter Conference, Part 2 AER LIFT Online AER Leadership Training Webinar Planning and Managing a Chapter Conference, Part 2 1

2 Opening & Comments Welcome – Debby Holzapfel Conference Planning Webinar Committee Brenda Egan, Penn-Del AER Julie Lee Kay, VA AER Mary Nelle McLennan, Penn-Del AER Julie Prause, TAER Review Session Content – Brenda Egan 2

3 In Part 1: Value of a Conference Creating a Well-balanced Planning Committee Conference Planning Committee Management and Mechanics Financial Implications and Planning Site Selection and Facility Coordination Vendors Special Activities 3

4 In Part 2: Themes Publicity Speakers and Program Content Registration Continuing Education for Certification Accessibility AV Needs and Arrangements Social and Hospitality Conference Materials Awards or Recognition Evaluations Volunteers 4

5 Choosing Your Conference Theme 5

6 Conference Theme Your conference theme is far more than just a catchy phrase. Your theme plays a big role in setting the tone of the conference. The theme provides a foundation for your entire program and helps bind it together. 6

7 Coming up with a Theme Discuss…Brainstorm…Be creative…Pose even crazy or out-of-the- box ideas…Consider: Famous quotes or inspirational phrases Song titles and lyrics TV shows or set-ups or even popular apps Alliterations Capitalize on a unique local situation or opportunity Search the web for conference themes Focus on themes that include or appeal to your chapter’s various disciplines Identify themes and conference topics that address your chapter’s specific areas of needs or interests 7

8 2012 Texas AER Conference 8

9 2011 Texas AER Conference 9

10 2013 VA AER 10 Julie Lee Kay Fredericksburg, VA Putting on Your Top Hat

11 2013 Penn-Del AER Conference Keynote: Rick Welsh, First President of AER —“Lincoln, Howe, and You” Midnote: Annette Reichman, US Dept of Education — “Equality, Accessibility, and Opportunity: One Person’s Journey” Footnote: Master Sgt. Jeffrey Mittman, Retired, US Army — “The Luckiest Man” 11

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14 Carrying Out the Theme Embed the theme in conference planning Include the theme and theme-related references in all your promotional materials Include theme in Call for Presentations or speaker invitations Use related graphics in conference documents, registration, conference programs, name tags, Create table centerpieces that reflect theme Add touches that reflect the theme throughout the conference; examples: Virginia’s hat theme… Penn-Del’s Gettysburg theme 14

15 Carrying Out the Theme, Cont’d. Keynote and general sessions are great places to focus on theme. Emphasize the theme when making arrangements with your Keynote and general session speakers. Request that Keynote and other general session speakers build their remarks around the theme. Do not expect all the concurrent sessions to carry out the theme, but some may be creative enough to do so. 15

16 FOR KENTUCKY AER, THE THEME WAS MAGIC – AND SO WAS THE KEYNOTE WITH “KAERICK”!

17 Never underestimate the power of a good theme well implemented. 17

18 Publicity 18

19 Publicity: Before the Conference The conference location at the end of the previous year’s conference (Save the Date!) Decide on the theme of the conference, a logo (see photo) and create a flyer. This should be done before the formal announcement Formally announce the conference at least 6 months prior through blasts to current members, past attendees, your listserv and/or chapter’s website 19

20 Publicity 20

21 Publicity: Before the Conference, Cont’d. Ask other agencies, such as early intervention agencies, adult agencies, schools for the blind, to publicize Announce again when registration opens Announce again when registration is about close Consider doing other random announcements to promote special events, speakers, etc. 21

22 Publicity: During the Conference Make frequent announcements about: Silent auction Vendors Special events Announce next year’s location 22

23 Publicity: After the Conference Share publicity info and tips with next year’s conference committee Write an article for Chapter Website and/or AER Report 23

24 Speakers and Conference Content ( AKA Program Committee) 24

25 Speakers and Conference Content will cover: Speakers and Conference Content will cover: Formulating a plan for presenter costs Determining conference shape and size Designing the conference schedule Developing the program and securing presenters Managing presenter data and record keeping Arranging speaker introductions and creature comforts 25

26 Formulate a Plan for Speaker Expenses Confirm Financial Resources “How much money do we have?” Refer to conference committee budget as approved by the Chapter Board Identify funds available for presenter costs within the approved conference budget If necessary, prepare rationale and strategies for more funding to secure presenters 26

27 Formulate a Plan for Speaker Expenses “How do we spend it?” Decide how you will handle speaker costs and expenses. Consider separate financial practices for: Keynote or general session presenters Concurrent presenters Poster presenters 27

28 Formulate a Plan for Expenses, Cont’d. Establish a policy for each category of speakers: Will you cover travel, food, and lodging costs? Will you cover conference expenses? Will you provide honoraria? Will you provide thank you gifts? Are there other costs to consider? 28

29 Formulate a Plan for Expenses, Cont’d. Speaker payment practices vary widely: Texas AER gives the keynote speaker free hotel stay. Virginia AER pays the keynote speaker’s expenses and an honorarium. Penn-Del AER has a hybrid practice: $100 honorarium for each concurrent presentation $50 honorarium for each poster presentation or roundtable presentation $500 honorarium and all expenses for each “Note” speaker or general session presenter 29

30 Implement Your Plan for Speaker Costs Formalize your plan and garner approval of Board Carry out your plan consistently Publicize your plan – State it clearly in your Call for Presentations or speaker invitations Include it in your follow-up speaker materials and communications Provide reimbursement forms and clear instructions for appropriate parties 30

31 Determine Shape and Size of Your Conference Factors to consider: Length of conference; number of days Number of attendees anticipated Number of time slots in conference schedule Number of sessions offered in each time slot Are you repeating any sessions? Number and sizes of meeting rooms available Number of general sessions to be scheduled 31

32 Design Your Conference Schedule Review the decisions about the “shape and size” of your conference Consider number of minutes/hours you will offer for continuing education Consider other session types in addition to the usual concurrent and poster presentations Roundtables Vendor presentations Dedicated time slot for attendees to visit vendor exhibits Hands-on “make and take” activities Consider special events Video screening or student showcase Preconference workshop 32

33 Design Your Conference Schedule, Cont’d. Create a template of your conference schedule so you can see what you need. Include : General sessions Concurrent sessions Poster sessions Vendor hours Breaks and meals Other events and meetings 33

34 Blank Schedule Template for Planning 34

35 Design Your Conference Schedule, Cont’d. Consider variations in your general sessions: Entertainment Group activities or ice breakers Door prizes or recognitions for various reasons Offer more than one “Note” session as does the Penn- Del Chapter: Open with a “Keynote” address Center your conference with a “Midnote” address Close your conference with a “Footnote” address 35

36 Building Conference Content Presentations should be designed to educate participants about successful practices, innovations, research, or expanded perspectives that improve services to students and clients who are blind or visually impaired. You may want to discourage presentations that are solely product demonstrations. 36

37 Building Conference Content, Cont’d. Criteria for Evaluating Presentation Proposals Is the topic important and relevant to the work of professionals in the field of visual impairment? Does the topic provide significant or innovative ideas or research findings that bring fresh insight or approaches? Does the topic present a new or expanded perspective, practice, program, or innovation? Does the topic fit into the content strands of the conference and add balance to the overall program? Has this topic been presented at a recent conference held by your chapter? 37

38 Securing Speakers Determine your method for securing speakers Two basic methods for securing speakers: 1) Identify and invite speakers 2)Issue a Call for Presentations 38

39 Securing Speakers, Cont’d. Method 1: Identify and invite speakers Committee brainstorms and invites speakers OR Following committee brainstorming, lead persons or teams are responsible for identifying and inviting presenters that address topics related to specific disciplines or strands 39

40 Securing Speakers, Cont’d. “Strand captain” strategy used by Virginia AER The chapter uses four strands—VRT, TVI, O&M and Technology—and a “captain” for each. Strand captains are responsible for concurrent session speakers. Strand captains are charged with contacting members to see what topics they are interested in and to get recommendations of speakers. They fill in the slots for their strand and serve as the contact point for the speakers. The conference chair takes care of the overall agenda/room placement and keynotes. 40

41 Securing Speakers, Cont’d. Method 2: Implement a Call for Presentations Follows a widely respected professional approach to building conference content Extends your options beyond the reach and awareness of the conference committee Is feasible even for small chapters Yields surprising results! Recommended for concurrents and posters – not for Keynotes or general session speakers 41

42 Securing Speakers, Cont’d. Basic Steps in Implementing a Call for Presentations Design and distribute a “call” that includes detailed conference information and an accessible submission form. Accession all submissions and circulate to the review committee. Review each submission according to specific criteria; accept the proposals that are most appropriate for your audience; augment the program with other presentations if needed to provide balance and variety. Communicate with submitters all along the way. 42

43 Securing Speakers, Cont’d. How to locate Keynote speakers? Identify thought leaders Review recent literature Look at other conference programs Talk to your contacts and colleagues in other chapters Ask schools for the blind and/or other agencies Consult with AER Central office Call in favors! Do not be bashful 43

44 Collecting and Managing Speaker Data Set up charts and systems to collect, process, and communicate the information needed about each speaker and presentation. Design presenter submission forms to collect the information you need for: your conference program for your chapter’s application to ACVREP: 44

45 Information to Collect on Speaker Forms Presentation title and type of presentation Speakers’ contact information: name; title or position; school or agency; mailing address; address; phone numbers Abstract of presentation Primary learning objective Brief session description for conference program Speaker bio or profile AV and room setup requirements 45

46 Communicate Like Crazy! Communicate with your speakers at every step in the process Send comprehensive letter outlining details of the conference Send reminders of such as registration and handouts Provide contact information so speakers can reach conference personnel with questions 46

47 Develop the Conference Agenda Communicate with accepted presenters to determine the days and times of availability. Give them a deadline! Work to provide balance and avoid conflicts within each time slot. It’s a SHELL GAME! Use the schedule template you created. And “yellow stickies” are the ticket! 47

48 Building a Balanced Program Regardless of the method used for securing speakers, special care must be paid to assuring balance among session topics. Strategies: Create a matrix showing strands or topic areas that need to be included. Use this to assist in assuring balance in your content. Enter sessions into the conference schedule template your created earlier and color code to indicate strands or disciplines addressed. 48

49 Strand Matrix Sample

50 Color-coded Conference Template 50

51 Confirm and Communicate Schedule  Confirm schedule with full conference committee  Communicate schedule to presenters for their approval before making it final….tweak to avoid scheduling conflicts if necessary  Distribute conference schedule and post on chapter website two months in advance  Distribute At-a-Glance to all presenters at least two months before conference so they can plan accordingly 51

52 Speaker Introductions  Appoint coordinator for to organize and assign introductions  Pull bios from submission forms or presentation summaries  Assign a “session host” to introduce each presenter and provide bio or profile for session host to use  Prepare introduction in medium needed by respective host 52

53 Speakers: During the Conference Welcome the speakers and offer assistance Provide a host or AV assistant in each presentation room Provide a contact number and/or person for questions or requests Provide reimbursement forms Present speakers with thank you gifts or notes (optional) 53

54 Speakers: After the Conference Write thank you letters to each presenter Mail reimbursement or honoraria checks if applicable Celebrate – then start the cycle again! 54

55 Registration 55

56 Registration Registration provides the main revenues for the event Attendee registration and payment handling is crucial Registration form should be easy to use and look professional Registration form can be used to collect attendee data for future chapter activities 56

57 Registration: Before the Conference Registration Form Collects the following: ◦ Name, contact information, membership #, what the registration fee covers, meal choices, alternate format and site orientation needs Shares the following: ◦ cancellation policy, hotel and ground information, where to send completed registration, and chapter website Establish registration fees ◦ Work with conference planning committee, including treasurer ◦ Determine rates for: AER Members, Non-members, Students, Paraprofessionals, Etc.  Discounts Early-bird registration  Multiple attendees from same organization  Speakers, vendors, special guests ◦ Consider cost of the conference  Determine what conference fees will cover – meals, materials, rental fees, cost of AV, etc 57

58 Registration: Before the Conference, cont’d. Registration Form Method of Payment AER Central Office Online Registration System  Call Central Office for details ◦ Check ◦ Credit card Determine deadline for cancellations  Full or partial reimbursement? Design accessible conference registration Blast/distribute registration form along with conference brochure ◦ Post on website 58

59 Registration: Before the Conference, cont’d. Handling Registrations: Establish a database to keep track of all registrations Follow up on missing registration information Follow up on incorrect payments Send confirmation notice Send checks and registration summary to the treasurer weekly 59

60 Registration: Before the Conference, cont’d. Registration Desk: Arrange for coverage at the registration desk ◦ Paid person(s)/Board or Conference members/Volunteers Work with Materials Committee to gather all materials for the registration packet Establish set-up for registration table Provide separate check-in for AER Members, Speakers, and Vendors Gather supplies – pencils, paper, clips, markers, scissors, etc. copier 60

61 Registration: During the Conference Registration Desk: Provide registration packet to attendee ◦ Conference Program, At-a-Glance, Evaluation forms, Conference receipt, Name tag, Meal tickets, Special announcements, Professional development documents Register walk-ins Gather extra registration packets and Braille copies of registration materials Keep running count of meals Make sure registration desk is covered at all times Answer questions Put out fires Lost and Found Serve as central information 61

62 Registration: After the Conference Leave the area neat and tidy Summarize and present registration data to the conference planning committee AER Members Non-members Vendors Total revenue Send thank you notes 62

63 Continuing Education Hours and Certification Credits 63

64 Continuing Education: Before the Conference ACVREP continuing education hours If you plan to offer ACRVEP continuing education hours, you must apply no later than 90 days before your conference. Complete the single-event application Submit the fee ($175.00) along with the completed application 64

65 Continuing Education: Before the Conference ACVREP, Cont’d. Design the conference schedule to offer a reasonable number of hours that attendees can earn Collect speaker and presentation information needed for application via your proposal submission form or your speaker summary form 65

66 Continuing Education: During the Conference ACVREP Use an approved method of documenting and granting approval for attendance and participation Provide participants with a verification of attendance indicating the number of CE hours earned 66

67 Continuing Education: After the Conference ACVREP Complete and submit materials to be submitted to ACVREP 67

68 Continuing Education: State Renewal Processes Determine your respective state’s process for certification or licensure renewal for teachers and for rehabilitation professionals Make necessary arrangements to comply with these regulations Announce the availability of renewal hours 68

69 Accessibility and Accommodations 69

70 Accessibility and Accommodations AER should be a role model in accessibility! The AER Accessibility Committee compiled an accessibility guide in It covers: Site Hotel Way finding and orientation Proposal submission Registration and check-in Program materials Presentations Presenter handouts 70

71 Accessibility and Accommodations The AER Accessibility Guide with checklists is available on the website. Share with your conference committee members that cover each area to ensure a conference that is wonderfully accessible! 71

72 Accessibility and Accommodations: Before the Conference Things to consider while working on accessibility issues: Select a hotel with an easy to navigate floor plan Set up contracts with interpreters early! Ask DOE if they will pay interpreters as part of teacher training. If the conference site doesn’t have braille and large print menus, floor plans, fire escape directions and guest services, offer to do this as a negotiating chip Work with the hotel staff to not only offer a relief area, but make it easy to access and use; include trashcans! Label the sessions in braille and large print outside each room 72

73 Accessibility and Accommodations: Before the Conference Offer to train staff in customer service regarding laws on service dogs, serving guests, marking keys, etc. Make sure that special activities planned are also accessible, not just conference materials. Share accessibility checklists with presenters so they understand which fonts to use, how to cover all material in PowerPoint slides, and to include sounds when transitioning between slides Have location on registration form to ask for reading medium as well as mobility needs Make sure hotel meets ADA requirements as well as is easy to navigate in wheelchairs (once tables are in aisles, for instance) and not confusing layout Give program committee numbers of people needing special media 73

74 Accessibility and Accommodations: During the Conference Have O&M personnel on-site at beginning of conference as well as at host table during conference for familiarization. Ask attendees to arrange for a specific time beforehand, if possible. Have tactile map of hotel layout Have a computer with translation software and embosser available at the conference to make last-minute materials. 74

75 Accessibility and Accommodations: After the Conference Write thank-you notes to hotel, interpreters, DOE; whoever helped make your conference the most accessible one ever! 75

76 A-V Needs and Arrangements 76

77 A-V Needs and Arrangements Typically includes equipment needed for each breakout session i.e., microphones, LCD projectors, screens AV needs MUST be budgeted for Can an agency help with this and defer some of the cost? AV arrangements must be done BEFORE the conference! 77

78 A-V: Before the Conference Find out if the hotel has an in-house AV company or do they contract out the services Contact the AV company and tell them who is the contact person for the conference Meet with AV company IN PERSON, if at all possible Get a price list of services and packages Decide what your chapter will provide for the presenters 78

79 A-V: Before the Conference, cont’d. Ask what each presenter will need on proposal form Remind your presenters to bring things that are NOT provided, i.e., laptop, flashdrive Create a program spreadsheet showing what room needs what equipment at what time Don’t forget to plan for your AV needs during the general session, keynote, luncheon, awards banquet, etc. 79

80 A-V: During the Conference Meet with AV person and share your spreadsheet Meet with team of volunteers prior to the first session Review the spreadsheet each day Assign an AV monitor per breakout session 80

81 A-V: After the Conference Discuss what worked and didn’t work with your subcommittee Pass on any pertinent information to next year’s subcommittee Write thank you to the AV staff 81

82 Social and Hospitality 82

83 Social and Hospitality Why Have A Social Event? Fosters networking Forms relationships You want them to say, “It feels like a family reunion!” 83

84 Social and Hospitality, cont’d. Ideas for socials End of the Day Café Blues Club Dancing Entertainment Member Variety Show Game Nights Fun Runs 84

85 Social and Hospitality: Before the Conference Form committee Determine budget needs and scope of activity or activities Tie in with conference theme, if there is one Ensure room(s) availability Set up entertainment, games, food, beverages Recommend KISS: keep it simple! Publicize See if vendors will assist or host a social 85

86 Social and Hospitality: Before the Conference, cont’d. How to Publicize Send out Blasts Include in conference Program Announce at All General Sessions Make sure start and end times are clear! 86

87 Social and Hospitality: During the Conference Remind participants of social or activities Set up room or activity Make sure all guests know where food and drink are Implement any special activities: games, silent auction, dancing, walk/run, etc. Clean up 87

88 Social and Hospitality: After the Conference Review success/failure of activities and make recommendations for next conference Pay bills Write than-you notes to any sponsors 88

89 Conference Materials 89

90 Materials: Before the Conference Think GREEN Determine the format for conference program Establish timelines for when materials/information are due Determine point person to design the conference program and create master copy Make arrangements for printing the program ◦ Determine quantity of each media requested 90

91 Materials: Before the Conference, cont’d. Determine organization of conference materials - - folders, envelope, bag, on-line Order folders, make name tags, meal tickets, announcements, evaluation forms Send to printer Collate folders for attendees Assemble extra folders for walk-in registrations Coordinate handouts and plan for production ◦ Hard copy ◦ Disc copy ◦ Download through Chapter website 91

92 Materials: During the Conference Back-up plan for Braille production requests that come in at the last minute. Consider having the ability to produce Braille copies on site. Accessibility kiosk – cctv, computer with jaws 92

93 Materials: After the Conference Archive copies in various media Review evaluations for suggested improvements 93

94 Awards or Recognition 94

95 Awards: Before the Conference Prepare and distribute “Call for Awards Nomination” ◦ Define criteria for nomination Send reminder announcement prior to deadline Identify Awards review team Confirm the nominee meets the criteria for award ie: AER membership, etc. Notify Award recipient and confirm attendance at the conference ◦ Make arrangements for family members to attend Awards Ceremony ◦ Order meals for family and friends attending 95

96 Awards: Before the Conference, cont’d. Order plaque/trophy/or whatever form your award takes. Complete engraving. Plan Awards ceremony ◦ Arrange for “special presenters”, if appropriate ◦ Power point (gather pictures from colleagues/friends/family members) Recognize past recipients in the conference program and the new recipient(s) if possible 96

97 Awards: Before the Conference, cont’d. Order plaque/trophy/or whatever form your award takes. Have engraving completed Plan Awards ceremony ◦ Arrange for “special presenters”, if appropriate ◦ Power point (gather pictures from colleagues/friends/family members) Recognize past recipients in the conference program and the new recipient(s) if possible (before going to press) 97

98 Awards: During the Conference VIP Welcome at Registration Desk for Award Recipients Recognize past recipients ◦ During the Welcome/General Membership/Other Display posters of this year’s award recipient(s) 98

99 Awards: During the Conference, cont’d. If this is a surprise for the honoree, make arrangements for family/friend participation and assign someone to greet the special guests when they arrive Confirm total number for meals, if appropriate with the registration chair Awards committee or designee assumes emcee responsibility for the Awards Ceremony 99

100 Awards: After the Conference Post recipients on chapter website Submit article to AER Report Submit a local press release 100

101 Evaluations 101

102 Evaluations There are basically two types of evaluations Your own evaluation ACVREP/State DOE/Rehabilitation 102

103 Evaluations: Before the Conference Review last year’s evaluations. Did they give you the information you needed for this year? If not, adjust. Make the evaluations simple and accessible Include in program packet with clear instructions of when to do it and where to put it 103

104 Evaluations: During the Conference ACVREP requires pre and post session documentation of attendance Give stamps/stickers to attendees at sessions Hosts call out a beginning session number and an ending session number 104

105 Evaluations: After the Conference Give Certificate of Attendance when people turn in their evaluations. Offer a drawing for those forms turned in! Consolidate results, share with committee and Board, make changes 105

106 Volunteers 106

107 Volunteers: Before the Conference Review options for volunteers College students Board members Determine how volunteers will be used Room proctors Registration desk Assist with special events  Silent auction 107

108 Volunteers: Before the Conference, cont’d. Extend formal invitation Outline expectations and compensations Make hotel arrangements for volunteers 108

109 Volunteers: During the Conference Meet with volunteers each day to outline the day and events Monitor volunteers and be available to answer questions 109

110 Volunteers: After the Conference Write thank you letters 110

111 Questions & Answers 111

112 Closing Comments 112

113 Contact Information Brenda Egan Julie Kay Julie Prause Mary Nelle McLennan 113


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