So, you got the call to serve on the conference planning committee for an academic professional organization. It happens all the time. The leadership decides it wants to visit your city. They contact your dean to get help setting things up. That is where you come into the picture.
There are special considerations for these functions. Professors, researchers and authors attend the conferences to progress their careers. A poorly planned event can damage your prospects. Nobody will forget the annual meeting where everything went wrong. To help you plan a conference that will be a success, here are some things to consider.
Check the Lecture Room Acoustics
Academics deliver research papers as a primary means of disseminating information. Yes, they write books too; however, it takes years to get published. In contrast, conference papers can explore contemporary issues and theories. The audience listens, then asks probing questions. The speaker often revises their work for the anticipated book.
Conference room rental spaces should have quality acoustics. The audience needs to hear the paper being read. There are occasions when noises from the street or hallway impede upon the presentation. Proper planning requires checking the intended meeting space prior to making a final decision. Be sure that the voices of the speakers will project well.
Always Have One Large Room
It is always best to have at least one large room for the presidential address. Most academic conferences allow the leader of the organization to speak. This lecture serves as a highlight of the event. Everyone attends, if possible.
To handle the crowd, there should be enough seating for each member. Use past conference attendance statistics as a guide. Then, choose a facility with seating a bit beyond that range.
Have Some Smaller Rooms for Breakout Sessions
All academic conferences have breakout sessions. These smaller gatherings require less space than the presidential address or paper readings. The executive committee will meet to vote on organization business. The diversity committee will get together to discuss initiatives to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations.
The breakout groups might want smaller business meeting facilities to talk privately and perhaps munch on a buffet.
Get Access to Suites
Academic departments from major universities conduct private job interviews at conferences. The professors enjoy doing so in private suites. This comfortable environment allows them and the prospective professor to feel more at ease.
When planning a meeting, check to see if the conference center has suites. If not, ask if a nearby hotel has some.
Plan an Academic Conference That All Will Enjoy
Armed with this information, you should be ready to plan a successful academic conference. Hopefully, the event will prove a benefit to your own career prospects.