Want to make your life as an event manager easier? Ensure all information about your event is consistent and up-to-date.
"That's sounds great," you're probably thinking. "After that, why don't we find a way to end all wars and put a human on Mars." Ensuring consistent and up-to-date information is quite a challenge. Maybe not human-on-Mars difficult, but not far off.
But it’s also a worthwhile and achievable aim to pursue. We have several easy-to-implement steps that will get you moving in the right direction, and then a recommendation on how to reliably ensure consistent and up-to-date information with no work on your end.
Before we start, let's dive into why this is such a difficult (but important) problem to address. First, providing consistent and up-to-date information across all touch points is a difficult project management problem unto itself. And if one is not prepared, or doesn’t have the right tools, the pursuit of this aim can quickly spiral out of control and inundate you with more work and emails than you can handle.
Consider this scenario:
You ask your speakers for a piece of information (say their bios) and–BOOM–you’re buried under an avalanche of emails. Before you can get to them all, and update the information you’ve been sent, you get more emails asking if you got their previous email, asking if their information has been updated yet, or providing updates to the information previously sent. It’s a herculean task to manage it all!
Not to mention, delays in updating information upsets your speakers, sponsors, exhibitors—and inconsistent information confuses potential attendees. Instead of providing a consistent experience, you’re providing a more fractured experience, upsetting everybody, and wasting a ton of time while doing it.
That’s quite a Pandora’s box you’ve opened!
Now here's how to avoid this situation, keep information consistent,, and avoid the email avalanche.
Set clear expectations
If you’re going to avoid time-wasting follow-up emails and speaker / exhibitor / sponsor / attendee frustration, the most important thing you can do is to set clear expectations. When people know your process and timelines for updating information, they’re more likely to leave you alone to focus on doing it. A simple way to do this is set up an email auto-response letting people know you’ve received their message, when they can expect to hear back, and when they can expect to see changes implemented.
Put yourself in their shoes
You can anticipate and pre-emptively answer many questions, thereby reducing email volume, by thinking through the experience of your speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees. When creating an event, walk through the entire experience from each of those perspectives. For example, “I’m a speaker. What does that mean? Why types of questions do I have? What do I value?” This can help you get all the information you need the first time, reducing the time required to go back and make changes.
Empower where possible
Create things like FAQs to preemptively answer questions. Have information readily available on your website so people can get the answers to their questions, or so you can easily point them to where they can find answers (instead of taking time to write answers to every question you receive) will help you avoid the cascade of questions.
Technology is your friend
The surest way to keep information consistent and updated, and reduce the number of frustrated or angry people reaching out with updates, is to use technology to keep things organized. Even if you find tech intimidating, there are easy-to-use free tools, such as Google Docs, that can help you stay organized and keep information consistent.
For those managing events with more variables, or who are comfortable with getting the most out of technology, there are several tools out there, such as Hubb, that help you manage your events and automatically organize your event content. In fact, one of the reasons why we created Hubb was to help keep our event content organized after too many instances of inconsistent information. Having a single place where you can go to update all your event information will help you ensure a consistent experience and will free you from the dreaded email avalanche.
Want to save some time? Try Hubb for free!