Beyond IQ

BIQ Task Sheet

Task Lead Time In months Group Done?
Set date 12 1
Schedule site, including approx. rooms, size auditorium, etc. 12 1
Make deposit 12 1
Set Budget and Registration prices 10 to 12 1
Non-meeting time functions (ice cream social, banquet?, tours. etc.) 10 to 12 3
Update other groups’ Conference Calendars 10 to 12 5
Determine Keynote hopefuls, offer invites go out 9 to 12 6
Determine Theme 9 to 12 6
Plan out Friday professional day 9 to 12 6
Confirm Keynote(s) 9 to 10 6
Prepare RFP and deadline for return & decision 9 2
Announce Conf. On Website and e-mail lists 9 5
Check w/presenter unsubmitted but desired 8 2
Review Proposals 7 2
Send proposal response letters (inc. Child.) 7 2
Exhibitor/Vendor letters go out 6 3
Schedule Audio/Video recording 6 3
School Announcements for Professional Day 5 2
External food arrangements made 5 3
Send first wave of PSAs 5 5
Arrange PDP/Education/Certificate status 4 3
Create confirmation package for registrants 4 4
Send packets as appropriate 4 4
Advance brochure/pamphlet designed & sent out 4 5
Finalize Professionals Program 4 6
Block other hotel rooms, if needed 4 1 and 3
Send registration forms to presenters (food choice, etc.) 4 2 and 4 and 6
Set up on-line registration process 4 4 and 5
Finalize hotel arrangements (set up times, menus, table numbers, rooms) 3 1
Awards? 3 6
All last minute printed program info due 2 5
2nd wave of PSA’s go out 2 5
Organize on-site volunteers 2 7
Purchase packet supplies 2 4 and 7
Finalize numbers for food (hotel and vendors) 1 1
Lay out and review final program 1 5
Start printing program, eval form, Exhibitor list, other packet materials 1 5
Print name tags and Room Schedules 1 5 and 7
Purchase non-perishables for Green Room (if any) 1 7
Set volunteer schedules 1 7
Stuff packets 1 4 and 7
Print walk-in registration forms half a month 4 and 7
Purchase perishable supplies needed (if any) half a month 4 and 7
Registration Desk Conference 8
Printing Conference 8
Audio-Visual Coordination Conference 8
Gophering (sign posting, parent-finding, speaker-helping, etc.) Conference 8
Games Room Conference 8
Clean up Conference 8
Group # Description
1 Function Space
2 Proposals
3 External Contacts
4 Registration
5 Advertising/Program
6 Theme/Professional Day
 7  Pre-Site Mgmt
8 Conference Weekend

Beyond IQ – Task Descriptions

1)      Group 1: Time and Space

a)      Set Date

à        Determine a weekend on which to hold the conference, keeping in mind religious holidays and school holidays, as well as local weather conditions. Staff availability and Keynote availability may be considerations, as well. In some cases, site availability comes ahead of date.

b)      Schedule site, including approx. rooms, keynote space size, etc.

à        Date availability, highway accessibility, at least 6 function spaces for a full BIQ (2 kid work shop rooms, 1 games room, 1 keynote room, 1 or 2 breakout rooms, 1 YA space). Indoor swimming pool is optimal. Suites hotels with function space are good, though few of the hotels in the Northeast seem to work that way. YA space is often better in a good suite than in a regular function space. Space for vendors is preferred, but then again, so is having vendors. A clear space for registration is useful. Ice Cream Social space on Saturday night is good. So, too, are one or two rooms on Friday for a Professional Workshops day.

à        The hotel contract should include per function room cost as well as the termination costs. Some hotels have guest room price as part of a separate document, some wrap it up with the other. Often, there will be a minimum percent of ‘blocked’ rooms that must be filled to get the function room price offered – 80% seems fairly standard. It means that the number of hotel rooms blocked must be done carefully. In blocking, remember that the Keynotes, the YA coordinator, and the Conference coordinator may be being comped. Sometimes, the Children’s Program coordinator will be, too.

à        Sometimes, a banquets minimum will substitute for a room nights minimum. Sometimes both are required to be met. This item is easy to go far over what you expected. Most of the time, we feed people lunch and break food on Friday, and either break food or nothing on the weekends. With no food near the hotel, that can change, but it also impacts the price of the conference.

à        Tax and Service Fee are added on to most functions, with the service fee applying to function space, in particular. This can add 25% to the total, easily.

à        Sometimes, the conference site will not be a hotel. In that case, most of the room stuff gets applied to the hotel, but it can slide as late as 4 months before the conference often. Still, where are people eating and how that is determined should be figured out well in advance, or one ends up with a mess at the end.

c)      Make Deposit

à        This is best done as late in the game as possible in years with lean budgets, esp. if we are putting up the cost of Keynote travel well in advance of the conference. Otherwise, the treasurer or head of group needs to cooperate on this part – but since that person had to sign off on the hotel contract, anyway, that should not be a problem.

d)     Set Budget and Registration Prices

à        Expenses = Function Rooms + Banquet + Keynotes + Beds + Equipment + Printing + other supplies

à        Income = Registrations + Vendor Fees + Tape or Shirt sales + Donations

à        Remember that a fraction of all registrations done on line will go to Paypal and credit cards.

e)      Block other hotel rooms, if needed

à        If this unlikely event occurs, proximity to the conference and price are the top two considerations, with type of hotel being next.

f)       Finalize hotel arrangements

à        Fix program times, so the hotel can help with signage

à        Menus need to be determined weeks in advance, usually

à        How many tables of which type in which rooms?

à        Are there any rooms we do not need? Do we need another?

à        What AV needs are coming from the Hotel?

g)      Finalize numbers for food

à        This includes both the hotel and any external vendors

2)      Group 2: Talks to Speakers

a)      Prepare Request for Proposals (RFP) and deadline for return to us and decision from us

à        This explicitly includes sending them out!

à        This needs to take into account before and after either summers or Christmas rush, or the RFP’s will not be seen.

à        If there is a theme, that should go on it, as should determination of importance to the theme. Decide if you are going to want potential speakers to ‘assign homework’ to attendees – that is, if you are going to request pre-reading or vocabulary words for presentations.

à        Should permission to Tape go here?

b)      Check with presenters who have not submitted, but who are desired

à        These might include past speakers or, if there is a theme, people with particular application to it. Other times, it might be somebody of whom you have heard or whom you have encountered and think would be a good addition. But most of the time, it will be people to whom RFP’s have been sent but from whom you have not heard.

c)      Review Proposals

à        This can be done either by committee or by one person.

à        Usually, Children’s Program proposals and YA proposals should be handled by those coordinators.

d)     Send proposal response letters (including those for the Children’s Program)

à        Acceptances are easy. Rejections are hard. Sometimes you will see more than one from a speaker who wishes to give only one.

à        If the coordinators for the YA and Children’s Programs are doing their own reviews, they should still try to coordinate the response letters.

e)      Send registration information to presenters (food choice, etc.)

à        Information needs to be coordinated with groups 4 and 6

f)       Confirm speaker attendance and get AV needs (and late program data)

à        Attendance information goes to Group 5.

à        AV needs go to Groups 1 and 7.

à        Confirm permission to Tape, if we do not have it.

g)      Somebody should be in regular communication with the Keynote(s)

à        Check on travel arrangements, food needs, any special hotel room needs, plus the usual speaker questions.

3)      Group 3 – Talks to External Folks

a)      Non-meeting time functions (banquet, social tours, etc.)

à        While the Ice Cream Social could fit into this, generally it does not have a separate admission and takes place on site. If the conference is at a school, then the Ice Cream Social might be at the core hotel, though it was not, the last time.

à        This is an under-utilized function.

b)      Exhibitor/Vendor letters go out

à        These need to include price per table and maximum tables.

à        Also included will be how it fits with memberships.

à        Reluctantly, does it need a refund policy, too?

à        A price for companies to just send catalogs seems called for, too.

c)      Schedule Audio/Video taping

à        There are vendors with these skills and members of our community with these skills. It is not enough to have the recording done – we need to have the recordings either duplicated or turned over to us in a way that permits duplicating.

à        Permission of speakers is also included. That should be a part of either Speaker proposals (2A) or Speaker Confirmation (2F).

d)     External food arrangements made

à        This is a little-needed function if we deal with hotels. If we are in a school facility, it comes into play.

e)      Arrange PDP/Education/Certificate status

à        This needs to be done through the host state. In many cases, it should be done with adjoining states, as well. In Massachusetts, it is a lengthy process and it might be easier done with a collaborating group.

f)       Block other hotel rooms, if needed

à         If this unlikely event occurs, proximity to the conference and price are the top two considerations, with type of hotel being next.

4)      Group 4: Registration

a)      Create confirmation package for registrants

b)      Send packets as appropriate

à        Emails, with requests that they got them, seem fine for those who sign up on line. For those that send them in via snail mail, send packets the same way.

à        What goes in these? Directions to the hotel, certainly. Anything else?

c)      Set up on-line registration process

à        We have tried Paypal and Acteva. I think Paypal works better for a single conference and it’s cheaper. Acteva works better for a series of conferences because of the ease of replicating data. It also gathers more and better data. Acteva does not require much skill to use, while Paypal forms seem to. Other recommendations?

à        Currently, it is not easy to use it to register Speakers.

d)     Send registration forms to presenters (food choice, etc.)

à        And make sure you get them back!

e)      Stuff packets

à        What should go in Registration packets?

f)       Print walk-in registration forms

g)      Purchase perishable supplies needed (if any)

h)      Purchase packet supplies

5)      Group 5: Press and Publications - Update this section for the Facebook/Twitter age

a)      Update other groups’ Conference Calendars

à        A list of whose these are or should be should go here

¨      Hoagies Gifted

¨      Education Week/Teacher Magazine

¨      Others?

b)      Announce Conf. On Website and e-mail lists

à        A list of e-mail lists and who can post there would be good. Each state will have its own, in addition to the national lists.

¨      TagMAX, TagFAM, TagADMIN, TagPDQ, TagPROF

¨      GT-World and its lists

¨      Others?

c)      School Announcements for Professional Day

à        Get a reliable school list for the areas being served.

d)     Send first wave of PSA’s

à        This needs to be localized for each region with a master list of destinations.

e)      Set up on-line registration process

à        See 4C

f)       Advance brochure/pamphlet designed & sent out

g)      All last minute printed program info due

h)      2nd wave of PSA’s go out

i)        Lay out and review final program

à        Optimally, more than one set of eyes sees this before it goes to the printer. Printers these days will take electronic copy emailed to them, though I prefer to see it get printed to verify that all the pages are right.

j)        Start printing program, eval form, Exhibitor list, other packet materials

k)      Print name tags and Room Schedules

6)      Group 6: Ideas

a)      Determine Keynote hopefuls, offers/invitations go out

à        Keynotes influence the theme and makeup of the conference. Pricing has been $500 or $1000 honorarium plus transportation, room, and board. More than that would probably blow the budget. Ask for whom you want, though – they can always say no, but they might say yes.

à        We have tended to get one well known person and one less well known person, offering either a different perspective on the field or a first keynote spot to an up and coming professional in the field.

à        Confirm Keynote(s) – follow-through in this is important.

b)      Determine Theme

à        This is less than essential, but it can sometimes tie a program together.

c)      Plan Friday – Professional Day

à        These have tended to be sparsely attended primarily because they have been inadequately promoted, I think. They can and should utilize the Keynotes (or at least one of them) when possible.

à        Usually, we have kept the day a little flexible for when a school group is coming (at least 5 from one school) and has something in particular they wish to discuss. When we don’t, it can and should become a chance for weekend speakers to explore their own stuff with each other more deeply.

d)     Finalize Professional Day program

e)      Awards?

à        We have never given any. Hollingworth did, but it was not particularly known beyond the group of us. Is there a purpose if there is neither notoriety nor money?

7)      Group 7: Pre-Site management

a)      Organize on-site volunteers

à        Set-up, Registration, AV distribution and care, Games Room, what else?

b)      Purchase packet, room, and speaker supplies

à        Pens usually are supplied by the hotel, but if we are not in one, then we will need them. We will need tape, post-its, poster paper, permanent and overhead markers, transparencies,

à        What, if any, additional games are needed? What are the vendors (if any) willing to let us use?

c)      Purchase non-perishables for Green Room (if any)

d)     Set volunteer schedules

e)      Stuff packets

f)       Print name tags and Room Schedules

à        Alternatively, people have made their own name tags from sticky badges. This is not bad. Room Schedules often can be done by the Hotel, but they also often mess them up – and we do tend to change our schedule at the last minute (or after it).

g)      Print walk-in registration forms

à        What info needs to go on these that is not on the on-line version?

h)      Purchase perishable supplies needed (if any)

8)      Group 8: On-Site

a)      Keynote Retrieval

à        Somebody needs to pick up the Keynote(s) from the airport and bring her/him to the hotel and make sure s/he gets checked in.

b)      Registration Desk

à        These folks need (or this person needs) to handle forms and to make sure they get complete information, especially from those paying at the door. They are not there to handle conflicts – for that, they will get Josh or another appropriate person. They are also not making decisions about who gets financial aid or fulfilling “but I was told…” demands.

c)      Games Room

à        An adult or responsible teen must be in this room at all times that there are kids there. Having folks who are willing to play games is far preferable to having folks merely watching. For many conferences, Mark Kottmeyer has filled that role.

à        The room needs to have a wide assortment of games and activities. Paper and markers are often there, sometimes clay of one sort or another. Chess and checkers, Fluxx, Chrononauts, Apples to Apples, Quiddler, Set, decks of regular cards, puzzles – both jig saw and brain teasers, and other games and activities.

d)     Audio-Visual Coordination

à        While we try to have enough equipment on hand to meet all needs, which room gets what when is not always easy. Groups 2 and 7, with either 1 or 5, depending on the piece of equipment, will have prepared a list of what is needed for whom, when. We will also have overhead markers and transparencies.

à        Knowing how to operate the equipment is also nice. Perhaps training of the AV people, if they need it, would be a good idea.

à        We are not officially keeping a laptop available for speakers unless we agree to it in advance, but we should be prepared, anyway.

e)      Printing

à        Inevitably, a speaker (often me) will not have stuff done or not enough of it. Somebody will need to make sure we can get it and get it fast. Often, the hotel charges more than one wishes to pay for printing. This may be a printer person, it may be the speaker, it may be a random parent, or it may be a gopher.

à        Sometimes we will have to just say no.

f)       Gophering

à        Making schedule changes appear on walls and doors, tracking down parents for miserable children, assisting speakers with logistics or printing or hand-out distribution or water is their lot.

g)      Keynote returning

à        They have to go back to the airport, usually.

h)      Clean up

à        This should be determined before the conference starts. Too often, the conference organizer is left to pick up pieces after everybody else has gone.

à        Lost and found procedures should be established.


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