Thursday, December 29, 2016

8 Great Items to Have on Your Peer Review Checklist

Many times even planners have very short notice to plan a peer review. This is where a lot of details can be lost and budgets can experience cost overruns.

In order to avoid this problem, I have put together a peer review checklist to ensure your event goes off without a hitch while keeping your costs in check.

Peer Review Checklist

How many panelists are there and how much space does each person need?

Is the reviewer going to take all their notes from the computer rental? Do they need space for a notebook or paper? Will they have other devices on the table?

Knowing the total number of people and individual space requirements will help you move to the next step.

Where will the peer review be held?

Due to the nature of subject matter being reviewed, it often times make sense to hold the review at a neutral, low key setting such as a hotel or conference center.

Have you scheduled site visits and invited your key suppliers?

Once you have 2-3 locations selected, schedule a site visit and meet with the general manager, sales associate and banquet captain. Go over the logistics of the day and the room setup.  Invite your technology provider and any other suppliers that make sense to come along. They can ask questions you may not have thought of to pursue with your vendor contacts.

Are you going to be connected to remote reviewers?

Often the peer view discussion is not held just with the individuals around the table; it may involve individuals from other time zones and countries. If you will have remote attendees, you will need to discuss whether they will participate via teleconference or video conferencing. If it is the latter, you will need to work with the venue and IT supplier staff to ensure you have enough bandwidth.

Do you need a dedicated WiFi network or is the venue’s WiFi good enough?

Sometimes, due to the sensitivity of the subject matter being reviewed or the need for dedicated, high speed WiFi, a WiFi hotspot rental makes perfect sense. Know the needs of your attendees and if in doubt, go for the dedicated service.

Do your reviewers have a lot of data to review?

If this is the case, you can load most of the data on a server rental which allows for high speed data access and has built-in redundancies to ensure the data is always available.

What computer equipment and audio visual rentals do you need?

As you look to set up your review, you will need to do an equipment assessment. Will reviewers be bringing their own devices? Do you wish to standardize on
computer rentals? The latter makes the most sense from a simplicity and duplicity standpoint. You won’t have to worry about equipment being incompatible or possibly breaking down.

Have you budgeted for onsite technical support?

Having onsite assistance at your meeting can be critical to its success. Whether it is swapping out a computer rental or troubleshooting device problems, having someone in the room or just a few feet away is added insurance everything will go according to plan.

How Hartford Technology Rental Can Help

If you are planning a peer review and need help determining the best technology rentals, we can help! We have 10+ years’ experience planning and executing peer reviews for organizations including the National Science Foundation, US Department of Education and the US Army.  Give Hartford Technology Rental a call today! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

10 Terrific Tips to Plan Better Association Meetings

Unlike corporations where meeting attendance is mandatory, association planners need to entice and pull attendees into their conference. Due to regional limitations, budget constraints and members trying to deal with more work in less time, selling your conference may not be a walk in the park.

In fact, research says, on average, only 33% of members attend their association’s convention or conference.

The good news: Association members want to learn something new and network more with their peers. The challenging news: The conference needs to be great in order to justify their time away from the office.

10 Tips to a Terrific Event

1.      Start with Your Event Goals.

What are you trying to accomplish? How will you measure success? It is best to get your attendees, exhibitors and sponsors involved in this process by making their goals, your goals. Poll them often.

2.      Crowdsource Content.

Find out what your attendees want to learn about and who they want to hear from. Once you have the content framed, ask association members to vote on it.

3.      Leave Open Time.

According to
MPI, association meeting goers want unstructured time at their conferences for two reasons: 1) They want to network more and desire small meeting areas throughout the convention center or hotel to talk and 2) They need a few hours every day to manage the work back at the home office.

4.      Let Them Outside.

The Boston Convention Center is onto something; they are creating large outdoor meeting spaces to conduct learning. I see this as a trend in the industry throughout the next few years. Along this line, give attendees boxed lunches or use food trucks and let them go catch some rays and enjoy the fresh air during the lunch period.

5.      Add an Element of Surprise.

Yes, it is important cover all the content in the agenda guidelines, but add mystery to your event as well. Have a small gift basket placed in attendees’ room upon arrival. Schedule a celebrity at the closing dinner. Take them behind the scenes to a local attraction.
Rent iPads instead of having them carry bulky conference binders.

6.      Mix Up Presentation Styles and Times.

Have panel, lecture, facilitation and audience-run sessions. Mix up the time slots – make presentations 18-minutes (TED), 6 minutes and 20 seconds (Pecha Kucha) or 5 minutes (Ignite). Keep your attendees guessing until they are in the meeting room.

7.      Implement Gamification.

Attendees love to learn through games, and this is one way to cleverly weave your association and sponsor messages into the content. Segmenting teams and creating a fun, competitive environment is the way to create buzz and fun at your event.

8.      Move through Mobile.

Whether you rent iPads,
rent tablets or have attendees use BYODs, communicate with them through social channels, texting and email. Real-time options lead to real-time fixes from “the room being too cold” to “I can’t hear the speaker”.

In addition, if your association meeting is very large, mobile devices act as second screens allowing attendees to see and hear the speaker even if they are located at the furthest point in the room.

9.      Remember the Family.

Many association members could be sold on a conference if they can bring their family with them. Activities can be planned while the attendee is in the conference or the family can join them before or after your event.

10.  Have Fun!

Even though your association may have serious issues and challenges to solve, make it a point to implement laughter into your conference every day through entertaining speakers, impromptu activities and icebreakers.

About Hartford Technology Rental

Not sure what audio visual and computer equipment is right for your next association meeting?  Give Hartford Technology Rental a call at 888-520-5667 to have a conversation with one of our experienced Account Executives.