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Using Slack to 10x Your Event Planning Productivity

Posted in Promotion & Planning, Word to the Wise on February 17, 2016
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So you have a conference right around the corner and a big staff to manage. Let's not sugar coat it: You have your work cut out for you. Deadlines. Budgeting. Ticket sales. There's a laundry list of items you and your staff must manage. To avoid a disaster, you need a tool that facilitates all team communication. Enter stage left: Slack.

Slack is a slick messaging app used by teams. The app became popular within tech startups who loved the ease of use and functionality. It has since expanded into other use cases, one being conference planning. Lets walk through how to use Slack for your conference.

Using Slack for Conferences

Your staff needs to be on the same page or else your conference will fall apart. Text messages and email chains are a struggle with large numbers. Good luck being productive while sifting through a never ending email thread. Phone calls work in some situations but usually waste precious planning time. Slack accomplishes what these forms of communication cannot. The app allows you to easily make channels within an organization. This enables volunteers, staff, PR, catering, or even the balloon animal team to streamline communication. No hassle, no missed messages. David Bisset details his experience using Slack to organize WordCamp Miami 2015.  When Google Docs & smoke signals ended up not working, David turned to Slack and saw awesome results. Using private channels, WordCamp created sub-channels for different subjects. Sponsorships, speakers, and volunteers all had their own channel to avoid the messiness of a single, public chat.

 

Easily communicate with your co-workers with groups or direct messaging!

Communicate with your staff in real-time using groups or direct messaging.

Right now I work with a large-scale event company that puts on a convention every year. Most of the team is based in Atlanta but me? No, I like to be a rebel and I'm in a completely different time zone. By using Slack, we stay on the same page with what we all need to be doing. Announcements and important dates never get missed. It enables me to be able to work seamlessly with a team that I am not in the same zip code with at all.  If you're next event has many working parts, Slack makes it so much easier to keep everyone on the same page.

Using Slack to Build Your Community

You need Slack to talk with your event staff and volunteers but what about your attendees? Well, that leads me into the second reason why Slack is freaking awesome for events.

The more communal you make your event, the more people want to go. It's a win/win no-brainer. You want your attendees to mingle and talk when the time for the convention comes around. Standing in tight circles with as much inter-communication as there is at a 7th grade dance won't end well. You don't want an attendee get the distinct feeling like he walked into the lunchroom on the first day of school and doesn't know where to sit. So what do you, the enterprising conference producer do?

Well, you could develop an app geared towards enabling communication between attendees before, during and after the conference... but that takes money. And time. Which is also money. So why not skip all of that and just use something that is designed for communication?

Slack is also exactly what you need for your event from an attendee standpoint. Recently, XOXO Festival in Portland utilized the new communication device, making channels for event attendees to communicate with each other prior to the convention starting. The idea was such a hit, many attendees actually began creating their own channels on their own. For many people who find the task of cold introductions daunting (and really, how many of us like those?), this was a god send. It allows attendees to begin communications and find people to meet with at the event before it even takes place.

And bonus for you, conference producer! Using Slack groups for communication means that you can extend your event beyond just the length of the conference. By having your attendees talking before and after the event, it ensures that event are on their minds that much longer. It also enhances their communication, meaning the contacts they make are better and all of that reflects better on you and your event and isn't that what we all want?

If you're looking for an easy way to communicate with staff or just trying to encourage your attendees to bond, Slack makes your event better. (Plus they have awesome emojis.)

 

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