Program Management Blog

June 19, 2009

Feedback to Conference Sponsors

Filed under: Uncategorized — Milt @ 2:33 PM

I find a lot of satisfaction from presenting at professional seminars and conferences. I find it very useful to put my lessons learned and thoughts into presentations and share my knowledge. I really find it beneficial to share with other practitioners as they bring experience and insight to the topic that both helps me learn more and also improves my presentations. I have had many very successful presentations with extremely positive feedback and have been invited back on most of my endeavors.

However, I do have a nit to pick. For those organizations that are seeking submissions for presentations online and require a form to be populated and submitted. Please respond to the submitter if their presentation has been accepted or rejected. If a person takes the time to fill out the form (and I believe it takes a minimum of 1 hour) the least you can do is let them know if their submission was not accepted. I can often be heard saying: “I can accept ‘Yes’, I can accept ‘No’, it’s no response that gives me trouble.

Since every form I have seen either requires me to enter my email, or email the form to a common email address, the sponsoring organization should have a means of contacting me. Personally I prefer the email to anything via paper mail. But even if it is a standard “thanks but we had so many submissions ….” Email, it’s still acknowledgement. As submitters, we understand that there are many to choose from and there is a lot of criteria in selection. But as a professional courtesy, send a note. I understand you may not want the agony of a follow-up question regarding “Why wasn’t I selected?”, but that is a small price to pay for a professional communication; the people seeking such feedback are trying to improve the crispness of their message. No feedback will result in negative feedback for your organization. I propose using the following criteria when gathering and responding to submissions.

  1. It never hurts to provide a sample of what is expected. When I see provide a summary in 75 words or less, let me know if this will show up in the brochure or if you are looking for what the attendee will learn.
  2. Require an email address from the submitter.
  3. Acknowledge submission receipt with a contact email and include “a decision will be made by” date.
  4. If dates are delayed, blast a standard email to all submitters informing them of the delay.
  5. When you have finished selecting the presenters, send a status to everyone who sent in a submission.
  6. If you have feedback to provide, provide honest feedback. If the summary was confusing, say so. Don’t patronize the submitter. The fact that there were 100 submissions and only 10 were chosen is good feedback. We understand !!!
  7. If you want me to provide references, let me know if would be contacting them via email or phone so I can provide a ‘heads up’ to them.

Dave Davis


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