You’ve been planning for so long, and now it’s finally here! Here are some tips for staying organized and helping things run smoothly.
Set up a “Mission Control” at the venue where the organizers will be. Let your volunteers and speakers know where it is so they can find you if they need something. Someone here should have a laptop with access to all the event registration information in case there are any problems, and someone should be prepared with cash or a credit card if any last-minute expenses crop up. You don’t want your entire organizing team to miss out on all the fun, so make a schedule for who will be sitting at Mission Control to make sure the day is covered.
At the registration table you have two options:
- Print out the list of attendees and have it at the registration table. For very big events, split it up into sections by the first letter of the last name. Don’t try to be cool and do first name. The minute someone realizes they are in the wrong line because they signed up as Liz instead of Elizabeth and they have to get in another line to get their badge, you’ll see why. 🙂
- To save paper (and be more futuristic) use the Attendance UI that is a part of your WordCamp website. You’ll find more info about that under the Tracking Attendance heading on the CampTix page.
If you have more than 200 attendees, it is a good idea to have a separate sign-in area for speakers, sponsors, and volunteers.
Make sure people can find you. Printing out basic signs from your home computer printer that say “WordCamp this way →”or something like that and taping them up around your venue, on the light poles in front of the venue, in the parking lot, and anywhere people might be coming from will help more than you can guess. Depending on the layout of your venue, it might also help to have signage indicating where your attendees can park.
Have someone act as an emcee for each room. They should introduce each speaker briefly, and make any announcements as needed. Changing a session? Lunch is arriving late? Have the emcees announce it. Try to pick people who are funny and nice for this role. If your emcee doesn’t know enough about the speakers to really introduce them, speakers can also introduce themselves.
Either your emcees or volunteers assigned to each room should keep an eye on the clock and give speakers a 10-minute, 5-minute, and 2-minute warning toward the end of their talks. They should tell the speakers they will do this before the speakers go on, and demonstrate the hand signal they will use. Another option is to print out numbers indicating how many minutes are left that you simply hold up for the speakers to see. It’s important to keep things running on time, especially if you have a venue that wants you out by a specific time (or you may be charged overage fees that are expensive).
Make sure someone is recording every session. After the event, you’ll get login information from WordCamp Central for WordPress.tv so you can upload your videos. To get the best sound, it is generally better to have the video people right up front. Check out the submission guidelines at WordPress.tv before you start post-production.
WordCamp Central has great custom WordPress.org lanyards that we’ll ship to you for your event. No need to collect them after; they’re yours to treasure!
Be sure to ask everyone to help clean up at the end. Some organizing teams schedule volunteers for a clean-up shift! Leaving a clean space behind will keep your relationship with the venue on good terms. If you leave a big mess, they may not be interested in having you back next year if you would like to have WordCamp there again.
Tip: Here is a quiz on this article. Read quizzes page if you have any questions about quizzes and how to navigate them.