Diary of a Conference Coordinator: Part Two

Friday was a bit less stressful than Thursday. I awoke to a couple of new registrations in my inbox, which I quickly recorded and added to the tally. Since this was errand day, I had to make sure I had everything I needed before I left the house: paperwork to pick up the digital recorders, a disc containing the file for our conference program, and a shopping list of everything else I needed to buy for the conference and for Mother Hubbard’s cupboard.

My cell phone rang less than three miles from home. I don’t drive and talk on the phone, so I pulled over to take the call. I think the guy had me on speaker phone because I could hear my words echoing back in my ears. Very distracting. I don’t think I made him happy either. He wanted to know how to talk to the agents while they were in town without him paying to come to the conference. Sorry, guy. I’m not giving away our bread and butter.

First stop: Staples. I had to feign a coughing fit to get the salesperson’s attention, but he proceeded to take my order for the programs with calm efficiency. The draft he printed out matched the draft I’d made at home, so all looks good. I’ll pick them up Wednesday. Nothing like cutting it close.

While I was there, I merrily picked up supplies for the Thursday Intensive (notebooks, nametags) and for the Area 3 gift basket (wait until you see it, folks. It’ll knock your socks off!)

Next stop: Wal-Mart. I picked up our four new digital recorders, which hopefully won’t sprout legs and run off like the old ones did. Our hardworking moderator coordinator has also been given the title Recorder Wrangler to keep the little buggers corralled.

Saturday night at the conference, we’re having a “Beach Party.” No sand. No Speedos (I hope, PLEASE, no Speedos!), just casual attire, flip-flops, and music by the Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffet. To add to the ambiance, I purchased some colorful plastic buckets and shovels and several inflatable beach balls and floaty things. I hope someone at the conference has enough hot air to blow the them up.

My cell phone rang again in the store. This call was a bit more productive. I had to give directions on how to make the website cooperate. And when I returned home, that person’s registration was in my inbox. Sweet.

There were several other emails as well that required responses. We’re trying to make sure everyone is signed up for the events and meals they want. For the record, if I email you about this and you choose not to reply, you will eat what we put in front of you.

Ack. I sound like my mother.

At 5:00, my Internet went out. Again. Cloudy skies plus satellite Internet equals scattered outages. Either that or some higher power was telling me to knock off for supper…something I forgot to do on Thursday!

And at 6:00, it came back. My Internet gremlins must be concerned that I keep up my strength. The only message that had arrived during my dinner break came from Michelle at the hotel, also known as the solver-of-all-problems. She expanded our block of rooms for Friday night. I love saving people money.

To be continued…


Anonymous said…
"Ack. I sound like my mother."

And probably every other conference coordinator!

I'm loving this progress report. It's letting people know what it's like to organize such a huge event.

Just remember: You can't please everyone. Don't even try. I've got a hunch you alreay know that, so that's a million points for you!

Paula Matter
Sara said…
Hey, can I come to the conference for free?

heehee. I had to do it. I thought maybe you hadn't had a stupid & thoroughly unreasonable question in a while.
Annette said…
Gee, thanks, Sara. It's been a whole 12 hours since my last stupid question. I was going into withdrawal.

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