How to Host a Conference For Professional Development

Are you thinking of hosting a new professional development conference? This is the kind of event that requires a great deal of preparation. Each and every element of your presentation needs to be top of the class. You don’t need to sell yourself as a pro but you will need to keep the interest of your public.

Your Conference Doesn’t Always Have to Be Live

One thing that the events of the recent global pandemic have taught educators is not every conference can, or should be, live. This has opened up the door for a new series of remote and audio conferencing experiences. While still a bit out of the ordinary, these types of conferences are becoming more common for reasons of safety and convenience.

The main reason for the appeal of remote sessions is safety. A person who attends your session in the virtual sphere doesn’t need to risk their health. They won’t have to leave the comfort of their own living room. However, they are still devoting their attention to your class so be sure to take it seriously.

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Make Sure You Begin and End on Time

One of the most important courtesy protocols that you will need to observe for a PD session is to start it and end it on time. Remember that people are going out of their way to come to your class. Even if they are attending via a remote web conference, they have still given up part of their day to come to your session.

For this reason, it behooves you to begin and end exactly as advertised. Doing so will reinforce your status as a credible and reliable PD host. It will show your students that you value their time and are prepared to honor their needs. This is a great way to build and maintain the trust that you capitalize on later.

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Have Your Class Structure Plotted in Advance

Before you can host a successful PD conference, you need to make sure that every detail is planned out well in advance. It may typically take a ratio of two hours of prep for every hour of presentation. As a result, a class of this type is much less spontaneous than you may first think.

This doesn’t mean that every PD session is doomed to be monotonous and boring. On the contrary, you can liven up your session with plenty of witty remarks and apropos humor as the situation demands. But it does mean that the meat of your presentation has been ground up, marinated, and carefully stored for the unveiling.

Don’t Give Too Much Info in One Sitting

One thing that you will definitely want to avoid is pouring out too much info in a single session. There is a limit to how much info the mind can easily absorb in one time and place. It’s a very good idea to break the info up into a few parts delivered over several sessions and include generous breaks in between.

Vary Your Speaking Style to Captivate Attention

When it comes to speaking before a group of people, you’ve got to be savvy. It’s always a good idea to vary not only the way you speak but also the way that you organize the info you are giving out. This is not a one size fits all kind of situation. Your presentation needs to be tailored to the demands of your class.

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Never treat your audience like children. These are adults who are here to learn something very specific from you. This is info that they will go on to make use of in the course of their day-to-day employment.

Treat them with the proper level of respect. Always remember that you are giving them data they very likely already have the career experience to build on.

It’s Time to Plan the Perfect Session

With a bit of thought and foresight, you can host the perfect PD session. It will be up to you as a host to do all in your power to keep your listeners engaged and entertained. You will also be responsible for their personal comfort and safety. Finally, you will need to ensure they enjoy themselves while learning.

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