DEFINING THE CON

I will define ideas here that I have in my toolbox, or historical concepts, or whatever I reference in a blog but doesn’t really fit.  This will probably change through time (for instance, I may make the Post-Mortem section a better procedure rather than the abstract concept it is right now) so check back!  Also, please contact me directly if you have anything you’d like to be discussed!

POST-MORTEM: The con is done, it’s dead, just leave it.  OR DON’T!  There is no better way to plan for next year than by looking back at the last one and, within a week of the con finishing, bringing in all staff to talk about what worked, what didn’t, what ideas came to mind while on site, and what to focus on for next year.  There is a science to the post-mortem.  And I’m going lay it out here!

  1. BEFORE the event make sure all your staff are reminded to make notes of important things – good, bad, ugly – to discuss later.  By this I mean bring it up at the second last meeting, last meeting, the first meeting on site, and perhaps the last meeting before leaving site.  Have a Post-Mortem date already scheduled as ‘part of con planning’ because it is.
  2. After the con, the organizer and staff should have time to decompress, during which time any and all thoughts that come to mind about the event should be jotted down.  If details come they come, if it’s just a single word that’s OK too.
  3. No more than a week afterwards get together, assume the meeting will be long…drink if you want to.  It’s serious but it’s also about getting the tongues loose and the ideas flying.  Have a secretary, a big pad on the desk or a wall, something on which to write down everything that is brought up.
  4. Talk freely!  There should be a leader, like with all meetings, but if a tangent starts let it go.
  5. Write down TWO lists (this is my big suggestion)…obviously the list relating to all the things you do year after year and how they failed/worked this year…the second list should be titled NEW IDEAS or CHANGES.  Specifically…if  new idea comes up that everyone is passionate about, put it down there.  More often than not I find that the new, cool, unique ideas that could be fleshed out through the year and make the event something special get lost in the annual routine.  There tends to be a focus on ‘getting done what needs to get done’ and ‘trying something new’ isn’t a priority.  Make it a priority with this list.

By the end of a post mortem you should have a good idea of how the convention went, what to change next year and what to keep the same, and hopefully some new ideas too!

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