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© 2012 MacTech Magazine.
First, thank you for being a sessions chair for MacTech events. This FAQ focuses on the questions you may have related to any of MacTech’s one day seminars including MacTech Boot Camp and MacTech InDepth series. It does not necessarily apply to MacTech Conference.
The following is going to walk you through most, if not all, that you need to know as a MacTech Sessions Chair. If you have any questions, please call or send an email to us so that we can answer not only you, but let the rest of the chairs know.
Each sessions chair for each event has just a few primary “duties.”
• find speakers for the event
• be a cheerleader or champion for the event
• be a backup speaker if a speaker doesn’t show
What drives success in these events.
Each event has several moving parts, all of which are integral to the overall success of the event. MacTech handles the curriculum, logistics, and the venue. The session chairs can help most on selecting great speakers, and helping to drive excitement in the local area.
Every session chair and speaker will register for the event, but the registration fee is waived. This is a full event badge which includes all the meals, breaks, goodie bags, etc… The same goes for the speakers.
While the onsite registration price is $499, most attendees will pay $299 (early bird) or $399 (pre-registration) for the event.
If you have not yet registered, please do so for the event you are a part of. For the payment section, just indicate in the notes that you are a speaker and put n/a for the payment info.
Special deal for those you know.
Since part of your role is to help promote the event in the area, we want to make it easier on you with a special way to register that will give your network a better deal than is on the general web site.
This is good both from you getting broader credit for being a session chair or speaking, and for the event as well. It also helps build excitement.
In the past, this meant early bird pricing, even as the early bird pricing expired. But that didn’t make it special during the time that the early bird was avaialble. So, now, it’s the early bird pricing plus we’re bundling a MacTech subscription (this would cost people $50+ on the newsstand).
We’ll be sending you in an email your special URL. We encourage you to post it, link it, tweet it, and get it out in any way possible – including the most public of methods.
SEO for you.
One of the things that we want to make sure that we’re doing is promoting you or your company as much as possible. With that in mind, whenever we have a page with session chairs listed, we link to your web site. Given MacTech.com’s age and size, this is great from an SEO point of view.
Similarly, if at all possible, please post a link to your site and promote yourself as “Sessions Chair of ..,” with the logo and a link to the appropriate MacTech page. This will also help you with SEO as when it’s bi-directional, it ranks higher. You can find the logos for each of the events at https://www.mactech.com/events/logos
In addition to basic contact information, we’ll be asking each speaker for a headshot, 100-word bio, social media accounts, etc.
We encourage the session chairs and speakers to do as much in social media as possible to help people know about the event. This is one of the best ways to get locals involved, and help make sure that this is a vibrant community event.
For example, we’re going to suggest that everyone do posts like:
I’m looking forward to speaking @MacTech Boot Camp.
I have a special code to save $200:
[Personal Discount URL]
on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, mailing lists, etc.
In some cases, we’ll have speakers that are interested in speaking at events that will fly in from other locations, but primarily, it’s best if we can focus on speakers from the region (e.g., drivable range).
When speakers come from outside areas, they generally will come to MacTech first (since they will often be thinking about multiple cities), and then we’ll forward them onto the appropriate event session chair.
In finding speakers, there are a few things to consider.
• Are they knowledgeable on the topic?
• Are they comfortable in front of an audience?
• Do they know how to speak/present?
There are countless people in our industry that really know their stuff, but are poor speakers. This will make them come off as someone that doesn’t know their stuff.
Getting presentation stacks in advance.
We will need a final copy of all speakers’ presentation stacks prior to the event. Preferably, this is a couple of days prior, but if necessary, the day prior is possible. Session chairs should communicate this to speakers, but MacTech staff will also be following up with speakers directly.
Attendees will have access to these after the event so it’s a good place for speakers to put links in.
The event schedule is continually evolving, but the up to date information is always available through an iCal subscription (recommended) or on our web-based calendar. Often, the schedule will even be updated during the day of the event.
See the schedules at these URLs.
Sessions Room Layout.
Each of the seminars has a similar setup as pictured here at one of the 2011 events. To one side is a riser with a podium and a table. Typically, the speaker spends most of their time speaking from the podium. Their laptop can sit either on the podium, or the table. There is no chair at the table.
In addition to a laptop that the speaker can bring, MacTech will have its presentation laptop for the introductory slides, as well as for the speaker to use if they would prefer. There’s a presentation remote on this machine.
On the table on the riser, there will be a switching device that will allow us to switch between the speaker laptop and the MacTech presentation laptop. The switching device takes a VGA connection, and we’ll have connectors on hand for just about any type of Apple laptop.
The MacTech presentation laptop will have a patch cable to take output from the sound, and this can be switched to the presenter’s laptop if they need sound for some reason (although this has not been needed to date).
In the center of the room is the large screen. This is the screen that shows what is coming off the presentation laptops. It’s in the center so that everyone can see it clearly. To the side is a smaller screen with the “logo loop” on it. It gently cycles through the logos of the event sponsors.
Depending on the room, the projectors may be either front projection, or rear projection. And, the sound system used will either be the house sound, or speakers that will be in front of the room.
The minimum microphone configuration for the room is two wireless lavalier mics, and one wireless handheld mic. Depending on the event, there may be additional ones, but this amount is sufficient.
The speakers and sponsors doing QuickTalks will use the lavalier mics. The emcee and session chairs will assist the speakers in transitioning the mic from one speaker to the next as we move from one speaker to another.
The handheld mic is used by the emcee or session chairs as needed, and is used by the audience to make sure that all questions are audible, and can be heard on the video as well. It’s important to ask the audience to use the mic (we’ll pass the handheld mic to them). If they don’t, ask the speaker to repeat the question so that everyone can hear what was asked.
Introductions and Self-Promotion.
At the event itself, it’s common for one or both of the session chairs to introduce the speakers. As overall event emcee, Neil Ticktin will introduce the session chairs, and the vendor sponsors for QuickTalks. In addition, we’ll point out the session speakers so that people can talk to them during breaks or lunch even if they’ve not yet done their session.
The introductions are a great place for MacTech to tout our session chairs – and specifically to promote what they do in the “real job.” It’s far better for us to say this about you, than for you to say it about yourself. With that in mind, we’ll be asking you what is important to you that we mention in an effort to make that happen.
Similarly, we’ll be asking the speakers the same as to what they want mentioned about them. So, whoever introduces a speaker, should look to mention these items as well. This will be part of our slide introduction notes we’ll have for each event.
With that in mind, it’s good to mention to the speakers that they should avoid “marketing” what they do as it won’t come off well. Better to show what they know, and let us do the bragging about them. ☺
MacTech will prepare the speaker introduction slides, including those that the session chairs may use to introduce a speaker.
Lunch is 75 minutes long giving everyone enough time not only to eat, but to speak to the sponsors and network with one another. The lunch room has a buffet line, round tables for people to gather and eat at, and on the perimeter of the room are the sponsor tables.
Each of the attendees is responsible for their own parking. For session chairs and speakers, if they are driving to the event, we’ll get you more information about parking options as we get closer to the event.
Keeping Track of Speakers.
Each event has a Google document that the session chairs for the events have access to. This spreadsheet should list all of the sessions, and then the session chairs should make the best match of speakers to those sessions.
While MacTech is here to help, which speakers on which sessions is probably best known by the session chairs that know the speakers and their strengths.
Once you’ve chosen a speaker, MacTech will reach out to them with specific speaker information, reminder to register, and start to gather details.
We will be shooting video of each event (primarily for archive purposes), but there’s no plans to make the video available.