Effective event session tracking and session management is critical to the success of any event. From managing sessions and speakers to utilizing tools and technologies, there are many key aspects to consider when planning and executing an event. This article covers best practices and tools for event session tracking and management, with a focus on speaker and session management, session management software, and tips to follow before, during, and after the event.
Before we delve too deeply into the details, it’s important to start with the basics by explaining event session tracking and session management in order to really recognize their value.
Understanding event session tracking and session management
Event session tracking is honestly just about as simple as it sounds. When we talk about event session tracking, the focus is on identifying and analyzing how event stakeholders — from attendees to sponsors — experience and interact with an event. For instance, with the right session management technology, your team can review the number of attendees who check in to a specific event session and even track how long they stay in that session.
Is it for the duration? Maybe that’s a sign of a worthwhile session and proof of content that should be replicated in future events. On the other hand, did they bounce out at the 15-minute mark? If so, perhaps a careful review of the session offering (or speaker) is in order.
Session management is similarly empowering, especially when it comes to flexibility and adaptability. Today’s event management software allows you to make real time updates to your event sessions, whether that means changing room assignments, announcing a new speaker when the original calls out sick, or simply alerting attendees that there will be a slight delay in start time due to inclement weather and a speaker stuck in traffic.
Ultimately, event session tracking and session management give you greater control than has ever been possible, no matter what stage of your event — before, during or after.
Sure, it all sounds great, but how does it really matter to your event and why?
We’re glad you asked.
Appreciating the importance of event session tracking and session management
When you truly want to manage the details of your event for maximum success, event session tracking and session management prove invaluable.
Session tracking provides you with the ability to monitor sessions in real time, including room conflict notifications and alerts, while session management affords all sorts of benefits, thanks to innovative tools that make it possible to:
- CREATE and COLLECT unique session specific forms
- EMPOWER users to create and manage sessions
- BUILD actionable reports
- MANAGE presentations, handouts, attachments, and more
With the proliferation of technology in nearly all aspects of our personal and professional lives, the above-listed capabilities align with what your attendees and users have come to expect of their event experience.
That’s why poor event session tracking and lackluster management or just the inability to do either cannot only challenge, but compromise or downright undermine your every effort.
Tools and Technologies for Event Session Tracking & Session Management
It’s one thing to expound on how event session tracking and session management are total game changers but it’s another entirely to show you the tools that make the magic happen.
Let’s start with one that is mutually beneficial to you and your speakers, the aptly named speaker management software. Not only does speaker management software make your life easier, it also strengthens your speakers’ capabilities and control over their own content.
The benefits of using speaker management software, in addition to happier and empowered speakers, include the ability to assign speakers to specific sessions based on their availability. Once assigned you can then give them access to manage their own content via a dedicated speaker dashboard.
By using this dashboard, you can request specific data from speakers, including basic speaker assets like contact information, bios, headshots, and any other relevant documents. In fact, your speakers can actively participate in the collection and management of content by accessing the dedicated speaker center via their own secure login and then uploading their own content, including documents and files relevant to the event.
While speaker management software certainly saves you some time and effort, it also makes scheduling and organizing sessions easier for your speakers as well. As a shared tool, it truly does benefit both parties and is integral to successful session management.
We’ve introduced a few of the benefits of session management software, including scheduling and tracking; however, one of the biggest values event managers realize from cutting-edge session management software concerns analytics and reporting.
The ability to review real numbers during and after your event provides you with actionable insights that will prove invaluable to your future event planning efforts. When used correctly, session management software is the tool that future you will thank you for using.
This begs the question, how is session management software used correctly? After all, the most innovative tool is quickly rendered useless in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what to do with it. So, how can you be strategic when it comes to event session tracking and session management?
We’ve got a few tried and true tips to help you approach each step of your event with a more expert eye…
Best Practices for Event Session Tracking & Session Management
As an event planner you know that each phase of your event carries equal weight for different reasons. The pre-event phase is your chance to get things right, at least on paper. The on-the-ground event phase offers you the opportunity to prove how flexible and adaptable you are, that you’ve even got a back up to plan B, all mapped out and ready to implement if necessary.
After the event, you can strengthen the ties and connections made during the event with compelling content, including surveys and pointed requests for feedback — the responses to which will help you drive better events on your next go round.
Let’s explore each step by introducing key tasks worth checking off your list, each of which can be expedited and made easier with the right session management solution.
Before the Event
For the strongest start to your event, you need to focus on planning the sessions and the speakers featured at each one. Stated on its own, this sounds like a daunting task; however you can tackle this task by carving it up into smaller tasks.
Planning event sessions and speakers
By setting clear objectives and goals, you position your event for success right out of the gate. Despite the fact that you need to determine specific session and speaker details, start by focusing on the big picture.
Ask yourself the following:
- Why would an attendee register for this event? What are their expectations for registering?
- On the flip side, what should that attendee expect to take away from their experience?
This should help you establish a theme and format for your event, along with identifying the best possible potential speakers and session topics to support your intended messaging and overall purpose.
Spoiler alert: Your speakers are only as good as the lines of communication you establish with and for them, which brings us to our (your) next responsibility…
Establishing clear communication with speakers
It’s important to define your event expectations and guidelines straightaway for your speakers. You can quickly check this box by implementing the right speaker management software that ensures everyone is on the same page, thanks to a dedicated speaker web portal, which speakers can easily personalize.
We recommend establishing this connection as soon as a speaker contractually binds to your event. That way, they will have ample time to get comfortable using the tool and submitting all relevant content to you in advance of the event.
In the day or two leading up to the event, we suggest scheduling speaker rehearsals and taking the time to test all AV equipment and technology.
A vital part of this preparation should include soliciting feedback from your speakers and making any necessary adjustments before show time.
During the Event
Once underway, you want access to event management solutions that are responsive and able to make an impact in real time.
Tracking sessions and speaker timings
You can manage this impact by leveraging session management software to track sessions, monitor progress, and keep your finger on the pulse of speaker timings.
By monitoring time and accommodating last minute changes, you seamlessly elevate your attendees’ experience and also ensure that your speakers stay on topic and wrap up their sessions within the allotted time — a perk your attendees would also thank you for.
Managing unexpected issues
Session management software really shines during your event by allowing you to identify potential risks and contingencies and respond to technical or logistical challenges quickly and effectively.
Both you and all of your event stakeholders will benefit from an increased sense of security and comfort knowing that communication is clear, easy, consistent, and immediate, especially in the event of an emergency.
This connection is not only invaluable in the event of a crisis, it also can also engender increased audience engagement.
Maintaining audience engagement
Session management is successful when it encourages interaction and participation among and between event stakeholders. The right software gives you greater control over the event schedule, making it easy to provide timely breaks and thoughtful opportunities for networking.
Additionally, you can use surveys and polls to gather honest, specific feedback which can translate as invaluable insights for upcoming events.
After the Event
Although it’s easy to think that event management software is most impactful or useful in the planning and execution of any event, the fact is, these tools are equally valuable post-event for three key reasons.
Analyzing event session metrics
Ideally, your session management solution will allow you to review attendee and speaker feedback, analyze session attendance, and evaluate engagement data.
Ultimately, this makes a huge impact on your ability to measure ROI and truly determine whether your event proved successful.
Gathering feedback from speakers
Session management software makes it easier than ever to gather invaluable feedback from speakers by offering you the ability to easily:
- CONDUCT post-event surveys or interviews
- SOLICIT speaker opinions and insights
- COLLECT testimonials or case studies
Making improvements for future events
With all this information at your fingertips, you should feel confident in making improvements for future events, including:
- IDENTIFYING areas for improvement and innovation
- INCORPORATING feedback into future event planning
- ESTABLISHING goals and objectives for future events
Final Thoughts and Next Steps
With any luck, this article has clearly illustrated the importance of effective event session tracking and management.
Given the chance to extend your event management efforts with a proven solution and without straining or needing additional resources, wouldn’t you take it? Especially if that same solution also enhances the experience of your attendees and speakers?
Making an investment in a new technology can be overwhelming and is often outweighed or stalled by uncertainty.
In this case, the benefits of investing in the right session management solution far exceed the risks. When you consider all who stand to benefit from its implementation, the question really becomes can you afford to avoid the investment?
We recognize that you likely have specific questions and suggestions you’re eager to address. That’s why we invite you to contact our team to learn more about how Attendee Interactive’s session management software is the solution you never knew you were looking for.