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What if the Conference Runs Over the Predicted Time?

By: Anthony Stringer BA (hons) - Updated: 14 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
What If The Conference Runs Over The Predicted Time?

Although most conferences have a session moderator who introduces and makes speakers aware of the time, some conferences do run over and this can cause a number of problems that can spoil the whole event.

Disregarding Time Frames

A number of problems can arise when speakers or more importantly the organisers don’t stick to specified time frames. If a speaker is late that consequently will lead into a later time than stated. The speaker may be running over the predicted time, which may anger and cause problems for the conference delegates. Ensuring the conference runs to the time stated is a vital aspect in holding a successful conference. However, problems do arise and when the conference is met with delays or runs over you must act quickly to avoid disaster and complaint from the conference attendees.

The Conference Attendees

When organising the conference the time that has been arranged must be clearly stated to all attendees. The attendees of the conference will expect the conference to start as explained and finish promptly at the mentioned time. If the conference runs over or starts late the attendees will become restless and the conference will be met with bad reviews and negative feedback. The attendees will have other obligations and responsibilities and they will work their routine around the conference. The reputation of the conference organisers could be tarnished if the conference runs over or has a late start and the attendees may avoid future conferences.

How to Avoid Conference Time Problems

Good Planning – If you organise and plan your conference correctly time problems should be avoided. Make sure you have researched every time slot and made sure you are aware of everything that is included e.g.. Tea breaks, ample question time etc.

Talk to speakers – Explain to your speakers that they have a specific amount of time to present their speech and politely clarify the length of their speech. This will encourage them to start and finish at the correct times.

Give the conference flexibility – this means when organising and explaining conference times to conference attendees allow extra time to the conference in case a problem occurs. For instance, if a speaker is ten minutes late adding an extra five minutes either side of the speaker’s presentation prior to the event has just saved you from a problem. Add time to the conference – a conference finishing a little early is better than finishing a little late.

Running Over – If a speaker is running over the stated time but is in the middle of an important part of the speech politely interrupt the speaker and explain to the attendees that the conference finishing time has arrived and if anyone has any important obligations please feel free to leave. The attendees may feel duped that they are missing an important part of the conference, so to avoid this explain that the rest of the conference has been recorded and will be sent to them appropriately. This will ensure everyone has received the conference and may avoid any aggravated attendees.

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