Of course there are ways to mess things up once the conference is over. For some organizers, the conference ends after the closing speech, which is the biggest disaster one can actually make. It is one thing to follow the protocol throughout the conference, but what you need to make sure is that you still have some bullet points to check on that protocol after the conference is over. All organizers make mistakes, regardless the maturity of the conference conference they organize. Here are the top three:
1. Not asking for feedback. This is why organizers keep repeating the same mistakes all over again when organizing MUNs. They never got the chance to learn the things that didn’t work out previously. They never even asked. How are organizers measuring the success of their conferences if they haven’t previously checked the satisfaction of the attendees? There are so many channels through which you can retrieve feedback today: email, Facebook, Twitter, online feedback forms, etc. You should incorporate one, if not multiple, into your next strategy.
There is the other side as well. Not doing follow-ups with the delegates is bad enough, but not doing them with your sponsors is even worse. How are you going to get them back onboard for the next conference if you didn’t ask for their opinions on this one? A nice thank you message would do the job.
2. Not updating websites and social media throughout the conference. Not even after the conference is finished. Not updating the pages throughout the conference is a serious lapse in organization. This means that the MUN hasn’t successfully established a communication team, or that the team is not doing their job right. What bothers me even more than the lack of regular updating are the “graveyards” that social pages of some MUNs become after the conference is done. The organizers should be aware of the fact that maintaining user base and keeping them “entertained” is equally important as having the attendees at the conference.
3. Poor post-conference administration. Lets take databases as an example here. Your database contains names of all the participants and sponsors that ever attended your conference. Importance of having it cannot be overstated. However, databases in some MUNs either don’t exist, or are really poorly managed. If you have a ten-year-old conference, we are talking about several thousands names of attendees and sponsors you could have had in the list. Imagine losing thousands of possible future partners. This is a reason why some MUNs do not have referrals, nor testimonials.
Perfection comes with experience. Even though starting MUNs are expected to do some of the above mistakes due to their lack of practice, they should still research the good practices (check out Organizing Successful Model UN Conference eBook) before actually starting the organization. Previous experience teaches us that, even if you made a mistake at your MUN before, you have to make sure you don’t repeat the same mistake again.
Image: Flickr/Peter Cuba