I get the privilege to be at a lot of youth ministry training events. I like big one and I’m also fan of local youth ministry events. The home grown aspect appeals to me. I like the thought of churches pooling their resources and making connectionalism happen. I’ve seen the quality at these regional events vary from “This was grrrrrrreeeeeaaaaat! to “I’m never teaching here again.” (A bad attitude, I know, but it was THAT bad.)
Here’s a list of what makes it great from a speaker’s perspective. None of these are out of reach for local churches who band together.
1) Provide the projector: Don’t ask the workshop leaders to also have to fool with that. Borrow from each of the churches working together.
2) Make sure speakers are available: This is a frequent overlooked detail. they only have to be a personal small set from somebody’s home computer.
3) Anticipate for Mac/PC: Make sure that there are a few of those VGA adapters for Macs. Most presenters with a Mac carry that but just in case.
4) Use a power strip: Remember that the workshop leader has a few things to plug in, too.
5) Use room hosts: Have a person in each room assigned to make sure that the workshop has all it needs.
6) Check-in table: Hey the event may be small, but hospitality is free! Make sure there’s a clearly marked place for your presenters to go to near the main entrance.
7) Book Table: It might be hard for you all to pull off a book table’s inventory, but workshop leaders MIGHT have books to ask before hand, have whoever brings books to see mark theirs with name and price and provide someone on your team to be the cashier. Have cash or a check available at the end of the day for the presenter.
8) Pay the Presenter: Its nice to walk away from the event with a check instead of putting the presenter in an uncomfortable position of having to ask. If you need an invoice, send them one before the event so checks can be ready. I did a workshop for a somewhat friend once where I had to ask for the agreed upon payment twice and had to find/send the email where we’d made the original agreement. Awkward!
9) Name tags: Use them! Make everyone wear them. Never assume everyone knows everyone.
10) Have gathering sounds system stuff worked out IN ADVANCE: It may be a small event but there’s no need to sound checks when everyone’s sitting there staring at the people up front.
OK, I’ve got more thoughts but this will do for now. Oh, one more: Don’t announce last minute! Send a “save the date” 6 months out; details at 4 months out, team pricing registration requests at two months till event, one month “last minute” special and a 7 days away reminder.