3 Pieces of Advice Plus One Simple Trick to Ensure Reviewer Compliance
Putting out your call for proposals can be one of the most exciting times of the event planning process. You see all the great session ideas coming in and can start to visualize the shape of next year's conference.
But once the deadline's passed it's time to motivate your reviewers to get to work. That's when the planning process can hit its first real speed bump.
Good thing the superhero of reviewer compliance uses CadmiumCD's Abstract Scorecard. Though she wishes to remain anonymous (all good superheros do), I sat down and talked with her about some of the methods she uses to keep reviewers on task and on time. Here's what she had to say...
Three Pieces of Advice from Our Reviewer Compliance Superwoman
1. Pick Reliable Reviewers
I keep a list of people who complete their reviews on time. If a reviewer doesn't comply, they're not invited back next year.
You see, for our reviewer compliance superwoman, being part of the review board is a privilege. Her elite team of just over 100 people helps shape the thought leadership of their industry for the next year. It's an important job and must be taken seriously.
2. Set Expectations from the Beginning
I always assume the worst. If you want your reviewers to comply, you need to assume they're not going to finish on time and treat them accordingly.
This may sound tough, but it's brilliant! No one will work as hard as you. If you are firm and set high expectations from the very beginning, you're reviewers aren't going to want to let you down.
3. Don't Wait Until Last Minute
I don't wait until the day reviews are due to remind my reviewers of their responsibilities. I stay on top of them throughout the whole process.
This is one of the most common mistakes the review chairperson makes. Submission reviews are due Sunday at midnight and the reviewers have only been reminded twice throughout the entire process. One of those reminders was Sunday at noon. This just doesn't work and our reviewer compliance superwoman's common sense attitude is a breath of fresh air.
And the One Simple Trick to Increase Reviewer Compliance to 100%...
"Hound them endlessly!"
If you thought it was mind control, sorry (but it's still pretty close). No, our reviewer compliance superwoman has some great tactics to keep her reviewers focused but she says the number one reason her reviewers complete their tasks is because she is a constant bug in their ears.
We send out a few general reminders during the process, but if I see that someone hasn't completed their reviews in the Abstract Scorecard, I reach out to them with a personal email and CC the chair of that session. I won't let up until they're finished. I pretty much shame them into completing their reviews.
It's a great tactic (and so simple). Being part of any proposal review board for a large industry conference is a big deal. Reviewers should treat it as a privilege. You, as the meeting planner, shouldn't tiptoe around the issue. You set deadlines for a reason.
So take it from our reviewer compliance superhero, and hound them endlessly!
About Michael Doane
Michael Doane is head of marketing at CadmiumCD. He is focused on educating event planners about the benefits of implementing technology at their trade shows and conferences. Download his free eBook, "The Most Influential Advances in Event Technology", then connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.