Putting Together a National Conference Program

Report
Steve McMaster, CFM
ASFPM Standing Conference Program Chair
Ideation, Inc.
Conference Timeline
Initial Site Visit
Call for Presenters
Deadline for Abstracts
Initial Program
Registration Begins
Conference
August
September
October 31
December 31
Early February
Mid-May to Early June
August Meeting
 Meet conference team members
 Reconnaissance for everything
 Facility
 Restaurants, area attractions
 Assess room layout
 Discuss session tracks, what’s new
Call for Presenters
Abstract Deadline
350
300
321
290
250
200
168
170
150
100
Submitted
Accepted
58%
53%
50
0
Oklahoma City
Louisville
# of Submissions
Louisville Abstracts Submitted
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
71
56
44
41
21
1
27 24
2
3
50
36
27
4
21
5
24
24
6
7
Concurrent Session Track
24
8
Accepted
Total
Abstract Review Process
 Program Chair reviews all five non-mapping
abstracts
 Program Chair uses judgment to move abstracts to
different tracks
 Where do these abstracts belong?
“Using ICC to Fund Elevation Projects: A
Community Success Story”
“Mitigating Flood Damage through LiDAR
and 2-D Modeling”
Abstract Review Process
 Mapping abstracts to Mapping & Engineering
Standards Committee Co-Chairs
 Coastal abstracts are reviewed with assistance from
NOAA
 Once all abstracts are reviewed and
recommendations sent to Program Chair, the
Abstract Selection Committee reviews and makes
final determinations
Putting Together the Program
 Know the number of Showcase sessions
 No similar content competing with Showcases
 Double-up on sessions, especially tracks which
had the most abstracts
 Put sponsors before Committee
sessions
 Attempt to achieve
“political balance”
Program Changes!
 Happen every year!
 Disaster Deployments
 Government Shutdowns
 Travel Denials
 Personal/Family Issues
 Job Changes
Solution: Have alternate speakers
and a waiting list of helpers!
Advice for Abstracts
 Be current – the Program Chair and Selection
Committee know what is happening
 Be clear – reviewers have to understand!
 Be confident – tell your story, even if it is in front
of floodplain management experts
 Be cutting-edge – many people attend the
conference to see what’s new
 Be concise – if you can’t sell your abstract in one
page, your idea is too broad, assume the reviewers
know about your subject
 Be certified – CFMs receive priority treatment
Things to Avoid
 Abstracts
 Don’t ask for longer than 30 minutes, especially in
popular tracks
 Pictures or other multimedia – say it in words
 Edits to squeeze content to one page
 Biographies
 Do not include a resume - you will be asked to redo!
 Use third-person voice
 Moderators: Don’t say “Put me anywhere”
General Speaking Guidance
 Personal practice for timing
 Professional practice for content and questions
 Speaking gets better and easier with experience
 Consider joining Toastmasters or similar group
 Avoid speaking from PowerPoint slides
 Tell stories, make it interesting
 Use pictures or multimedia to enhance points
Example:
 The Mississippi River at Vicksburg continued to rise




on May 14th
It is projected to rise to 57.5 feet by May 18th
57.5 feet would be 1.3 feet higher than the flood of
record set in 1927
This level would be about 5 feet below the top of the
floodwall protecting Vicksburg
Unprotected buildings in downtown Vicksburg are
currently experiencing significant flood damage
Learn PowerPoint Capabilities
 Avoid “Death by PowerPoint”
 Try to make your point without words – use pictures and
graphs
 Aids in speaking off of content instead of from content
 Allows you to face audience – audio and eye contact
 Know your speaking room (28 font)
 Appropriate, readable font size from all seats (26 font)
 If you don’t know, default to larger font
 Can you project or need a microphone (tied to podium)
 Font size may dictate content, presentation
Other Speaking Advice
 Be organized
 Introduction: Tell us what you will say
 Body: Say it
 Conclusion: Tell us what you told us
 Vocal variety
 Move around
 Gestures
 Cite your sources in PowerPoint presentations
 Earn a reputation as a good speaker
 Watch presenters and copy their strong points

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