Last month I and Marek Kowalkiewicz run our Third SAP Inside Track in Singapore. As usual it went well. We all enjoyed with all the stuffs shared during the event and very happy to get new contacts. Till now I was involved in four inside track, one as presenter and the other three as part of organizer team. I felt very impressed after my first SAP Inside Track Bangalore, thought of attending such event every year, so we pulled this event to Singapore and three years run successfully.
Most of them might think it SIT is the very simple event to run. Might be that is true. But It is as fancy as like other SAP events, It has all the challenges starting from the venue, attendees, speakers, till the logistics support. But we can make it easy with the approach of contact correct people and act with well-defined pre plan.
Through this short blog I would like to share my experience so far in this journey and small tips for others who want to make the SIT successful.
Tip I Limitless Open Registration
I could not say, It is the first challenge but it is also can be considered as challenge and can be improved . Normally we opened the registration for 100+ (or some X Numbers) seats in Eventbrite website. Wonder is that within a week or two almost most the tickets would be booked, so we open the slot for some more that too filled in a day, even after also people will knock your mail box of tickets. But during the event most of the cases only 40% to 50% turned. I discuss this with other SIT locations and mentors like Martin Lang. They said that their experience also the same.
Hence mostly don’t keep registration stick to some numbers, make it open for limitless ticket, this works in most of the locations and gives the chance to all the interested and get it benefited.
Tip II Know the Speakers Well
I was impressed from the community spirit, where people like Njål Stabell and Raj Kumar Salla who traveled with their own budget to deliver the session on SIT. One side this is well but the other side unfortunately we faced some challenges on regulation of local speakers. Usually we trust the people who have given the commitment via mail as speaker. We won’t exactly send any meeting requests. But It is our second inside track where 2 speakers didn’t turned for the event, stating the reason as that their calendar is not marked for our event, We took this as very positively and asked other speakers to give hands-on demo ( instead of 30 min talk) and managed the situation.
Other cases , some of the speakers dropped out just 1 or 2 days before the season and we are under pressure to get the new one immediately. Later my conversation with SAP mentors Harshit Kumar where they faced similar challenges in their locations too,
I have a strong believe that we can avoid all these situations as early by maintaining proper communication and choosing the correct speakers. Get well introduced and know about the speakers in business IDs rather than just connecting via social media. Make them feel very comfort to deliver their expertise by organizing pre-event meetings (this is followed in most of the locations, they organised the pre-event dinner with all the speakers). Send out meeting requests via outlook and make sure the event is stored on their calendar. Surprise the speakers with some tokens of gift like chocolates.
We used this strategy in our third SITSG, it was worked well, All speakers, including the ones traveled from outside for our event are on time and most of them stayed till end of the event.
Tip III Get It Familiar inside the Event Venue
This is very important, if you are an organizer and running the event in other locations which is another corporate office where you are not promoted for all the access. I could say this is a major challenge during the event day. We are going to be almost 8 to 9 hrs. in that venue, moreover most of the time SIT would be on weekends especially on Saturday. In such cases, if no one would be there to support you, then things get worse. Hence make sure you got open access for the major areas like reception, pantry or you can at least get one or two person on place from the office to assist you.
And of course we must reach before time to study up setup the logistics, this avoid unnecessary delay between the sessions.
Tip IV Time Management
Time management is always important. We normally schedule the event from 10 am to 6 pm in the evening, Make sure you start the event on time and finish by time, and stick to the agenda very well. Because we noticed that few attendees came for the event only to attend some of their interested session, if we delayed or changed (unnecessary) they may get disappointed.
Make sure all the presenters also stick to their allotted timings, As a presenter you may feel to share everything you know to the active attendees, but human’s brain capability has some limitations and some times over doze makes negative impact, I strongly felt we need to keep some one as a time keeper and alert the presenters in genuine manner. Similarly give enough break between the sessions, normally we make it 15 min break in every 1 hr. or 1.5 hrs. This makes audience more attentive.
And last very good must follow practices to finish all the breakout sessions before 5.30 PM, because most of them have evening plans as always.
Tip V Lets All Get Their Hands Dirty
This is the one thing which make SAP Inside track unique from other SAP events. Since it is the community event, collaboration is much important than any other things, We must make the attendees also involved in all the way and they also must feel as they are part of the community. For this, We must create opportunity for collaboration, We started this idea on last year SITSG with very small SAP Bingo game, that was very interesting and everyone enjoyed. This year we take gamification as the tool. This makes very big difference than ever before.
We introduced missions similar to the SCN and also point system, each mission has some points and it is represented by color stickers. Most of the missions are released during the 15 min break; All attendees encouraged to do and share to team to get the points. Some of the missions are,
Be Before Key Note – This helps every one (almost entire hall) come on time,As planned it works very well.
Find Four – You must find four of people from different company who are close to your expertise.
Counting Careers – Topics related to Career is ever interesting, We introduced this mission to get the opinion for how SAP’s new innovation strategy (which is shared by Vishal on Bangalore Keynote) impact the current career trends.
Gamifications @SITSG 2014
Other than that we delivered points for active attendees who raised their voice by asking questions,sharing insights, tweets feeds, Facebook sharing, Last but not least, it is good approach to have a small short quiz ( simple true or false). This gives the fulfillment to everyone and another chance to revise what happened since morning in summary. Again, make sure all are involved. Think very creative and implement such ideas to make the event more collaborative.
I participated various kinds of sap event, out of all I always like SAP TechED, I considered that is one of the must attend event, After SAP TechEd I could say SAP Inside track is one of the must attend event, Don’t Ever Miss!