By Ryan Broussard | February 27th, 2012
Some people dread it. Some people look forward to it.
It is that fateful day when your regional director comes up to you and asks “Would you like to host next year’s regional conference?” Before getting worried or feeling overwhelmed by the thought of it, keep these tips in mind:
Begin planning early
At the national conference in the fall, most regions finalize their plans for the regional in the spring. If your chapter chooses, or is chosen, to host the regional, begin planning ASAP. You have no idea how much work goes into one until you are put in charge of planning. Start pricing hotels and brain-storming for session ideas. Don’t be afraid to go after the large fancy hotels because sometimes the ones that you think are out of your price range are the ones that will be able to work with you the easiest.
Try to show off local flair
In Lafayette, we are working on getting a Cajun/zydeco band to play at our opening night reception to go along with dance instructors to teach attendees the local dance moves. If your city or state is known for specialties, do not be afraid to show them off. Journalists as a whole are curious folk and they will want to try new and different things.
Don’t be afraid to think big
When trying to decide on speakers, don’t be afraid to think big. Go after the big fish, like a national news anchor from your area or a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter. The worst thing that can happen is they say no. But, as in all facets of life, you’ll never know until you ask.
Eventually, you will hit a wall and you think that everything will just fall into place. Keep dreaming. You have to continue to work and try to get one thing accomplished every day, whether it be sending some emails to potential speakers or agreeing on room prices with a hotel.
Ryan Broussard is currently on his M.S. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Journalism at UL Lafayette. He graduated from UL Lafayetter in Spring of 2009 with his B.A. in Mass Communication. He currently works as a freelancer covering high school sports for The Opelousas Daily World.