Writing a conference report is not just about putting words on paper; it’s about distilling the essence of an event to engage and inform your audience. To craft a compelling conference summary, start by asking yourself crucial questions: What is the purpose of the summary? Who is the target audience? Is it a brief one-hour keynote or an extensive 5-day conference with multiple parallel sessions? Tailoring your approach to these considerations ensures that your summary serves its intended purpose.
I still remember about 20 years ago. I had just started my first job at the Idiap research institute after my studies. I discovered that young researchers who had worked hard on their thesis would go and present their work at international scientific conferences and come back with a 5-line report: “I liked the presentation of this paper, this one and this one again”. And that was it. I thought there had to be another way, in addition to the “proceedings” containing all the peer-reviewed articles, to keep track of these events. And so, in 2007, the Klewel company was born. But now let’s get back to the topic of this post: How to Write an Effective Conference Summary.
Setting the Stage: The 5 Ws and QQOQCP
Begin by covering the basics using the 5 Ws method (Who, What, Where, When, Why), with the addition of ‘How’ and sometimes ‘How much’ (represented by the acronym QQOQCP). These questions provide a framework for presenting essential information and setting the scene for your readers.
For instance, if you’re summarizing a one-day conference with approximately 10 speakers, consider incorporating the key details using the 5 Ws and QQOQCP to create a well-rounded overview.
Record and Repeat: Maximizing Conference Content
If possible, record the conference to facilitate accurate note-taking and ensure that every nuance is captured. This practice is particularly valuable for events featuring multiple speakers, as it allows you to revisit and accurately represent each presentation.
While attending the conference, take diligent notes. Utilize effective techniques such as transcribing directly onto your computer. Conference reporting demands technical proficiency, and we’ll provide you with some helpful pointers to navigate this process.
Structuring Your Report
Simplify the process by replicating the program structure in your summary. If the conference offers video content, leverage it by referring to on-demand videos for each presentation. This not only streamlines the summary but also directs readers to additional resources.
Uncover Key Insights: Interviews and Participant Feedback
Tap into the wealth of knowledge possessed by conference organizers. Conduct interviews to glean insights into influential speakers, emerging concepts, and trends within the field. This journalist-like approach enriches your summary by providing a comprehensive understanding of the event.
Engage with participants and speakers to identify key points and new features. Encourage them to share their perspectives on the most impactful aspects of the conference. A journalist’s knack for asking insightful questions can reveal the pulse of the field.
Innovative Formats: Moving Beyond Standard Text
Consider experimenting with various formats for your conference summary. While the traditional text document is effective, explore innovative options like after-movies. A well-crafted after-movie captures the event’s atmosphere, offering a visual and emotive experience that text alone cannot convey.
Some conferences enlist professional illustrators to create visual summaries in the form of drawings. While this may seem unconventional, coupling illustrations with concise text provides a panoramic view of the event without delving into the specifics of each presentation.
The Takeaway: Share the Essence
Ultimately, the goal is to distill the most crucial points into a “Take home” message. By sharing these key insights, your conference summary becomes a valuable resource that not only informs but also inspires new participants to engage with future events.
In summary, writing an effective conference summary requires a strategic approach, incorporating thoughtful questions, comprehensive coverage, and innovative presentation formats. By mastering these elements, you can create summaries that resonate with your audience and elevate the impact of the conferences you cover.
Ready to Elevate Your Conference Experience?
Writing a compelling conference summary is just the beginning of what we do at Klewel. If you’re looking to capture, broadcast, and share the essence of your conferences seamlessly, we’re here to help. Contact us at Klewel to explore how our cutting-edge services can transform your events into lasting experiences. Whether you need professional recording, innovative after-movies, or engaging visual summaries, our team is ready to enhance your conference journey. Let’s make your next event unforgettable together. Reach out to us today!