Reviewers make up an integral part in the Service Management Conference. In this post, itSMF Australia’s National Events Director Kathryn Howard shares her tips for the Conference reviewers.
Our Conference reviewers play an important role: our reviewers, made up of the itSMF community, are able to directly influence the shape of the conference. It’s thanks to our 2016 reviewers that Shake I.T. Up provoked the amazing amount of positive feedback that it did. I look forward to seeing the kind of program they will build for us this year.
As this role can be demanding, I wanted to offer some guidance.
Check in with your stream regularly, if you can, so you don’t get a buildup of too many submissions to sift through in one sitting.
Check the topic title. Is it snappy and interesting? Does it relate to the rest of the submission content? If they’ve lost you, they’ll lose the audience, so follow up with the author, share your understanding of their submission, and ask for some clarification. Together, you may come up with a much better title.
Check the stream selection. If you feel the submission better suits another stream, feel free to encourage the submitter to move their submission – or make a private note and let the organisers know.
Check the audience level the submission is pitched to. If you feel the submission is more beginner, or more advanced, it might be worth confirming with the author. Reassure authors that we have delegates covering the spectrum, so pitching to beginners is not a limitation!
Check the session length. Ensure the topic will have the appropriate time for the greatest quality. You may have to trust the author on this one, because experienced speakers will specifically design their session for the format they’ve selected. There will be another chance to validate and address this point if they make it to the speaker supporter stage.
A note on topic selection. Your role, at this early stage, is to help the author put forward the best submission they can. If you don’t think a particular topic put forward is an ideal fit for our delegates, make a private note, rate it accordingly and let the shortlisting process weed it out. However, as I found last year, sessions from outside our typical domain rated highly on the day, so you may be surprised! But that’s half the fun of being involved as a reviewer 🙂