Whether you are planning a virtual conference or in-person meeting in the near future, you know the level of complexity that is involved with collecting abstracts and choosing speakers. Now, more than ever, it’s critical to navigate the collection process with tools that allow you to not only organize the submission process but also clearly evaluate, schedule, and communicate with your speakers and participants.
This process simply cannot be managed effectively in email and Excel–you need an abstract collection and management software. But how do you decide which features are essential to your needs?
With so many abstract collection software options to choose from, the process of selecting the right platform is a project in and of itself. However, choosing a platform that accomplishes all your needs can save you significant planning time and cost.
Streamlining the Collections Process Increases Submissions
There are entire forums on Reddit and Quora complaining about the complexity and frustration with submitting abstracts online. But with abstract collection and management software, it doesn’t have to be that way. Tools like Precis, Eventsforce, and OpenWater all have functionalities that make the submission process user-friendly, which increases submission rates.
Managing abstract submissions manually in a spreadsheet is the number one mistake organizers make when planning a conference because spreadsheets are not dynamic. However, an automated platform is. When people can more easily submit their work, they are more likely to do so and not get overwhelmed by the process. Also, a software that allows for easily uploaded supporting content such as images, tables, formulas, and other content significantly reduces the headache of the authors. Precis specifically has a function that allows submitters to continue to edit their application before the due date.
As the event organizer, you also want to be able to also track who hasn’t submitted their abstracts when there is still time. A platform that can identify unfinished submissions can also target these users and help you engage with them until their submissions are completed.
Setting Submission Parameters Improves the Quality of the Content and Speakers
If you use an abstract collection tool, you’ll have a larger pool of abstracts to choose from which also will significantly improve the quality of the submissions. Why? Because, coupled with the higher rate of submissions, you can set submission parameters that better identify and attract relevant speakers.
Take for instance, a medical conference on the latest research on COVID-19. If you want to source speakers whose work specifically addresses viral load, you can create fields that will tag their work. Or, if you are planning a scientific conference on climate change and are interested in the research of soil ecologists in particular, you can create fields that submitters can select to tag the topic of their proposals.
When the submission period is closed, you can then organize and prioritize the abstracts by relevance, topics, organization, and more. You’ll spend less time emailing and scrolling through spreadsheets because you are better able to determine the quality of the abstracts.
Engaging Your Abstract Reviewers Empowers Better Decision-Making
As a reviewer, there is nothing worse than being emailed dozens of documents with no way to track or compare them. Your reviewers are critical to the process of the collection process and any confusion could delay (or even prevent) you from scheduling the best speakers possible for your conference or meeting.
Fortunately, abstract collection and management platforms have assignment and tracking tools that simplify this process. Precis specifically also has a dynamic scoring tool that is customizable. Many abstraction collection software tools have pre-determined scoring capabilities but having the option to create more sophisticated scoring allows your reviewers to better select the best quality work and speakers.
Scheduling in the Same Tool You Use For Collection and Reviews Reduces Error
If you’re working on multiple platforms and documents to plan your conferences and events, you understand the room for error is high. Emails get buried, spreadsheets don’t get updated, workflows get disrupted–before long, you are spending more time catching up than planning ahead.
However, if you schedule your speakers from the same platform that houses their submitted and reviewed work, nothing gets lost. And, as you receive confirmations from your speakers and participants, you can easily plan the itinerary of your event and make changes without any confusion.
Monitor Progress In Real-Time
Whether you are at the submission, review, or scheduling stage, real-time monitoring of the process allows you to evaluate its effectiveness and correct any unforeseen problems. For instance, if you created a submission field that you now realize is irrelevant, simply remove. Or, if you realize several of your reviewers have not scored their assigned abstracts, quickly send a targeted reminder to this select group.
Customize Templates Streamline Your Communications
Whether you are planning a joint session or creating a grant application, the volume of communications required to launch and complete your campaign can be daunting. Managing brand assets, written content, marketing materials, and posters can become overwhelming quickly and also be inconsistent if there is not an organized system for communications.
Fortunately, with customizable templates, you can not only create a quick-and-easy communications workflow, you can also repurpose your messaging and content for your other sessions and applications. Send and upload emails, ePosters, bios, session titles, session descriptions, permission to record, learning objectives, disclosures, presentations and more with consistent language and design. With Precis, you can also track and assign this materials to meeting itineraries and speakers.
Schedule Speakers and Events with Cloud-based Storage, Management, and Conferencing Integrations
Finally, one of the most important features to look for when deciding which abstract management collection software to use is ensuring that it can support not only the volume of submissions but the volume of all your supporting content.
Precis, in particular, has the capacity to support any size campaign or event. Receive thousands of submissions, send hundreds of emails, gather dozens of posters and supporting materials all with the peace of mind of knowing that it is stored on a secured cloud. This storage capacity allows you to easily support your speakers and participants on mobile and desktop with quick download times that can be easily sourced from the platform.
In addition, being able to integrate all of your content with a virtual tool is especially necessary given the unprecedented move to virtual conferencing in the past year. Platforms like Precis, which has Zoom and WebX integrations, are key to ensuring that all of your content and assets can be shared online with your participants.
Optimize Your Campaign with a Dedicated Project Manager
An abstract collection tool with a poor support team can be disastrous. From set-up to execution, you need someone who intimately understands your goals and can help you achieve them. Many abstract collection SaaS tools have customer service, but if you’re planning a campaign or event with any level of complexity, you’ll need to have a rep on speed dial that you know on a first name basis.
Precis is distinctly the most high-touch collection platform for this very reason. When you work with Precis, a dedicated project manager helps you create a customized submission interface for your specific needs. As you navigate the collection process, event planning, and outreach, the project manager is there to guide you along the way.
Customer support reacts to problems–project managers anticipate them. With an expert assigned to your project, you’ll never have to worry about unforeseen issues or compounding problems that could potentially bottleneck your goals.
Choose a Platform that Works For You, Not One That Make You Work
Ultimately, the decision to use an abstract collection and management tool will significantly improve the quality of your submissions, your participants’ experience, and the overall process of planning and communicating your event or campaign. Do you already use an abstract collection software but are frustrated by some of the features? Have you never used this type of SaaS tool but are now open to given the rise of virtual conferencing? Choosing a platform that can not only support your materials but also support you with specialized customer service is critical to creating the best and most impressive collections and events.