Drawing lines and defining the work…

When I’m not writing/editing/working on FMP or Words Mean Stuff (WMS), I’m on the committee of a writer’s conference (and when I have a second or two, I also write books and stories!). On the conference side of the house, it’s a busy month, even though the conference isn’t until October. Why? Because right now is the time we’re doing the planning and defining that will lead to an excellent conference this fall.

There are many tasks on the plate: developing a marketing plan, contracts with advertisers, recruiting and training the folks who’ll work at the conference, recruiting and planning with the people who’ll present at the conference, dealing with that one person who want’s to redesign the system for doing all this stuff (while we’re doing the stuff!), and handling crises that happen because we all have lives outside of running a conference. These things have a couple of points in common:

  1. Defining what work needs to be done
  2. Deciding who’s going to do that work
  3. Communicating with the folks involved

Some of you may ask what about doing the work. Well, the work needs to get done. But, productive work won’t get done without definitions of the work, decisions and commitments on who’s doing the work, and communication between the folks doing the planning and work. Without those three things, you can have a lot of effort happening but still not get productive work done.

This, dear reader, is why a good conference takes so long to pull off, you have to do the planning, put everything in place and coordinate the efforts of everyone involved (please don’t ask me how my church is pulling off two (actually more than two!) international conferences per year. I’m still struggling with my one conference some days).

There’s an old saying, “When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.” That’s often accurate. So, assume as little as possible. Instead, do your prep work (that seems to be a theme in my world right now…). Define what needs to happen. Decide who’s doing what (you may need to hire some people and/or get some “buy in”). Collect the information you need to make all of this happen and communicate with the people who are doing the stuff. And then, do the communication (don’t be the guy whose star keynote shows up at the wrong place because someone forgot to send a text!).

This is work. I won’t lie about that. It’s not even the fun part of the work (at least for me). But, it’s the foundation for making the fun stuff happen.

Have a good think, make a plan, and communicate with your people, dear reader. I’ll see you next post.

Published by Farangian

I'm a writer (fiction and non fiction) with a Masters in Psychology. I am also a sculptor, metal smith, lapidary, tutor/trainer, and eternal student. The name Farangian comes from the name of a fantasy world I created called Farangia. That name comes from Farang with is a term that the Thai use for westerners.

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