True to OneNote fanatic form, I am planning a free online OneNote conference with–you guessed it–OneNote! This post will show you how I accomplished it and share a few OneNote tips and organization strategies. Even if you’re not planning a conference, you can still use these tips for organizing meetings, events, parties, and any in-person gathering.
When I started planning the OneNote conference (it’s free and starts November 12th; details here: www.learnonconference.com), I didn’t know exactly what I would need in my binder. So first, I created a new Notebook for the conference and titled it ON Event. This is where my planning would live.
Within the notebook I slowly added sections as needed. That’s the great thing about OneNote: You don’t always have to know how things will be organized when you start out. It can be rearranged so easily that you can begin to organize as you go.
I started with sections in my notebook and ended up with the following sections: Website, Action Plan, Resources, Admin, Marketing, Tasks, Speakers, and Journal. I’ll discuss each of these sections and provide some tips and tricks along the way.
This section is where I planned the layout of the conference page, brainstormed URL ideas, and wrote out some of the website text before beginning to input it into a web building platform. When the planning was complete in OneNote, I used Squarespace to create the site and used Sway to create promotional material. (Examples: Learn OneNote Conference 2016 Speaker Schedule, Learn OneNote Conference is Global.)
A big source of influence for this conference came from Navid Moazzez, one of the leaders in the online conference (or as he often refers to it, online summit) movement. He has a free PDF titled “7-Steps Cheat Sheet to Create a Successful Virtual Summit.” I was able to insert his PDF in this section and write out an action plan for the entire conference before getting started. This helped me get an idea of the “big picture” before I began taking action.
I could have also called this section Research, because this is where a lot of the research ended up. One page was used for articles that helped with an aspect of OneNote or putting together a conference. Another page in this section was a list of all the tools I would use for the conference. Other pages were added ad hoc. Anytime I was on the internet doing research, I had this notebook docked and used it to jot down and link to the resources I discovered.
I embedded an Excel workbook onto a page and used this area to hash out a budget and jot down related notes. See item #4 in this 10 Tips and Tricks That Will Make You a OneNote Ninja post to learn how to integrate Excel with OneNote.
The first draft of all my guest posts and website posts start in OneNote, including this post. This section was heavily used for drafting posts, emails, and social media promotional material. When I’m trying to be creative, I fire up OneNote. With a full page view I can focus on getting my thoughts on “paper” without the distraction of complicated or restrictive software.
I operate off lists. This section is where I would create any lists related to tasks I had coming up. It was the place in my notebook where I could dump my overwhelming thoughts and turn them into actionable items to tackle one at a time.
With a conference, the most important thing is quite possibly the speaker list. Using this section, I was able to put together an impressive speaker list of 20 OneNote experts from all over the world. Excel files are linked to different pages to help with the list of potential and confirmed speakers. Meeting notes with speakers are also gathered here. It became a frequently used section in my planning.
I had a lot of meetings with potential speakers to explain the conference and discuss their topic idea. I created a very basic template so I would be certain to gather the information I needed and be consistent with every speaker. My template looks something like this:
It’s nothing too fancy–just simple text in an organized list. When you are creating templates, you don’t have do anything too extravagant. Just do something that works to makes your life easier.
To see how to make a page template with your own design, check out this post: Create or customize page templates.
I also used Excel in the speaker section. For more basic tables, I will often use the Table command in OneNote. When I have a longer list or more complicated structuring, creating a linked Excel document is the way to go.
Within my Speakers section, I created a linked Excel spreadsheet for my potential speaker list, a separate one for my confirmed speaker list, and a third for my schedule of topics.
My booked speaker list looks something like this:
By creating the Excel sheet directly within OneNote, I had my spreadsheet available wherever I needed it.
I wanted to document my thoughts, feelings, and progress throughout the planning of the conference. So I created a section and added a new page every time I mustered up the courage to jot down my hopes and fears in journal form.
My favorite journaling session was done from the sunny Santa Monica beach on my phone, because of course OneNote is with me everywhere my phone is.
For my journaling related to this conference, I created a new page for each entry within the Journal section. Each title was the date and time. One of my most used keyboard shortcuts automatically enters the date onto the page. Give it a try!
SHIFT + ALT + F will enter the date and time in this form: 10/3/2016 6:48 PM
SHIFT + ALT + D will enter the date in this form: 10/3/2016
Armed with OneNote, you can plan a fantastic gathering of people, online or offline. I hope this helps you in your journey.