How to Make Your Mock Conference a Success

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by: emily gao, district v vp of social media

As we all know, conference season doesn’t start until January – but that’s no excuse to put off practicing your events in a competitive environment! Chapters that host mock conferences often do better at ICDC (looking at you, Ontario) and have members who end up more prepared for the business world. The benefits of mock conferences can’t be overstated, so we’ve come up with 3 steps to help your chapter host one:

1. Plan out a date and location ahead of time.

This sounds obvious, but many times a conference has failed because officers didn’t coordinate a place and time for the practice proactively. A common misconception that prevents many chapters from hosting practices is that the conference needs to be as formal as a District CDC, when in reality the cafeteria works just fine! Dates for conferences should be announced at least 4 weeks ahead of time and confirmed with school administration. This way, the few hours of commitment on a weekend can be scheduled off for members, and scheduling conflicts can be avoided.

2. Find volunteer judges.

Judges don’t need to be business professionals – parents, teachers, and even upperclassmen with experience in competitive events are perfectly valid judges for a mock conference. Most parents and teachers are more than willing to help out, but it’s always a good idea to do something nice (i.e. buying coffee or providing snacks) for volunteers. Again, make sure to ask for judges ahead of time to make sure that there will be enough to judge all of the necessary events.

3. Make sure competitors are familiar with their events before the conference.

Although a mock conference is a great place for competitors to get accustomed to a competitive environment, it’s not the time for members to be familiarizing themselves with their events for the first time. At the general chapter meeting leading up to the conference, encourage members to check this to go over their event guidelines and performance indicators. 

Bonus: Set up meetings to go over feedback forms.

After your judges have filled out an evaluation form, members might not know how to interpret their scores or improve in certain areas. Officers and upperclassmen can be put in charge of competitive clusters based on their experience in competitive events and go over evaluation sheets with members after the mock conference. This way, your members will know how to improve their performance before the next conference.