AIESEC is the world’s largest youth leadership organization. Each quarter, we host a four-day national conference with 100–300 delegates. As an agenda manager, I was responsible for designing the entire agenda and setting all session objectives for four conferences in 2015–2017. Below shows one of the agenda I curated for AIESEC Hong Kong Winter National Conference 2017.
User Journey Mapping
The Winter Conference was the second national conference of the term 2016–17. Local leaders had been on board for six months, while members had been recruited for around three months. They all have basic understanding towards the organization and its operation flow.
Preparation for Operation Peak
Our operation peak is in March to May every year. This conference was at the right timing to train up delegates’ skills and knowledge to meet the demands during peak.
Inspiration for Future Leadership
The upcoming months also serve as the important timeline for us to elect the next leaders in the organization. This conference also aimed at inspiring and motivating the delegates to step up and take the lead.
1. Determining Conference Needs and Objectives
According to the operation timeline and recruitment cycle, current members would be encouraged to take up leadership role for term 2017–18 after this conference. With the hidden goals set, I was able to determine the bigger objectives of the entire conference — to develop skills and lead themselves, and to connect each individual with the organization’s purpose and the city. I also set the atmosphere for the conference so that all session facilitators, speakers, and logistic preparations had to align with the overall mood.
2. Setting Daily Themes and Expected Outcomes
Next, I broke down overall objectives into daily themes according to overall logic flow and partnership/speaker availability. I set each day’s expected outcome with a one-sentence statement to sum up what a delegate would experience on that day. This conference started with an external-facing youth forum on the first day, and went from self-discovery to seeing the big picture of the organization and Hong Kong.
3. Completing the Agenda with 20+ Session Objectives
Finally, I further broke down the daily theme into sessions. Not only did I brainstorm sessions that cater the daily themes, but I also ensured the overall emotional and logic flow make sense for delegates under different tracks. I also had to delegate session facilitators with the right skills and attitudes for each session and set session objectives for them to ensure they would achieve the big picture I’d imagined.
The Results & Impacts
The Winter Conference was successfully held on Jan 5–8, 2017. There was a total of 110 delegates who were divided into three different tracks.
I explained the agenda every morning during the conference. It helped show the delegates what to expect for the day, and it was a great opportunity to help delegates connect the themes across different days and understand the conference objectives.
Day 1 – YouthSpeak Forum
The first day was was an external-facing forum with media presence. We brought in government officials, non-profit organizations, and speakers from different sectors to talk about the future of Hong Kong, with a focus on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Day 2 – Self Discovery
We believe that self-awareness is the foundation of leadership. Delegates went through a series of self-reflecting and engaging sessions to learn more about themselves.
Day 3 – National President Election
Delegates witnessed the Q&A sessions and other election process of the next president of AIESEC in Hong Kong.
Day 4 – Future Actions for AIESEC
Divided into their local chapters and departments, delegates were going through a timed simulation, training up their skills and knowledge to get ready for the operations in the upcoming months.
The post-conference survey shows a 90% satisfaction rate. See what the delegates wrote below:
“Glad to be in this conference, gain a lot, glad that i applied for this.”
“The Faci team did a great job and we appreciate their efforts.”
Day 1 Recap
The video below allows you to have a glimpse of what the delegates went through on day 1 of this conference.
1. Reality Check is Crucial
The conference preparation lasted for more than a month. It was important to check-in with multiple teams and stakeholders regulary, not just on conference preparation, but alerting issues happening in different local chapters. This enabled the team to curate sessions and content most relevant to the delegates, and truly catered their needs.
2. Effective Communication Enables Excellent Results
Mapping the delegate journey not only required empathetic understanding and holistic thinking, but also communicating my vision to the facilitator team and delegate service team, so that they could ultimately deliver the best results. The experience effectively trained up my verbal and visual skills.