The summary of the convention ideas series is here.
So you want to add more professional stuff to your convention or conventions.
Do you have any schools, colleges, educational facilities near you? Then you've got a ton of potential guests right there. In short, start inviting teachers, trainers, and so forth to your convention.
First, this is an easy way to get guests – odds are that the people in question will have some interest in your convention subject, if only tangentially. This also means they may be willing to speak for free memberships, or just out of a chance to network.
Secondly, the teachers and educators may have great ideas. The convention may give them a chance to make new suggestions, do unusual things they don't often speak on or lecture on, or try out new material. You're going to the experts – who knows what they're going to come up with.
Third, the teachers and educators you invite may already have fantastic materials to use, hand out, or just plain sell (don't begrudge them a bit of cash here). They'll likely come well-prepared, and may surprise you and your audience – there's nothing like having people attend a simple lecture on, say, writing, and walk out with handouts or a book.
Finally, the educators you invite may be grateful for the attention and publicity. It gives them a chance to be recognized, make connections, and try out some new things.
So next time you're asking how to make your convention more professional, go to one of the sources – teachers, trainers, and educators.
– Steven Savage