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What is a Judge Conference?

A Judge conference is an excellent way to help you and your peers grow and advance as Judges. At a conference, you will meet old friends, make new ones, expose yourself to innovative new judging techniques, engage in fun activities, and leave even more excited about our community and judging.

History of Judge Conferences

Judges of all types and levels belong to an international community devoted to improving themselves and the quality of the events they steward. One of the central tools Judges utilize to improve themselves is attending and/or organizing a Judge conference.

Originally Judges came together to present talks on aspects of judging as an educational tool. Typically held at game stores, large events, or conventions, early conference presentations were lectures and workshops where more experienced Judges presented on topics they were passionate about.  These events drew anywhere from a handful to hundreds of attendees and became a central feature of the Judge world. Over time, Judge conferences have evolved to fit the educational, research, and social needs of Judges.

Judge Academy Supported Conferences

Judge Academy Supported Conferences are our way of helping to facilitate the pooling of knowledge, increased mentorship, and community building that helps make the Judge Community what it is.

Judge Academy Supported Conferences begin in 2020. Sponsorship includes one pack of four promos for each Judge Academy member at the Conference, as well as additional packs for Judge Academy Presenters and Organizers. 

The Judge Academy Conference Promo Pack

These will include the two 2020 Conference Exclusive Promos, and two additional promos from previous member mailings.

Guaranteed Conference Promos:

These Promos will remain a mystery until you arrive at your Conference:

Below are some examples of different types of Conferences. We are ALWAYS looking for new, innovative ways to gather Judges and spread knowledge. If you have an idea for a type of Conference not listed below, please email us at Nicolette@JudgeAcademy.com!

Explanation of Digital Conference Types

Regional Conferences

Regional Conferences are targeted to Judges from a specific region or part of a region, typically focus on addressing specific regional needs, and often bring in Regional Judges of all levels. They’re often run in the local language, although this may depend on the diversity of the Region. These can be large single or multi-track Conferences, and should have something for everyone to learn from.

Since the goal is to support Judges coming together, the digital venue for a Regional Conference should be able to hold at least 75-100 people, if not more. Regional Conferences may prioritize In-Region Judges, but should not have any other restrictions outside of a hard cap on the software being used.

Specialized Conferences

Specialized Conferences are smaller, and have their own specific rules. They can be focused on L3s, L2+ Judges, those in the Level 3 Advancement Process, those going for Advanced Certifications, or any other specialized group.

Mini-Conferences

Mini-Conferences are targeted at Judges from a small subset of a region, address mainly the needs of that area, and are smaller than a regional Conference. They’re often run in the local language, and typically have between 20-50 Judges in attendance.

Mini-Conferences tend to be focused on Level 1 and Level 2 development, use local Judges as presenters and help Judges meet and get to know other local Judges in their area.

Steps for Planning Your Judge Conference

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Announcing the Conference

The initial announcement about the Conference should contain as much information as possible:

  • Date of conference
  • Estimated start and end times. Participants need to know this in order to plan their travel.
  • Event link for registration, and registration deadline
  • Will participants receive Promos (i.e. is this a supported Conference? Which promo pack)
  • Information on seminars/presenters that you have already scheduled
  • Call for presenters: who to contact if you want to present a seminar, what is expected
  • Language: some Conferences are run in a language other than English. Some may even have seminars in several different languages.
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Presenters and content

You can start recruiting presenters or Conference leaders even before announcing the Conference to the general public. Posting a general call for presenters is common practice, but you might also contact individual Judges who are specialists in a particular topic or known for being skilled presenters.

Content for Conferences should be finalized at least 2 weeks prior to the event. Presentations that lack preparation negatively affect Conference attendees and can undermine that hard work that other presenters may invest in your event. As a Conference Organizer, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are providing attendees with a positive experience.

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Planning the Conference Schedule

Once you have your final list of topics and presenters, you should start planning the schedule. Each session is usually about 40-50 minutes long. A common setup is to allow 60 minutes per session: 40-45 minutes for the presentation, 10 for questions and 5-10 for a break.

You should consider a longer break for lunch in the middle of the day if the conference is going to go on for a long time. Don’t forget to allow some time at the beginning to give people a chance to work out any technology issues before the starting time.

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Feedback Forms

It’s important to gather feedback, to help you plan a better Conference next time and to help presenters improve their presentation skills. You should prepare a feedback form that has space to provide comments about each individual presentation, as well as the organization of the Conference in general.

You are welcome to use this Feedback Form, although you can feel free to use your own, or find other ways to encourage and facilitate feedback.

If you are interested in applying to run one of these conferences, you can check out the Conference Support Form.