Running a Board Gaming Event: Remember Your Contacts

August 1, 2019

I updated one section of my “Hamacon Analog Gaming Bible” after every event: a list of people who had run something or otherwise provided content to the event. (This is the primary reason I’m writing a blog series instead of just making that document public in Google Docs.)

I am not a people person. I can handle all manner of technical details (like scheduling, teaching games, planning procedures, etc.) but as soon as I have to send an email or make a phone call I get antsy. Rest assured, I didn’t keep this contact list so I could send out an email blast as soon as I started planning.

The main purpose of your contacts list is to remember key details. Who are they? What did they do? How do you successfully get in touch with them?

The latter is extremely important. One year, I thought I’d contacted someone to run a particular game at the con, but I never got a response so I didn’t put anything on the schedule. He showed up at the convention expecting to run something. Turns out, he wasn’t the only one checking his business email (where I’d first contacted him) so he was likely to miss new messages. Facebook Messenger ended up being the best option, and I wrote that down so I didn’t forget next year.

Here’s the information I keep:

  • Both their name and their brand. Their online brand or their store is more important, but you’ll also want to remember who specifically you talked to.
  • Methods of contact. Typically this is their email address or other online profile. If there’s a method that doesn’t get checked often (as in my story above), write that down too.
  • A description of what they did each year. If you’re working with multiple people at each con, it’s easy to get this mixed up from year to year. But it’s also important to remember what they didn’t do (e.g., they were interested in promoting their group but backed out due to scheduling conflicts) or what was an issue last time (e.g., they planned to sell something, but I wasn’t aware and didn’t send them through the proper channels).

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