Pick-Up-and-Go Conference Models

Have you ever gone shopping and made a note on your phone on the way to the supermarket, writing down what you need? Did you also arrive home and realize you still forgot something?

This happened to me so many times that I changed my approach. I now keep a list of everything I could ever possibly need to buy and before I go shopping, I make a copy of it. Then I read through the copy and delete what I don’t need. Now, I never forget anything.

This is called a trigger list, and it has many advantages compared to a list created from scratch. Setup, however, requires some time. To spare you that trouble, the Conference Guidelines and Policies Project has taken care of that first step for you!

The purpose of this document is to have a trigger list available for a few simplified conference models that organizers can use for planning. Any information here is only a suggestion and can be modified as needed. For each type of conference, a number of topics and/or scenarios are suggested; these suggestions are not exhaustive, nor are they required or even recommended in some cases. When organizing any conference, discussing goals and regional needs with your RC should always be one of the first steps you take.

When starting from any of these models, keep in mind who you want to present each of these topics. Pay attention to presenter diversity and pair presenters with topics to which they relate well or in which they have particular expertise. Give new presenters a chance if they are willing and you have space for them.


L1-oriented conference – small/mini (minimum 2 to 3 sessions)

Suggested presenters – Experienced L2s should make up the majority of your presenters, but strong L1s can also be utilized, especially if they have unique insight into a needed topic.

Potential Topics

  • Understanding JAR
  • How to improve your local community
  • I got certified—now what?
  • WER: common problems and FAQs
  • Communication skills


L1-oriented seminars – small/large

This can be its own stand-alone conference with L2s and L3s in the audience providing feedback, or it can be used as a “track” in a larger conference.

Potential Topics

  • The Road to L2
  • Current projects: status and recruiting


L2-oriented conference – large

Suggested presenters – Experienced L2s and L3s should make up the majority of your presenters, but strong L1s can also be utilized, especially if they have unique insight into a needed topic. This style of conference can be used for different goals. For instance, one area may utilize this for a conference focused on soft skills, where another area may prefer to focus on hard skills more.

Potential Topics

  • IPG
    • Hidden Card Error
    • Missed Triggers
    • Tournament Errors
    • USC Infractions
    • Backups
    • Investigations
    • Recent policy updates
  • Tournament operations
    • PPTQ Logistics
    • Deck Checks
    • How to HJ Competitive REL events
    • Team Leading Day 2 at GPs
    • Teams at large events
    • Communication skills
  • Review writing
  • Certifying L1s
  • The Road to L3
  • L2 advanced roles
    • Combined or split with other topics such as Team Leading Day 2 at GPs as needed
    • L2 Tester
    • Area Captain (region-specific)
  • Current projects: status and recruiting
  • How to run a project
  • Final Session: L3 Q&A Panel


Leadership Conference – small

Suggested presenters – Since these are small, invite-only conferences, the RC should have a larger-than-normal say in choosing presenters to match topics that need to be covered.

Potential Topics

  • State of the Union
  • TO relations/issues
  • Player relations/issues
  • Current initiatives
  • New initiatives
  • Training in Leadership
  • L3 candidates

Mock Tournaments / Training Scenarios – small

Run an unsanctioned event, or a close approximation of one, and toss in planned errors and difficulties.

Suggested presenters – Experienced L2s and L3s should plan the situations and work with a TO to implement them. Strong L1s should be assigned to HJ the event for a round or two each, and they should in turn assign teams/roles to a pool of L1s. This is a particularly challenging type of conference to organize, so advanced planning and expected attendance numbers will be important when assigning judges to their roles.

Potential Topics/Issues

  • clock stops mid-round
  • DDLP
  • USC – Minor
  • cascading re-pair
  • incorrect pairings based on reporting errors
  • late enrollments
  • staff is late or missing upon return from break
  • two tournaments/rounds starting simultaneously
  • cheating accusations
  • missing space
    • table or judge area
  • power failure
  • anything else you can reasonably make happen


Recreational activities

Recreational activities not directly related to training or educating judges are often an important part of conferences, whether large or small. As a plus, practically everyone is qualified to facilitate any of these!

Potential Activities

  • Draft
  • Chaos Draft (ask participants to bring packs or organize to buy onsite)
  • Quiz time
    • Jeopardy
    • Judge Bingo
    • L3 Panel discussion
  • Board games