10 Tips For Planning A Successful Conference August 19th, 2018
10 Tips For Planning A Successful Conference
1. Plan Well In Advance
Quick checklist: Try to finalise all major contracts, such as venue and vendors, a full month before the event date.
Quick checklist: What is the conference about? Who will be attending? Where is the best location to accommodate the attendees? When is an opportune date to schedule the conference?
3. Budget Knows Best
Quick checklist: Consider what’s required to make your conference a success. Will there be guest speakers? Will there be entertainment? Will you need catering? Set aside budgeted amounts for each of these considerations.
3. Location, Location, Location
Quick checklist: Consider your audio-visual needs (including power sources and their locations), transit requirements (do you need to be near an airport?), parking necessities and lodging needs for overnighting attandees. Then make sure that your venue supports all of the above. (And yes, The Maslow does.)
4. Negotiate With Vendors
Quick checklist: Before a conversation with a vendor, make a list of everything you need from them, determine your budget and then give them a number that is 5 - 10% lower. There are always hidden costs (post-event taxes, service fees, etc), so allow for some leeway. Go through the proposal with a fine-tooth comb and tell them which sections of the estimate are too high.
5. Choose Your Guest Speakers
Find speakers and presenters that are exciting, innovative, knowledgeable, and pertinent to the expectations of your guests.
Quick checklist: Provide ample details to the speaker so that they can customise remarks to your audience and make sure you are on top of their travel arrangements and other needs.
6. Get Support
A good project needs great staff.
Quick checklist: Delegate. Assign portions of the event (set-up, registration, catering) to each team member and be sure to follow up accordingly.
7. Set The Agenda
Draft a detailed timeline for your conference that starts early (08h00) and ends within a reasonable timeframe (16h00). Schedule a mix of formal speakers, small group and free networking time. Plan to feed your participants every few hours with a full meal and snacks.
Quick checklist: After the day’s agenda is complete, consider hosting a dinner at a nearby restaurant or provide for local entertainment, such as a city sightseeing tour.
8. Managing Attendees
Establish a workable registration system for attendees. Use a web-based ticket company for online registration to ensure the process on the day runs smoothly. Consider whether you’ll be handing out conference packages to attendees on arrival and whether these require added items like company swag.
Quick checklist: Pay attention to the details. If you’re handing out lanyards with nametags, ensure that the tags are neatly printed, have all the sponsor logos required, and that all names are spelled correctly.
9. On-Site Details
Do site inspections and a detailed walk-through of your event from start to finish. Consider details such as how people will find their way to your conference and how you’ll be distributing food and drinks. Be as critical as possible during the walk-through in order to anticipate or solve any issues before they escalate. Quick checklist: Review everything that you have in place and double-check your plan B.
10. Create An Event Bible
Quick checklist: Your Event Bible should include all your vendor contracts and contact details, extra copies of the floor plan and cheat sheets of information for easy reference.