Determine your conference objectives
Think carefully about what you want to achieve, then determine the best way to get there.
Spend time to create a clear objective of what the delegates will leave the event with – knowledge, information, contacts, promotional products, notes …
A successful conference planner allows plenty of time and breaks planning into manageable chunks.
What will the first impression of the conference be from their arrival? Do you need branded polo shirts, roller banners, printed information, name badges, lanyards, conference folders?
What do you need to run each session – notepads, pens, highlighters, sticky notes?
Will the delegates take home information – will this be printed, on a USB memory stick or a credit card drive?
Do you need to supply goody bags? Will the events’ sponsors be adding products to your goody bag? Good ideas for conference products are pen pots, mouse mats, cotton shoppers, pen set, stress balls, mugs – the possibilities are endless, check out the conference and exhibitions ideas list.
Build contingency plans into your conference planning
Always build in contingency time and budget.
Choose the right venue and invest in the relationship
The right conference venue is a powerful ally when planning your event – the first impression will be from the moment your intended delegates receive the information about where the event is to be held.
Invest in the relationship early and share your plans with your venue and ensure that they are able to support and help you facilitate all the aspects of your plans.
Choose appropriate presentation techniques
To hold delegates’ attention, building in variety is essential when planning conferences.
Everyone learns in different ways and, to ensure everyone is engaged, different styles of presentation are important.
Balance conference events with relaxation
For a one-day event or a week-long conference, delegates and presenters get more out of conferences if you build in regular relaxation.
Feed the inner conference delegate well
Conference delegates benefit from delicious food and refreshments (perhaps tailored to the special needs of international audiences).
Capture feedback and act on it
There’s always something to learn from planning a conference. Encourage feedback and use it as a learning tool for yourself.