Every year, conferences are held all around the globe for all sorts of audiences from all walks of life, hungry for new training, knowledge and networking opportunities.
But what makes for a successful conference? What must you do, as a host, to ensure your event is enjoyable, educational and memorable? As a guide, we’ve assembled the top 7 “must haves” for a successful conference. Follow these conference planning tips to the fast track toward an unforgettable event.
First Impressions Are Everything
If you’re a part of the business world, then you’ll know the old saying that “first impressions are everything.” When planning your event, this certainly rings true. Consider all the tiny details that will play a part in making or breaking the conference experience for attendees before they’ve started the first presentation.
Marketing, invites and promo videos are the first medium to interact with potential punters. Think about how these portray the upcoming event. Consider things like venue, music selection, catering – all these elements need to work together to “wow” your attendees.
Choose Your Venue Wisely
Aside from the aesthetic value of a venue, make sure that it’s perfectly suited to your event and ties in with the corporate values of those who you’re catering to. In particular, make sure you book a suitable sized venue – you don’t want guests to feel crowded, nor do you want guests to feel like the place is half-empty.
Research Your Speakers
When choosing your speakers, make sure you are well informed and know exactly what you want and what to expect from a speaker. Find out who is generating a lot of interest, popular speakers bring an audience in. Find out what the hot topics are so you can choose speakers who specialise in these areas. When choosing your speakers, check out any audio recordings or video footage of their presentations. Ultimately, if you do plenty of research to find the best possible fit, you’ll set yourself up for success with no disappointing surprises.
Plan Your Tech to a Tee
You’ll need to have all your audio, video and other technical equipment configured properly for the venue. Make sure your sound is high-quality and reaches everybody in the room, make sure any screens or monitors are visible everybody, and have some tech support staff in attendance to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Present Your Presenters
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good MC for the duration of the conference. Somebody with skill in public speaking and confidence in capturing a crowd’s attention will go a great length toward creating a positive and entertaining flow between presentations and workshops.
Diversify the Content
Keep in mind that everybody is different. Each guest will have different perspectives, different interests and different learning styles. If your talks and workshops throughout the conference are not varied in their style, presentation and content, then it may be very difficult to include and interest a wide range of personalities. Make sure you keep it fresh, with lots of different speakers and subjects on offer.
Encourage Involvement on Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool in marketing and networking. It will benefit you greatly to put it to use by encouraging lots of activity on social media throughout the conference. Encourage guests to network online with each other as new business contacts and encourage sharing of notes and information via mediums like Twitter and YouTube. All this online activity will generate wider interest in your event by taking advantage of each guest’s personal online network.
First and foremost, don’t forget to enjoy your event. When you’re relaxed, positive and showing a genuine enjoyment in being there, your attitude will radiate throughout the rest of your event, staff and guests.
Just remember to always do your research and, when in doubt, why not call a professional? There are so many event planning organisations out there with a wealth of experience to help your create an amazing event with confidence and ease.
These seven basic steps are all you need to kick-start the most successful conference of your career. So what are you waiting for? Get started!