Top tips on how to plan a successful conference

If you have not had to do this before, you may find it quite daunting but if you plan ahead and seek some advice, it can be a very straightforward process.

First, establish the size of event you need to plan and look for an appropriate venue. If you know how many guests you are expecting, you can plan everything around this and ensure a comfortable and productive environment. There are agencies to help with this and they will know which venues in your chosen area work best for the event you are planning.

Determine the message you wish to deliver. It is really important to know what you are trying to achieve in the conference. It might seem obvious but there have been many events where the messages have been mixed and the delegates have left no really knowing what they had learned! Who will deliver the messages? Keynote speakers are a very important element of any conference, whether they are a member of your organisation, or an invited guest speaker. There will be various elements of the day, from the introduction, through the key messages to the summary and closing remarks. Get those lined up and you’re well on your way.

Ensure the speakers know what is expected of them. Again, it might seem obvious but if you give each speaker an exact brief, they will know what is expected, how long they are expected to speak and their role within the process of delivering your conference message. Make sure you have the right equipment in place. This is where we recommend the services of a professional conference production company. Choose one that is friendly and takes the time to understand your requirements. They should recommend the correct level of equipment, including screens, projectors, microphones and PA systems etc. All should be appropriate for the venue and sufficient to deliver your message clearly to everyone in the room.

Try not to leave anything to the last minute! It’s so easy to put things off and think that you’ll get round to it later. Prior preparation and planning is vitally important when it comes to planning a conference. If you think you have thought of everything, you probably haven’t! However, the more you have prepared and ticked off your list, the more headspace you will have to deal with those last minute issues on the day of the event.

Relax and enjoy the plaudits! Lean on your conference production guys – by the time the event starts, you should know them quite well and know that you can trust them to work closely with you to ensure it all happens when you expect it to. A really good AV team will plan and anticipate any issues before they arise and produce a smooth and effective event. It was all your work, of course, so enjoy the compliments and look forward to the next one!

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