Nothing compares to a good conference : the atmosphere of being immersed in a crowd of people who share the same passion as you, the lessons you learn and advice you take in, and the friends you get to meet and the new ones you make. You leave a good conference re-energized — full of zeal for your job and bursting with fresh ideas. But you must be well prepared before execution of such a great event i.e planning it well. “If you are going to run a conference, then you will need to be prepared for many late nights, big money worries, a roller coaster of emotions and a prolonged period when your loved ones, social life and free time take a back seat”. There’s no escaping that. R… U… READY!!!
Here are some tips that would help you to arrange a hot conference.
One should always posses a clear idea about the type, motive, goal of the conference before setting up. Then it comes to the formation of an organising committee that should handle all the important tasks, such as arranging the names of the speakers, agenda of the meeting by designing appropriate brochures (solving travelling issues by providing necessary roadmaps), or collaterals. It will give a good impression to your customers about the conference being organised, and will make them feel important.
Selection of a “Perfect Venue”
“The hardest decision of the conference organising has been completed soon as a suitable venue has been selected”.
The conference venue should be selected based on its location, services and reputation. It is important that it should be organised in a well-known and centralised location. Many multi star hotels have conference halls of different seating capacities, and convenient parking options. All metropolitan cities have reputed business centres with well-built conference halls. The conference hall that you choose should be well equipped with good acoustic, multi-media systems and with alternate power supply. The ambience and the interior of the conference venue should be good. Your clients should feel comfortable in the environment. Well ventilated, and air conditioned conference venues shall add to the comfort and ease of your client.
It’s a Numbers Game
You may have an idea of how many guests will turn up, but do you really know how big your venue needs to be? 50 people sitting theatre style needs a very different space to 50 people sitting cabaret style. You don’t want your 10th table out in the corridor!
Here are the two of the most popular sitting arrangements:
- Theatre Style– useful for briefing a large group, initiate a policy or build morale and writing by attendees is not required to take place
- Banquet Style – A large conference can be arranged in smaller groups seated around rectangular or round tables, where workshop activities can be performed through the conference. The banquet style also encourages attendees to network with their immediate group at the conference. It is pleasurable for the attendees nowadays.
On the other hand if the conference is residential, the venue should address the following items
- Whether the accommodation will be required close to the conference facilities?
- How are the attendees to be roomed eg: in pairs, triples, quads or dormitory styles?
The actual content & structure of the conference will always be very specific to you and your guests, but make sure you’ve got a clear timetable and agenda for everyone, especially the staff working at the venue. They’ll need to know the break times as much as your guests do. So do prepare a informative brochure and keep in mind to get it distributed to each and every soul involved in the event. Moreover if it’s on luring, then travel grants are the best options to grab audience from all over the globe.
Promote the Conference
Now-a-days it’s the world of social media. Where can it be better promoted than creating its own website and sending adds in facebook and converting links to whatsaap, hike, twitter etc. Promotion through facebook is a great method to grab the desired audience. Still invitations through e-mails may be required to be sent out to presenters or facilitators and the intended audience of the conference. Banners, especially in the busiest hub of the city and in the nearby-go would keep it afresh within the public. Posters on noticeboards and flexes around the workplace are also a useful easy way of promotion.
Like it or not, one of the most talked about things on the agenda for a conference will be the food and refreshments, but you really can make a huge difference with catering. Formal meals can be good networking breaks, while a quick finger buffet can keep people going through a creative workshop session. Most importantly make sure it’s tasty (why not ask the venue to let you try some before booking?). Entertaining and hosting the guests with good food, and drink is also important. Customers feel valued if they are given a hospitable experience, and a break during a conference makes them fresh. It is not necessary to spend huge amounts to entertain them.
Networking is key
Second only to the food, it’s likely your guests will hope to take away a few new contacts from the day, and this should always be on a conference planner’s to-do list. Table plans, name-badges, ice-breakers and good hosting skills will keep conversations and business cards flowing. One should always seek for providing the best possible comfort zone to its audience. This would let them feel comfortable to chat with the co-audience and would surely promote networking.
There’s nothing worse than a dreary over-travelled speaker yawning your guests to sleep with a lazy presentation before lunch, so why not book them a room the night before in a nearby hotel. A quick espresso at their bedside first thing, and they’ll have your guests awake too in no time. Rest is on your part of hiring a professional anchor who can smoothly fill the conversation gaps, gear up the lagging sessions with cool talks and ride the conference with full of energy. Cracking jokes, giving examples of current affairs while hosting and having interactive sessions are few keynote points to ponder for keeping the audience alive and involved during the conference.
Keeping it fresh
The day isn’t over when it ends, and the true results of a conference are in the follow up activities to see how engaged people really were. A fresh inspiring ending note is always acknowledged. Team meetings after the conference help to strengthen the weakness of the former conference. Always thank people for coming, review what happened, and share the progress that’s been made. Don’t forget to invite them to the next one too!!!