Confident Conferences: Make Yours Great

Hosting a conference can have many benefits for your business. It’s an opportunity to network, develop partnerships, raise money and can improve your reputation within your industry. 

Conferences are a large-scale event, and therefore require a lot of planning to pull off successfully. There’s a lot to learn when planning your first conference, but you’ll be able to achieve something great if you pull it off.

Take a look at some of the following tips to help you plan and host your first successful conference to help you reap the benefits for your business.

Photo by Teemu Paananen on Unsplash

Decide on a great theme

A theme will tie your conference together and give you something to work towards. It will help you plan the items on your agenda, the speakers, and the types of guests that you want to attract. Make sure your theme is relevant to your business and that you feel confident that it’s a topic that guests will be interested in hearing about.

In addition to choosing your theme, you’ll need to think about your conference’s objectives and what you’re setting out to achieve. If your aim is to connect with a certain number of people or generate new leads, then these objectives need to be agreed in advance and should inform the work that you do. Having objectives will give you some direction for your conference, as well as help you measure the success of your conference once it’s over.

Pin down the perfect venue

A good conference requires an excellent venue. You’ll need to consider various aspects when choosing a conference venue to make sure you make the right choice. Some of the things you’ll need to look at include:

Seating capacity

How many people do you expect to attend your conference? It’s not always easy to find the balance between having too little space that limits your numbers, and so much that it becomes difficult to fill. You should also look at venues that can be flexible in terms of layout that can help you use different types of seating easily.

Breakout rooms

Not all conferences stay in one room during the day. Having breakout areas can open up chances for discussion, as well as smaller sessions that can focus on more specialist topics for your delegates. While not a necessity, it’s useful to have some additional areas at your disposal to provide you with different options.

Facilities

Most conference venues should have the basic facilities you need for a successful conference. They should have Wifi access, excellent presentation facilities, printing facilities and more. When checking out venues, it’s worth asking if there’s an additional charge for using certain facilities, as this can add some unanticipated costs to your budget.

Accessibility 

Your chosen venue needs to be accessible to ensure that everyone who wants to attend your event is able to. From having hearing loop facilities to parking, it’s important that you consider accessibility when planning your conference. When asking delegates to register for your conference, make sure to ask them there and then if they have any accessibility needs that you will need to address.

Catering

Catering is another important element of a conference – people love food after all! Find out how much catering will be and what options are available, and it’s always worth trying to have a tasting session to help you decide. While it’s not the most important element of a conference, food is one of the things that will be remembered afterwards if it’s not up to scratch.

Line-up inspirational, interesting speakers

Choosing event speakers can be one of the most pressured elements of planning a conference. Your speakers should be well-known names who are experts within the industry, and should have an excellent knowledge of the topics under discussion. It’s not always easy to find speakers, but it’s worth asking members of your team for their contacts that could come in handy. With a great lineup behind you, you’ll have a conference that people will want to attend.

Promote your conference far and wide

With all of the basics in hand, you can now focus on promoting your conference to register attendees. Some of the simplest methods include using social media promotion, using tools like Eventbrite to host your registration while also promoting your event locally, and using your company newsletter. Paid-for promotion in newspapers, industry publications and through flyers and posters can also help you spread the word about your conference and encourage people to sign up.

Capture interesting content

Your conference has some excellent opportunities to capture content which can be used across your website and social media channels. It can be a way to engage with people who can’t attend your conference in person, and it gives you some fantastic promotional content that you’ll be able to use once the conference is over.

One of the simplest ways to capture content at a conference is to live stream it. You can easily live stream talks and discussions, or you can film them to edit and broadcast at a later date. You should also try to put together a highlights package from your conference that you can share with attendees and use to promote your next one.

Assign roles for the conference

The day of the conference itself can prove very stressful, which is why you need to make sure that you have enough staff working to help make everything as smooth as possible. Assigning different roles ensures everyone knows what they’re doing and where they’re supposed to be. Many people will have job roles that are different from their day to day jobs, but this can make an interesting change. You’ll need staff available for registering attendees, ensuring that items run to time, having people on hand who can direct to toilets, etc. If you can’t make up the numbers from your own teams, you might want to hire some freelance events staff to help you out.

Make your staff distinguishable so that people can identify who they are easily. Having personalised hoodies is a great idea to ensure your company’s branding is included and to make it easy to spot relevant personnel in the crowd. You might also want to consider having walkie-talkies for team members to be able to communicate easily across a crowded conference venue.

Remember to evaluate

In order to establish whether or not your event was successful, you’re going to need to carry out a thorough evaluation process. Evaluating your event should look back on your original objectives to help you see if they were achieved. From analysing the number of attendees to the discussion around the event, there are different things you can measure to see if your event was a success or not.

In addition to examining the numbers, you should ask attendees for their feedback. This can help you get more qualitative information that will help you to more informed decisions about your next one.  

Finding ways to reach new people is always a challenge for a business. But many businesses enjoy great success through conferences and events that can make them an important part of your calendar going forward. Whether you want to celebrate and explore different themes or you’re hoping to engage a whole new audience with your business, there are plenty of possible options for your conference. While you’ll want to ensure you have all of the practical elements in hand, you’ll also need to think about themes and ideas that will make your conference a success. Is a conference the right move for your business? Give it some consideration now.

Comments are closed.