Organising a conference is a very serious task. I’m not going to lie to you – it’s hard, but if you are up for a challenge, it is also satisfying when done successfully. Before you begin, ask yourself: Am I really fit for this job and do I really want to do it? If your answer is a double yes, then you can start planning your first conference.
1. Seek Professional Help
If this is not your first time organizing such an event, fine. However, if this is your debut, you should seriously consider hiring a professional to help you get going. The biggest problem you will have in the beginning is key information and contacts. A professional will be there to jump in when you need a quick fix of practically anything conference related. Moreover, this person will make sure that you don’t omit any important detail.
2. Choose a Venue
One of the first things you need to do is find a perfect place for this conference to happen. At this point, you need to at least have a sketch of what everything should look like. Only then can you choose the right space for a conference. Perhaps the best option for this is a corporate function venue which will precisely define your event the way it should.
3. Pay Attention to Details
This is a tricky one – Is it even possible to remember all the important details and not mess up anything? Probably not, but this is a joint task for you and the professional you hired. What you can do is think about every single conference you’ve ever attended and what was wrong with them. Think about all the tiny annoying things you didn’t like, because this is exactly what your guests will be doing at your conference. Sure, you can’t cover everything, but the more details you pay attention to, the more impressed your guests will be.
4. Assign Teams
One of the crucial parts of this whole process is surrounding yourself with capable and smart people. It’s a good idea to assign teams at the very beginning of the conference. Each team should have one area of expertise and a team leader. This will be a huge help for you since you will know who to turn to in case of potential problems or questions during the conference.
5. Feed Your Guests
Do not forget the food. It is a conference, but it lasts long and you need to have some snacks, at least, in order to survive and be productive. Hiring a caterer would be best in this case, since you will probably go with a buffet containing all sorts of snacks, pastries etc. It is very practical and might be a bit pricy as well. However, a caterer will save you a lot of time and effort, so I advise you to go with it regardless of the cost.
6. Cancellation Policy
This is also a significant and often neglected part of organizing a conference. Since these events are planned much earlier, there is a high chance that a considerable number of people will want to return their tickets. I would advise you not to offer refunds. Around 80% of cancellations happen very soon before the event. In this case, you are left without the money and you already provided food, drinks, materials etc. for this participant. Pure loss. Instead, you can have a policy that allows people to find an understudy or resell the ticket. Think of it as compromise.
7. Get Feedback
After everything is planned and you finally have your conference, make sure to give evaluation sheets to your guests. Feedback is extremely important here. I would also make them anonymous, which will allow people to be more honest, and will enable you to see your conference from all possible angles and perspectives.
Before you do anything, create a plan of how everything should look: define your budget, estimate the number of guests and list all the activities. I would also create teams right away. After that, just follow this list and I’m sure you will have a good quality conference.