Conferences are opportunities for businesses to showcase themselves to attendees, as well as a venue for attendees to form partnerships with each other and strengthen existing ones. Done right, they can be a truly memorable experience for all involved.
Most people believe that the only factors needed to guarantee the success of a conference is a clear value proposition, a good venue, and a solid bank of speakers. However, expert conference organizers agree that going beyond the basics can make for an awesome event that everyone in the industry will be talking about for weeks. We’ve compiled their top tips on how to run a successful conference for you below:
Put a plan together
As with all huge undertakings, a good conference will require extensive planning, especially given how many moving parts will be involved. Ideally, you should start planning for a conference at least 6 months ahead of your target date, and up to a year if it will be a large-scale event. Regardless of the size of the event, experts recommend working with a team instead of taking the challenge on alone. You’ll have to set a budget, vet your speakers, lock down a venue, and advertise the event, among other tasks.
Work with sponsors
Sponsors and fundraisers can help offset the cost of financing a conference and keep ticket prices low for your attendees. It’s always worth a shot to reach out to viable partners that are relevant to the theme or the industry of the conference. Reach out to companies that have funded similar events before, and use your business contacts to get in touch with potential partners that can help.
Any event involving a large group of people is a security risk in and of itself. Protecting conference attendees by providing adequate security should be one of your top priorities as an organizer. Issuing proper identification with IDs or some other accessory like custom lapel pins or shirts will help you distinguish your staff from people who shouldn’t be there.
You may need to hire an external security team even if the venue you choose already has one in place. In addition to ensuring the attendees’ safety and providing crowd control, a good security firm should be able to identify and address potential risks and help you vet volunteers and staff members.
Feed the attendees
Providing food and drink for all conference attendees will obviously affect the cost, but it is an idea worth considering. Food and drinks help maximize the time that people spend at your conference and encourage socializing. Most dedicated conference venues offer catering, have a shortlist of companies they recommend, or allow you the option of bringing in external vendors. If you do choose to provide food, figure out the cost per person and the menu in advance. It’s also a good idea to make concessions for people with special dietary requirements such as vegans and vegetarians.
Utilize the power of social media
A recent study found that Filipinos spend an average of 4 hours and 12 minutes on social media. Social media is widely recognized as an effective advertising platform, and you should leverage it to your advantage. Put together dedicated Twitter and Instagram accounts as well as a Facebook page for your event and get the word out. Social media and the internet extend your event’s reach and can potentially convert your online audience into conference attendees.
There’s no “recipe” for a perfect conference, but staying organized and keeping your attendees’ needs in mind takes you halfway there. Make sure to reward yourself and your team members after the event for a job well done!