A conference is organized to bring together people of similar interests and exchange ideas. The conference can be of the businesses of the same industries, religious conference or something like comic con. Now organizing a conference is no child’s game, it needs proper planning and execution.
Here’s a checklist for anyone who plans to organize a conference and wants to deliver a well-experienced conference for the attendees. If you are looking for a guide that helps you through the process, here’s all that you need.
Checklist To Help You In Organizing A Conference:
1. Pre-plan To Execute Well
The planning of the conference should start way before the conference. Depending upon the size of the conference, generally the conference planning should start before 6-8 months minimum.
The conference needs to be planned this early as the majority of big event halls, caterers need to be reserved way before as they are pre-booked many times, or the attendees that will attend the conference out of the town will also need to know beforehand so that they can book the tickets and plan other stuff.
2. Form A Committee For Better Decision Making
This committee shall take all the decisions regarding the conference, more people means you have more than one perspective relating to different things surrounding the conference. Organizing a conference is a difficult task and you need your A-Team on such task.
The committee can be further divided into teams for delegating the responsibilities being as follows:
And any other team you would deem appropriate. You need to delegate the work to this team and set priorities along with regulating the work.
3. Decide The Budget
Without budget nothing can work, you need to establish beforehand how much you will spend and on what things such money will be allocated.
Typically you will be needing money for the following needs:
- The Speaker(s)
- Other Activities
- Team members
You need to instruct your subordinates to work according to the budget. You can always find ways to save money but not at the expense of the experience that you were planning to provide to the attendees. Look for sponsorships as an option to organize a conference. If you are looking for external sources of funding, sponsors are your way to go.
You need to keep in mind that the sponsors should be related to the theme of the conference, you wouldn’t want Coca Cola to be your sponsor if you are organizing a medical conference.
Do not let the sponsors take over your event because the main motive of the conference is to have a positive impact on the attendees. The sponsors can showcase their services and products but they should not be allowed to run the conference as it would be blasphemous for the customers to keep listening to the sponsors even after paying for the ticket.
4. Select The Date And Place Of The Conference
The date should be carefully selected according to your industry norms. You should not clash your dates with events or conferences that are a part of your industry. It will only affect your conference as your audience might just get divided. You should arrange a date which doesn’t fall on big festive days. The Flight/Train costs will also increase during holidays, or even during the summer holidays. Considering all such factors, you should choose a date that looks feasible for your conference.
The length of the conference should be according to the number of people expected and the topics you are planning to cover. Don’t rush the speakers to round up there speaking due to shortage of time, pre-plan the duration you will allot to each speaker and convey that to your speakers so that on an actual day no confusion or issues come up.
The conference should be at a venue that has easy access to the airport, hotels and a decent venue option. The venue must have standard speakers(Audio system) and lighting, these two things are overlooked but surely are much required to deliver an excellent experience at a conference.
The venue you decide should not be too small where you have to squeeze all the people and not too big that it looks empty and which shall cost you more, the venue should be selected on the basis of the anticipated number of people.
5. Select Theme Of The Conference
The theme should be something that will bring people to the conference, something that they will sit and listen to being talked about. You should know your targeted audience, your purpose for organizing the conference i.e what do you want to convey to the people.
The theme should be relatable according to the scale of people you’re going to target. The name should be enticing enough, enabling easy branding, marketing on various levels. Also, the name should be interesting enough even for a hashtag.
6. Catering Or Vendors – Don’t Let Them Stay Hungry
If you have a conference for the whole day or multiple days it is suggested that you provide inhouse catering. Typically an hour is given as a break for lunch and 20-30 minutes break for refreshments in the morning and evening. Good food at the conference venue will keep the people happy.
Normally people who will be attending the conference outside of the town would not be knowing what is available to eat at what place in that area. They would be expecting food services at the venue itself. You can provide the food yourself or if the budget doesn’t allow you to do so, you can have external vendors at the conference.
7. Who Will Be The Speakers And Agenda
This should be given utmost importance as the entire event will be based on the speakers. They are at the centre of the conference you are organizing. The best way to go is to hire a well-established speaker of the theme you have decided. This will automatically increase the credibility of your conference.
The reason people will attend the conference will be because of the agenda on the list and the speakers. The budget should be sufficiently allocated for compensating the speakers. Well experienced and well-known authors or speakers should be called upon. Bare in mind if you have a larger budget, you can invite speakers from overseas, but you’d need to pay their airfare and they might as well charge higher fees. So decide about the speaker according to your needs and budget.
You need to pre-plan what activity will be done at what time, i.e the agenda of the conference. WHAT shall be done, WHEN, by WHOM, and HOW much time shall be allocated to it. Remember conference is not just about attendees listening to the speaker, it is a whole experience shared by both of the parties. So, there should be different sessions like Q&A, workshops and others as the theme suggests.
8. Pricing model – Tickets
Tickets will automatically mean RSVP for most of the people, as to why would someone purchase tickets to your conference if they don’t intend to attend your conference. This will also ensure that you at least have break-even regarding the cost of the conference with the successful and delightful experience of people.
The cost of the tickets can be also multiple depending upon the different perks coming with them, like lunch included with the ticket, or breakfast or anything like that.
For offline ticketing you can have people collect their respective tickets from your office, you can provide telephonic booking, and make your people collect the money and provide tickets to them at their convenience. But in a digital world like ours, we suggest you go for online ticketing options.
You can create your own website for the conference and provide a secured payment gateway. A platform that can constantly keep tab of all the things related to booking. But the question here is, do you really want to get your hands on such tedious things? Why would you, when you can easily sell event tickets online on AllEvents.in
With the ease of creating events online, no per ticket charges and a global reach of 6M event seekers per month; it is a great choice for anyone who is seeking for a platform to create events online.
9. Marketing And Promoting the Conference
How will people attend your conference if they don’t know about the conference? MARKETING. The most obvious and a needed way to spread the word about your event. You can update every social media profile of your company about the conference. Publish a newsletter but please don’t be spammy, nobody likes spammers. If you have sponsors then tell them to update their social media pages too. The speakers will also update there profiles and blogs.
You can create dedicated or niche hashtags for your conference, by which everyone will be able to follow the happening of the event. It might as well help to get people come next year if your conference is an annual affair.
You can run paid ads online or traditional ads locally so that people will become aware of the conference. Just put it out there in all the ways possible to create all the buzz!
Other Things To Keep In Mind Before Organizing A Conference
1. Jam Pack Schedule Is A No-No:
Do not make a jam-packed schedule, let the attendees take a breath during the conference, sure you would want them to fully utilize the time they are there but overburdening them would not be good for them as well as you.
2. Parking Service:
Parking, a service which may not seem important but in reality actually may create hurdle in the experience of the attendees. If they have issues at the parking like not finding any parking space or very unorganized parking they will start the conference with a bad experience. To solve that you can provide proper parking space with valet service, it will enhance the encounter of the conference.
Acknowledge and thank every volunteer who helped you in the task of organizing conferences, as everyone loves being acknowledged and will be ready to help you in the future as well.
Hope this gives you guidance for organizing a conference and you have a very successful and happening conference.