Conferences are scary things to organize. There’s a lot of advice on organizing conferences already out there on the internet, some of which will even tell you to point blank not do it. But if you’re feeling daring and want to prove that your seminar has the power to make a difference, here is how to go about organizing it in order to get the best results.
Choose your venue wisely. The location of your conference has to be somewhere appropriate. Make sure that people don’t have to travel too far to get there and that there is suitable parking. Consider which catering services you may need if there isn’t anywhere suitable for food and drink nearby. If you have a VIP attending, consider how they will access the venue and whether you will need VIP protection services to stop unwanted visitors from interrupting your conference.
It may also pay to have an area before the conference where people can wait and talk to one another. Offering coffee and snacks and some seating will put people at easy and make people feel more welcome.
Get other people to help organize. Don’t do all the organisation alone. If a friend or fellow community member or fellow catering industry can help take the load off, invest in their help. A conference is like a party with an official purpose—you have to organize the guests, the premises and the proceedings of the conference itself. If you are not the speaker yourself—find a professional in your field with a track record of public speaking. If you’re sticking to a budget—find an accountant who can help you organize it without overspending. If you delegate enough, you won’t have to stress for weeks in advance.
Shout about your special guests. Once you have secured one special guest at your conference, let all the other members you have invited know so that they will be more drawn to come along. People will come as an opportunity to network as well as listening to what you have to say, so they want to know who else is going.
Use technology. Adding technology to your conference will immediately make it more sophisticated. Your ability to keep up with technology will persuade people that you and conference topic are current. Depending on the size of your conference, you may need microphones. If someone needs to use a PowerPoint display, there will need to be a screen in the room that everyone can see. WiFi may also be needed for information/videos so make sure that there is a readily-accessible source and that it has enough bandwidth to deal with multiple people logging on.
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