Thinking about hosting a business conference? These are fantastic networking events that offer attendees the chance to grow their professional network and learn about the latest developments in their field. However, the thought of planning a conference could be enough to fill you with dread!
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you begin:
- What do you want to get out of this conference? You must have a goal in mind for the conference, otherwise, you wouldn’t be thinking about planning one! Be sure to have defined targets in mind which will help you to plan your conference with more clarity.
- Who will likely attend the conference? If you can accurately profile your audience, you will be able to make decisions to satisfy their needs and tastes. From the seminars and guest speakers to the entertainment and selection of food, you can be guided in these decisions by knowing which demographics are likely to attend.
- Can you settle on a theme for the conference? Every business needs an overarching theme that ties it all together. Usually, this might be a 2-3 word title that sums up the purpose of the event. Feel free to add a short tagline to help explain the conference in a little more detail.
If you can successfully answer these questions, you’re well on your way to producing your conference! Once you have a solid idea of the basics, it’s time to dive into some specifics.
- Create a team with four main roles. Split your team into four categories: physical planning (handling bookings and other admin), marketing (those in charge of promoting the event and selling tickets), admin (the main port of call for anyone with questions about the event), and facilitators (people willing to help physically set up the event and take care of any odd jobs that arise).
- Choose a venue in plenty of time. According to Federico Roccatagliata, you would need to book a 500+ attendee event up to a year in advance. For smaller events of fewer than 100 guests, you might be able to get away with booking a few months in advance. Be sure to factor in venue size, location, and availability of tech when choosing your spot.
- Book your speakers and plan your agenda. A conference is nothing without key speakers! Invite some of the leading names in your field and explain why it would benefit them to speak at your conference. Meanwhile, continue fine-tuning your agenda. What times would the speakers be on stage? When would lunch be served? Should the conference start early in the morning or finish late in the evening?
- Plan for video use. These days, a business conference is more than a series of lectures. Each speaker is usually assisted by graphics, videos, and other technology. You might even want to record a video of the event for later promotional use. Make sure your team grabs footage from the start, middle, and end of the event, and keep in mind to use a variety of angles and video effects such as time lapses.
Jack Vale is a writer in partnership with Tablebases.com, supplier of table base solutions for businesses.