Organizing a conference is more than just choosing a meeting room and expecting everybody to show up. Here are 10 steps to making sure that your conference is a true success.
1: Create a Timeline
Depending on the size of your conference, you may need to start planning several months or even a year in advance. Begin by creating a timeline that outlines essential tasks, including the deadline for renting a conference room. This timeline serves as your roadmap for the event.
2: Establish Your Budget
How much money do you have for rental space, catering, technical assistance, and other essentials? Create a budget sheet that you can track, as this will play a major role in what you can and can’t do during the conference planning phase.
3: Choose Your Space
Look into conference rooms in your area to find one that suits your expected needs. When looking for a meeting room, consider not only the number of people who expect but also AV needs and other logistic essentials.
4: Sign Contracts
After you have looked over conference rooms for rent, it’s time to set your date in stone and sign a contract with the space that works for you. This may also include contracts with caterers and other service providers.
5: Open Registration
You need some way to keep track of who will attend your conference. This may be as simple as sending out RSVPs via email, but larger conferences will probably benefit from an online registration option that allows you to track more demographics about your audience.
6: Communicate with Presenters
You should keep presenters at your conference in the loop as you plan. Make sure that they know how much time they have and that you know what their technical necessities, if any, will be.
7: Set Up Technical Support
Things can go wrong even in the simplest of conference setups. Make sure that you have somebody on-site to support with technical issues as they arise. In many cases, this help may come from the group that rents you the meeting room.
8: Place Your Catering Order
When you have an idea as to how many people will attend the conference, choose a caterer and place an order. For conferences without a registration fee, you can usually estimate that about 20% of registered attendees either won’t show up or won’t eat. Always remember to account for dietary needs such as gluten intolerances or common food allergies.
9: Send Logistical Information
About a week prior to your conference, send all registered attendees information about conference room logistics. This should include Wi-Fi and parking information.
10: Keep Somebody On Site
On the day of your conference, have somebody on site to meet people as they enter and to help with setup. You should maintain excellent customer service throughout the day.
The checklist outlined above can help you through every step of planning a conference, from booking a meeting room to executing the event. These essentials will help your meeting run smoothly.