Pulling off a successful business conference isn’t an easy task. There’s a lot of planning and preparation that goes into organizing this type of event.
Start gathering your planning team and ideas as early as possible, so you don’t feel rushed to get it all done. Define the purpose of the conference right away so that you understand what you want your attendees to get out of the meeting. Find ways to manage your stress so that you can lead your team appropriately and have a smooth and pleasant time getting all the details in order.
Your first step to hosting a successful business conference is to get organized and layout all the logistics that you’ll need to figure out and address. You’re going to want to have a good idea of attendance numbers, set a budget, and pick a prime location for your event, for starters. Designate a planning team and who’s in charge of what so that you’re not overlapping duties. Also, come up with a project timeline and deadlines for when to complete each task so you can stay on track and avoid making some of the most common event planning mistakes. Hold regular meetings so that you can come together as a team and discuss the progress you’re making and any roadblocks or delays that are unfolding. The more organized you are, the less of a chance there will be for any surprises to arise and stand in your way.
Set the Agenda
Next, you’ll want to determine the format of your conference and what each day is going to look like. You can host a successful business conference by designing an agenda that will excite and enlighten your audience. Consider how many large group general sessions you want to have and how many breakouts you’ll need and what topics to cover. Hashing out these logistics will help you to know how many speakers you’ll need to recruit. You’ll also be able to provide these vital details during registration so your participants can think about which classes they want to attend when signing up. Include evening activities and entertainment for your attendees so everyone can network and enjoy themselves.
Send out the Invitation
Once you’ve confirmed the dates, location, and set an agenda, then you can get ready to send out the invitation. Include details about booking their travel as well, so they know where to stay and can secure a flight if need be. Have registration set up so you can get a better idea of how many people are interested in attending your event. You have a better chance of having a good turnout if you notify your guests about the conference early enough so they can plan their schedules around your event. You may even want to strongly consider sending out a save-the-date message before the final invitation if you plan right and have enough time.
Order Necessary Supplies & Materials
You’re going to need to make sure you have the right supplies and materials at your conference. Make a list of what items you’ll need to order and when you’ll need them by so that you can ensure they arrive on time. For instance, you’ll need to print handouts for the sessions and order marketing materials to brand the event. There are many suitable options when it comes to signage and promotional supplies. Go online and check them out so you can secure your items today and be ready to set up for your conference. Build relationships with outside vendors, so you know who to get in contact with quickly if you have any last-minute ordering needs.
Perform A Walkthrough at the Location
It’s in your best interest to travel to your event venue and see it for yourself before the live conference kicks off. Visiting the location will allow you to get a better idea of what the event space looks like and how your event will flow. You may make tweaks and changes based on what you see and experience during your walkthrough. Get to know the staff and meet with the point of contact who you’ll be working with during the actual business conference. Come prepared to ask questions and clear up any planning logistics that are on your mind. Take a look at all the meeting rooms and come up with the best seating arrangement based on your current registration numbers.
Finalize the Menu & Break Foods
One of the most important aspects of any business conference or event is food choices. Your guests will remember what they ate and if the meals were noteworthy or not. Although the main focus of your meeting is the educational aspect, participants are going to be judging and evaluating the food and overall experience as well. Be sure to have enough options based on dietary needs and to include healthy choices for those who are conscious about their diet. You can host a successful business conference by having plenty of food to go around and not skimping in this area. Your breaks are the perfect opportunity to get creative and have different themes for different times of the day. Work with your caterer to come up with unique and fun ideas that will get your attendees talking and raving about the menus.
Determine On-Site Responsibilities
After all the planning you put in, you want to ensure that your live event goes off without any glitches. Therefore, think ahead and determine and delegate on-site responsibilities so that each person involved knows their role. Your business conference will be more successful when your planning team knows what’s going on at all times and can take care of any issues that arise quickly. Remember that all you can do is prepare but that some instances are out of your control. Train your staff to stay calm in all situations and to ask for help if they need assistance problem-solving on-site. Make sure your speakers know where to be when and have backup ideas in mind should anyone cancel at the last minute.