Whether it’s your first time or you’ve done it before, organizing a conference can be overwhelming.
You need to advertise the conference, ensure all the scheduling and registration details are in place, reserve a venue, decorate the venue with your branded banners, printed pamphlets and programs, coordinate times for speeches and seminars, order catering, and more. The list of tasks can seem endless.
However, organizing a conference is not an impossible task, and with the right organizational tools, it can actually be very easy to accomplish. You just need to walk into your conference with a few tips and tricks to make it a fun, engaging, and informative event that people will be glad that they did not miss.
1. Opening, Middle, and End
Even with an exciting topic, conferences can risk losing the interest of the participants and attendees. To ensure a truly successful conference, the trick is making sure that participants stay engaged.
In order for people to stay engaged and remember the important information that was presented, you need to make sure that there are exciting jump-outs within the conference that grab the attention of your audience. These standout, attention-grabbing moments are the most important at the beginning, middle, and end of your conference.
In the beginning, a fun and exciting hook will catch the attention of your audience. This can be anything from an opening night reception, inviting a guest speaker who is well known in the industry, or kicking off the event with a raffle.
In the middle, you want the keynote speaker, a catered or served dinner reception, or some other event that demonstrates the core idea behind the conference.
Finally, at the end, a big finish can help to make the event memorable, and it is a great way to say thank you to your audience for staying with you until the end.
2. Use Technology
When it comes to planning the perfect conference, it can be difficult to know where to start. Keeping people engaged and entertained is important, but the content is the reason for the conference. One of the best ways to get started is by realizing that you do not have to try to do everything entirely on your own. There is truly an app for everything today.
This does not stop when it comes to making conferences and other events more enjoyable. There is an app perfect for events out there that will make planning and hosting an excellent conference far easier for you. Do not shy away from using the advantages that tech can provide.
These various technologies are great for keeping people entertained and engaged for long periods of time. You can use an app for anything from setting up quick and easy mobile registration and check in, to sharing important information like venue maps and transportation, social media sharing, in-app advertising, building networking opportunities and more.
3. Start Small, Think Big
Even if you’ve never organized a conference before, there is a likelihood you at least have attended one. When planning a conference, you want to think back to those conferences and remember the little details. This will help you during the planning, when you want to start with those small details and use them to build up to the major event.
Whether it’s remembering to reserve a podium for a keynote speaker, ensuring you have all the audio-visual tech in place for presentations, or making space in the budget for conference swag with your brand and logo on it, the little details will make for the success of the big event.
4. Get Sponsored—Or Budget Wisely
Any conference organizer will tell you the same thing: conferences cost money. And chances are, your hosting organization doesn’t want to spend any more than is necessary. That’s why for a truly successful conference, it’s necessary to get sponsored or budget wisely.
Sponsors can be related to the theme of your conference, or they can simply be companies and organizations that want to be able to advertise with your event. If you’ve got a significantly large attendee list though, you’ve also got some clout. Approach various sponsors, tell them how many attendees are registered to attend, and see where you can get some serious financial backing.
If sponsorship is not available, you can still budget in a way that won’t force you to go cheap on the conference itself. Instead, make cuts where you can, whether it’s asking for volunteers to help out at the registration table, or opting for a self-serve buffet rather than a served reception.
Remember, too, to keep your budget in mind when setting the prices for the registration fee. The fee should be high enough to help alleviate some of the costs of the conference, but not too high to discourage people from attending. Check out other similar conferences for registration pricing to get a better idea of what works in your industry.
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