Whether you have been organizing conferences for many years or whether it is your first time organizing a conference, you want your conference to be an enormous success. There are some key parts in a conference that can make or break the success of a conference. In this article, we will have a look at some tips for hosting your most successful conference ever.
As in most things in live, first impressions are extremely valuable. Post friendly and well informed staff members at all the entrances of the conference venue to greet the delegates. These greeters will also be able to give delegates directions to the registration desk and answer any other questions that the delegates may have.
Conference Registration Desk
Make sure that the registration desk is organized and efficient as this will ensure that delegates have a positive feeling towards the rest of the conference. To ensure that delegates can be efficiently attended to, it is a good idea to organize the registration material alphabetically before the delegates start arriving for the conference. There should be at all times a sufficient number of staff at the registration table.
Variety in the Schedule
The conference schedule should include enough variety to cater to the needs of all delegates. Not everybody wants to sit and listen to speakers the whole day. Make provision for networking sessions, workshops, lessons and breakout sessions in your conference schedule.
The main conference room or larger breakaway rooms should have ushers assigned to them. These ushers should show delegates to their seats and make sure that all the seats are filled. Ushers help avoid situations where registered members do not have seats in the conference room.
For many conference goers, the networking opportunities at a conference is immensely valuable. Include enough dedicated networking events in the conference schedule to ensure that there is ample opportunity for delegates to make new connections. Meals and breaks between sessions are good opportunities to provide time for networking.
Element of Surprise
Delegates will have a rough idea about what to expect during the conference. Make your conference memorable by adding some unexpected elements to the conference experience. This can be in the form of unexpected gifts and snacks or even a guest appearance by a celebrity.
The speakers at your conference should not all be celebrities but should include speakers who are experts in a field relating to the theme of the conference. People attending conferences are looking for lessons which can be practically applied and not just theoretical in nature. Whether the speakers are industry heavyweights or not it is crucial that they are able to inspire, educate and motivate people.
Post Staff All Around the Conference Venue
It is essential to have friendly staff members posted all around the conference venue to answer questions and give advice on which sessions to attend. These staff members should be easily identifiable through t-shirts, caps or other branded items.
Sit Down Areas
Place lounge furniture throughout the conference venue for people to sit down between sessions. Delegates can use these areas to check their emails, have conversations, make new connections and do new business.
If you plan to give out promotional objects make sure these are objects that can be used at the conference. Things such as notepads, USB drives and mobile charges are good ideas for promotional objects at conferences.
Visuals and Music
Visuals, graphics and music can enhance the conference experience in a major way. These elements not only spark interest and create excitement but can also provide useful information to conference delegates. If possible use digital signs as they can be changed throughout the day.
Scheduling Conference Sessions
Schedule sessions in such a manner that lessons learned in earlier conference sessions can be applied to sessions and workshops later in the day. Sessions should start strategically, becoming more tactical towards the end of the conference when the implantation of the theory should be explained.
These are some tips we could think of for hosting a successful conference, can you think of some more to add?