What are the things to consider when organizing a conference?
When event organizers get overwhelmed with the process of organizing a conference, they can neglect key factors when planning. Usually, novice event organizers have a million questions in mind. Some of these may include:
- “Where do I begin?”
- “How can I find the right speakers to invite?”
- “How can I maximize the venue for the benefit of the conference?”
From determining the main purpose of the event to key responsibilities and how to effectively delegate them, here are 5 things to consider when organizing a conference.
Organizing a conference is far more expensive and laborious than you likely realize. Avoid the risks of bankruptcy by knowing the demand of the event itself. Start with low-risk efforts like hosting discussions on social media or gatherings that will help you get a sense of the demand. This should provide you with the opportunity to discuss your concept with the people you hope will register and attend the conference. Apart from that, you may obtain a larger audience before you even start promoting the event.
Understanding the purpose of your conference makes it easier for you to organize it. Getting a firm understanding of the purpose allows you to formulate your goals as specifically as possible. Do you want to share knowledge with participants? Do you intend to express gratitude to partners? Do you want to raise funds for a project or offer guests aesthetic pleasure? Once you’ve got this figured out, the rest of the planning can be smoothly executed.
The format of your conference should help you achieve the goal of the event. It must heavily depend on the following: concept, duration, role distribution, layout, as well as its catering and sound.
A novice mistake that you can make is to get stuck in traditional formats. There are many formats to conferences such as networking events, trade show events, educational events, or academic events. This mistake comes up a lot from first-time conference managers because they fail to realize that each type of event demands a different kind of format and structure.
Hybrid formats never work well, as each type inherently competes against each other. Take note, everything from break timing to program curation is affected by the type of event.
Whether your conference is funded by sponsors or not, it is your responsibility to consider the budget. One of the vital steps in budgeting is to draft your budget while considering unforeseeable situations. It is worth thinking about a contingency plan in case of an undesirable turnout of events.
For instance, let’s say that a speaker suddenly requires a certain type of equipment at the conference. The organizer is expected to immediately come up with a solution at a moment’s notice. This might require you to purchase or hire services that are outside of your budget. It is better to think about such things in advance in order to be prepared for them financially.
Delegation of responsibilities is always important. It is vital to distribute the tasks among the team members not only at the preparation stage but also during the conference. The best way to optimize this is to allocate responsibilities by area. For instance, someone should be responsible for the registration area, someone else for greeting the speakers, and different persons for the equipment, for catering, and communication with the press.
Each person needs to have an area to operate, which they should be responsible for throughout the duration of the conference. You have to be careful not to have the whole conference run on the shoulders of too few people. A way to solve this is to structure a leadership team into subject groups where one to two people can take responsibility and lead a team for each. Finally, teams should meet as necessary and the entire group should share progress together consistently.
Staging a conference is a risky business. Hence, your creditors will most likely make it clear what they expect of you. With this, you should be clear with attendees about their expectations and determine whether they are met. This information can be used in future conferences you plan to organize.
It is imperative to ask participants to complete a printed evaluation form at the end of the conference or an online form when they get home. The form may include various aspects of the event like the logistics, speakers, locations, and the service of the organizers. This should help the organizers avoid mistakes in the future and improve the quality of their events. Gathering feedback through social networks or recorded video reviews at the end of an event is most optimal.
In reality, organizing a conference can be quite a task regardless of the nature of the business and the purpose of the event. World Trade Center Metro Manila has witnessed countless successful conferences that required an immensely challenging preparation process before they came out beautifully in the end. Take note of the key things to focus on when organizing a conference to obtain the success metrics you are hoping to reach.