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Planning a Conference

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As with any large scale event, planning a conference can be a challenging and time consuming task. It is important that the conference runs smoothly and professionally to help generate business leads or relationships. To run the most successful event, you require the help of not just one individual, but a team of individuals working together in co-operation.





As with any large scale event, planning a conference can be a challenging and time consuming task. It is important that the conference runs smoothly and professionally to help generate business leads or relationships. To run the most successful event, you require the help of not just one individual, but a team of individuals working together in co-operation.

To commence initial planning, it is vital to call a meeting of those who are going to be involved in the planning and organisation of the conference. At this early stage, take time to assign roles and responsibilities, outlining timescales and projected results. The workload should be distributed evenly across the event team, to ensure the most effective event co-ordination and to avoid any strife.

Within initial meetings, it is important to consider who the conference is targeting - will it be aimed primarily at training a variety of professionals or a specific business audience? Conference materials and speakers should be aimed at the relevant level, for example, a wide audience may not have sufficient knowledge or willpower to sit through highly technical lectures.

Set out a budget before booking venues and speakers. This will ensure that you don't go over-budget and only look at options that are affordable, as well as only inviting the amount of delegates that you can cater to. At the outset, agree on possible dates for the conference - try to avoid major sporting events, as some people may begrudge missing out on the FA cup final to attend your event.

Booking a venue early and shopping around for deals can prove prudent. The most successful locations for conferences include conference hotels, as delegates can stay in the comfort of a hotel room if they have travelled a long distance. Other locations include specialist conference facilities, or for something a little more individual - converted barns or country houses. Whatever location takes your fancy, ensure that it is large enough for invited delegates, no-one wants to feel like a sardine... It is worth obtaining quotes from a variety of locations, to make sure that you are getting the best possible price.

Of utmost importance when planning a conference is the catering. People enjoy good food, no more so than a business audience. To ensure the best networking, luxury finger food and buffet style facilities work best - sit down meals rarely encourage conversation. If your conference is in a hotel, then the venue itself should be able to provide catering, at a competitive price. Otherwise, as with the venue, it is prudent to gather a variety of quotes and catering menus to compare quality.

Once invitations have been sent out and speakers have been agreed, don't forget about conference packs. Delegates will appreciate a pack containing contact details, branded merchandise, reading material about the event and a wallet to place business cards in. Such finer details mean that delegates have increased networking opportunities and can contact your business after the event to arrange a meeting or order a product/service.

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