If you’re planning a conference, you’ll know just how important it is to get everything just right and to create a professional event that runs year after year. If you want to attract industry leaders and really make a name for your event, you’ll need to know a few crucial tips.
What makes a good conference?
There is not one, but 7 keys to conference success. Simply get the following right and you should have something really solid to build on next year:
1. An accessible, central location. The easier you make it for as many people as possible to attend your conference, the more will come – it’s as simple as that.
2. Clear signposting and scheduling. It’s very important that everyone know what’s going on at any one time and how to find the seminars and sessions they want to attend. Make your event easy to understand and easy to navigate – you can do this by planning the space properly (i.e. dividing your conference tent into zones), providing clear scheduled and highly visible signposting.
3. The latest technology. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, your conference needs to be ahead of the game and this means using the very latest technology. Do some research and perhaps bring in an expert to help you integrate technology into your conference – this will definitely get it talked about, if nothing else.
4. A great theme or unusual venue. Standing out in a crowded conference market can be tough, especially if you’re aiming at a very competitive industry. If you want the elite of business leaders to choose your event, you need to give them something a bit different. Choose an unusual venue like an event tent, or go for an attention-grabbing ‘zeitgeisty’ theme (but don’t go too wild or you’ll lose the sense of professionalism you’re aiming at).
5. Attract the best speakers. Whatever you need to do to get the crème de la crème of guest speakers at your event, do it. Even just a short lecture from an industry leader or respected expert will do wonders when it comes to filling up your guest list, and it will help you publicise your event.
6. Dedicate time and space to networking. This is one of the main reasons why people go to conferences – so that they can make valuable business contacts within their industry. You need to dedicate a specific zone to networking (this is a lot easier when you have a modular space such as a TriSpan event tent with its three defined sections) and encourage it throughout the conference. Leave enough free time within the event for networking – don’t fill your schedule with wall-to-wall seminars and speakers.
7. Make your conference interactive. No one will be engaged if they are sat listening to someone else for the entire event – you need to encourage debate, discussion, interaction and contribution. Have these aims in mind when planning every part of your event, as people who feel valued and stimulated are always likely to return to your conference again next year.