When you need to get a big group of people together, you might feel like you’re about to be bombarded with one headache after another.
First and foremost, you need space to put everyone—seating and rooms that are big enough for everyone while still meeting fire code standards, not to mention the tools people need like presentation screens, microphones, or the ability to call in people from other locations. You might also need smaller, more private places for meetings.
You might also need to feed everyone depending on how long you’re keeping them in the location. You’re probably going to want coffee and other refreshments that can help people stay focused if that’s needed.
The following will explore some of the things you can do to upgrade your next conference, no matter the size of the crowd involved. Of course, every conference is going to be a little different.
If you have presentations that involve physically showing off items or technology and how they behave in specific environments, you’re also going to want to search for spaces that allow you to put what you’re presenting forward in the best lighting possible.
1. Really Think About Your Dates
When planning a conference, it is critical that you think about what days and times will work well for those in your industry as well as which days and times you can afford to have everyone not working.
It’s a good idea to keep major holidays and common vacation times in mind when planning. This will vary depending on where the majority of your employees live and cultural factors.
2. Tech Needs Come First
There’s nothing quite like a crowd of bored, sleepy people waiting for someone to get the projector working. Before you begin any part of the planning process, you need to look into the technical requirements your conference has. This might mean you need to seek out high-tech meeting rooms.
It might mean you need to ensure you have stellar wifi. If the event is going to be recorded for any reason, you also need to speak to your videographer well ahead of schedule and see what his or her needs are. Live recordings, in particular, require excellent internet service.
3. Consider Sponsorship
Depending on your conference, you might want your business to be the sole sponsor for the event. Of course, you might be looking for ways to offset costs and find yourself turning towards out-of-house sponsors. These conversations need to be had early as sponsors can often drastically alter the content and tone of your conference.
You need to ensure that you can meet both your needs and the needs of your sponsors throughout the event. Don’t make promises to sponsors you don’t know you can keep.
4. Learn From Previous Conferences
Think back to the best conferences you have attended. What sets them apart? Are there any elements you can apply to the conference you’re planning now? Likewise, think back to those conferences that felt like a drag.
Why didn’t they stick the landing? What are the things that can go wrong and ruin the whole day?
5. Understand Your Virtual Requirements
Virtual conferences exploded in 2020 and are expected to continue to grow, especially considering how much less expensive they are to host. If part of your attendants or all of them are going to be participating in the event remotely, you’ll need to structure the conference around these needs.
Look for applications and online platforms that can support the types of conversations that need to be had and do your best to be respectful of time zone differences. Always ask questions about the number of people who can be using an application at a given time and how people at home with slower internet will be experiencing the event.
6. Keep Your Aims In Mind
Like with any other aspect of business, those who keep their end goals in mind and develop a strategy around them are far more likely to hit their targets than those that go with the flow. Early on in the planning process, ask yourself why you’re holding the conference.
What needs to be understood? Is there anyone you’re trying to convince of anything? How do you want attendants to feel? Is there a message you want everyone to take home? Once you’ve figured out your aims, think about every decision in relation to them.
Each time a choice or an idea comes up, ask yourself what decision will get you closer to your aims. This is an excellent time to think about your business’s mission statement as well. You want to keep the event in line with your values, morals, ethics, and worldview.
The above tips should help you organize a conference that is effective and in alignment with your company’s values and goals. Once you have the above figured out, it becomes a lot easier to decide which speakers suit the event or what venue works for everyone.