Organising a conference from scratch is no small feat and typically takes large amounts of time, effort, planning, and funding. It can be tough to get a conference just right, as it’s often tempting to become too involved in every small detail which can cause you to lose sight of the bigger picture. You want the conference to be well-organised, informative, and memorable for those attending, and there are a number of ways that you can ensure that these aspirations are met. Here we’ll share our top three tips for pulling off a fantastic conference.
1. Have a Vision for the Conference and its Funding!
You most likely have some sort of vision in mind for your conference, as a vision tends to be what leads you to want to organise a conference in the first place! That said, be sure that your vision is structured enough to create a meaningful conference; have clear ideas and information that you want participants to take home with them. You also need to ensure that your vision for the conference is realistic and attainable in the time you have to plan it, and that includes the financial side of things.
Budget how much money you think you’ll need to run the conference and then map out a strategy for where you think you can find those funds. Will you look for sponsors? Fundraise? How much will you be able to charge as a registration fee? Will you offer any discounts to attract more registrants? You can’t run a conference on passion alone, so make sure your funding plan is rock solid.
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2. Find the Right Fit for a Venue
Once you have a vision and a budget, you’ll need to start thinking about where to hold the conference. Make sure that when you are looking for venue candidates you take into consideration added costs like catering and a sound system, as many venues require you to use their in-house services. In addition to fitting your budget, make sure that the venue fits your estimated attendance as well—you don’t want to overcrowd a small space or have the conference look empty because the venue is too large. Finally, consider what accommodation is nearby, as guests coming in from afar will likely need to spend the night.
3. On-site Details
Once you have all of the larger details taken care of, you can begin to consider the subtler details of the conference. This includes the layout of the conference, how attendees will find their way around the venue, and where booths can be set up and food will be served. Banner stands and flags are an excellent way to make it simple to navigate the venue, as they can be printed on both sides and are easily visible even from afar. Lightweight, portable banners are also a great option because they can easily be moved if the setup needs to change at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances.