Business conferences and seminars can be a great way for your organization to build your brand. Not only do you establish yourself as an authority, but it’s a great way to get your offerings in front of the right people. However, organizing these events can be a tricky task to undertake as there are many moving parts that must be addressed if things are expected to go well. From hiring a keynote speaker to getting your attendees to commit to the date, it can be quite stressful if you want your event to be successful.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you are going to create a successful event:
1. Use Your Imagination
Innovate, be creative, think differently. Since most of your listeners will have attended dozens of conferences and events by now, make yours memorable. The last thing you want to see happen is your attendees getting bored staring at their phone the entire time.
2. Inspire Interaction
Make sure that participants socialize and participate in networking, as one of the main goals is to help them interact and get to know each other. And since it is always difficult to “break the ice” and meet new people, consider hosting dynamic sessions and / or harnessing the power of “gaming” (Incorporating the mechanics of the game into a meeting or event for real pleasure can bring strength, impact and focus).
3. Hire The Perfect Speakers
Get to know your audience and tailor the event message and content to them. The people who attend your event are your customers, so you need to know them well in order to provide them with an experience that meets their expectations. Make sure that you get a great keynote speaker who can kick off the event in the right way. If you want to inspire your audience with a compelling story, then make sure you find a motivational speaker who has the experience to hold your audience’s attention. In addition, you should always schedule a question period after each presentation or session.
4. Get Help
If you have little or no experience planning events, partner with a qualified professional with a long history of success in the industry. For the money to hire a professional, there are literally thousands of tools on the web designed to help you plan every aspect of your event.
5. Set Benchmarks
Don’t just have an event for the sake of it. Establish clear goals and methods to measure success and return on investment (ROI). “One of the most critical factors in goal setting is being as specific as possible so that there is no room for misinterpretation,” says Sean Adams of Motivation Ping. “You want to make sure that your goals can be clearly understood by all those involved.”
6. Select The Appropriate Venue
When it comes to choosing a location, check their Wi-Fi network. Having Wi-Fi doesn’t mean it’s a strong and reliable network. And speaking of the Internet, if you can’t provide it for free to attendees, consider providing free basic bandwidth and, for those who need it, premium paid service.
7. Go Green
Include sustainable or CSR initiatives in the event program: despite the extra effort, you will be surprised at how important they are to a growing number of people.
8. Create A Professional Website
As soon as a firm decision is made to organize the event, ensure that an attractive and informative website about the event is launched as soon as possible (including PC, mobile and tablet versions) and put regularly updated; The Internet is the most powerful marketing tool you have.
9. Use Social Media
Harnesses the power of social media to promote the event before it takes place and to extend its lifespan afterward.
10. Create Videos
Record videos of the exhibition space, with interviews of exhibitors and visitors, which can then be posted on the official event website, as well as on their social media profile, in order to show people who could not attend what they missed.
Before The Event Checklist
Here is a simple checklist you can use to make sure you have covered the main things you will need to do:
- Determine the main objective of the event
- Identify the target audience and decide on the message to convey
- Decide who will do the planning for the event, i.e. whether it will be done internally or externally
- Preselect at least two dates for the celebration of the event
- Establish a program (preliminary agenda) for the event
- Define the promotional strategy, if applicable
- If the organization is to be external, prepare a detailed budget request
- Send an initial notice to potential participants
Here are some items you will need to address internally:
- Design a detailed program for preliminary organization, identify and assign tasks.
- Pick the space and take an inspection visit, especially if you don’t know the location and / or destination. Make sure the space has everything you need: audiovisual, Wi-Fi, auxiliary staff, catering, etc. Otherwise, make a list of things and / or people to hire.
- Negotiate rates for accommodation, auxiliary personnel, food, transportation and lodging, food, additional activities (spouse and recreation, entertainment, etc.), if applicable.
- Design, develop and launch a suitable website with a registration system and, if applicable, an application for the event. It may be necessary to hire a specialist company to perform both tasks.
- Keep the website up to date with recent content (reviews, news, videos, etc.).
Hire keynote speakers and send out press invitations
- Send a second notice to potential attendees, including detailed information about the event and, if applicable, how to register.
- Start preparing the forms, if necessary.
- Ensure the event (at least against civil liability) and contract security, if necessary.
- Prepare a plan for unforeseen situations.
- Make the final list of participants a few weeks before the event.
- Confirm all reservations and verify all details.
- Specify the registration procedure on the site, if applicable.
The 10 things not to do when organizing an event
Ten mistakes to avoid when planning, organizing and hosting an event:
- Don’t pay for internet access, parking, or lunch as these extra charges are very irritating. Participants hate having to pay separately for internet access, parking, coffee, etc., so make sure the registration fee covers everything.
- Don’t just talk about yourself and/or the beauty of your event as its success will largely depend on the delegates/assistants/guests and that is why you need to highlight it.
- Don’t go too far with the maxim “do more with less”. If there is no budget to organize a face-to-face event, organize a virtual event; it is always better than giving the wrong impression; and don’t always go for the cheapest budget to rent space or hire services. As with used cars, the cheapest is almost never the best.
- Don’t forget to let the participants know if you decide to implement sustainable initiatives; their active participation is very important.
- Don’t forget to ask the participants about their dietary needs; at major international events there will surely be vegetarians, people with dietary restrictions for religious or health reasons, etc.
- Don’t rely solely on volunteers to fill the staffing needs of your event. While they are usually very willing to assist you, you will also need a team of knowledgeable and reliable professionals.
- Don’t always choose a trendy but noisy space for your networking events; a lot of people really want to be heard above the clutter; and don’t run social programs with no options, because not everyone likes paintball or yoga.
- Don’t improvise the day of the event; hardly anyone will thank you.
- Do not overload participants with too many printed materials. In the Internet age, information on paper is already outdated and will surely end up in the trash anyway.
- Remember to follow up after the event; feedback is vital for the success of the event.
As you can see from these lists, there is a lot of things you will need to cover if you want your event to go well. The most critical factor in this process is to make sure you have a good team on your side and that you delegate well.
This content is brought to you by Sara Jane.