Keys to organising a successful conference (PART 2)

Last month we started looking at the “keys to organising a successful conference” (check out Part 1 here).
We looked at setting up a strategic plan for the conference with starting as early as possible by engaging a Professional Conference Organiser (PCO), building a strong committee and getting your financials sorted by setting up a budget (which your PCO will take care of, once you have made your selection).
This month we are looking a bit further into organising process and would like to also mention following:

  1. Select a conference theme
    Conferences are designed to attract attendees in order to share a particular message or information about a designated industry. Sharing new industry trends, updating and learning as well as networking occurs at well organised conferences. PCO’s make sure that logistics are attended to, but the first step is to develop a theme that helps to deliver the overall message memorably to attendees. It’s important to think about the overall intent on why your delegates are attending this event and what you want them to take away from it.
  2. Choosing a venue
    Choosing the right venue for your conference is absolutely crucial. How many delegates you are expecting, concurrent sessions run, exhibition size, catering requirements etc will determine what venue is right for your event. The local convention bureau is always a great place to find some help in assisting finding the right venue if no PCO has been appointed yet. Not only look at the venue itself, but also make sure that the location of the venue is suitable for your event. Having close by accommodation options, public transport, parking, things to do nearby for national/international delegates are some of many things to consider.
  3. Promotion
    Having a good promotional plan in place is necessary for running a successful conference. I’m not only talking about attracting delegates to the conference but also making sure the website is up to date with current information and having information released in a timely manner.
  4. Conference Program/ Keynote speakers
    Not only having the right keynote speakers matching your conference theme but also announcing them early so your delegates know what they are getting for their money is important. Maintaining regular and timely contact with speakers in regard to: travel, accommodation, presentation requirements, obtaining information for incorporation on the conference website (bios and pictures) and in conference materials will definitely add to a great conference program. Your PCO will also assist with the speaker support once onsite.  Finding a good balance between educational, social and technical sessions is sometimes difficult but will lead to great feedback of the conference.
    Obviously these keys of conference success are never going to be complete, we could get into more details in each topic, cover the areas of conference registration, social media etc but once you have appointed a PCO, they will take care of the strategic plan of the conference and that things happen in a timely manner. However I would like to mention one more key and that is to have fun along the way. Enjoy the time organising this event and seeing it coming all together at the end. For further information on this blog or to find out more about PCO services, contact Promaco Conventions on +61 8 9332 2900 or via email promaco@promaco.com.au

    Posted 28 Mayl 2014 by Livia Russell, Managing Director Promaco Conventions