conference with folding tables

Setting up a conference, whether for 10 or 10,000, requires great planning and organisational skills.

Whatever industry you work in, there’s always room for a conference. From the big extravaganzas at exhibition halls to more moderate affairs in the local community centre, running a conference takes time, effort and a huge amount of planning.

If you’re looking to set up and run your first ever conference, here are some helpful tips to get you organised and ready to go.

  1. Gather an awesome team

Before you start, get the right people around you to make it happen. Whether you’re planning to invite 20 people or 20,000, you can’t do everything yourself. Get commitment from the people you need to help with the planning, implementation and running it on the day.

  1. Give it a theme

A unifying idea or theme is an important part of your conference, as it will direct who you invite, how it is run and what the overarching focus is about. Think about the bigger issues in your industry today, and pick a theme that reflects a common issue for your customers, your suppliers or your own business and its competitors.

  1. Invite your speakers very early on

If you have a wish list of people who will speak at your conference, get their commitment before anything else happens. Lively speakers will get booked up really far in advance, so don’t assume they’ll have your date free if you haven’t asked them. Bear in mind that some speakers will expect compensation for attending, so factor this into your budget before you start.

  1. Select a great venue that matches your needs

The anticipated size of your audience, location of your attendees and plans for how the conference will be run will influence your choice of venue almost entirely. If you need breakout spaces for workshops, you’ll need a venue with multiple rooms. If you need a large theatre for speakers with high tech AV and lighting, you’ll need to look at theatres or larger hotels. Think comfort, think convenience and think facilities to ensure you select somewhere amazing.

  1. Book out equipment as soon as you have a date

Whether you’re using equipment from your own stash or hiring it in from another company, get your booking done as soon as you have a date set. Think about the number of chairs you’ll need, whether folding tables are required, as well as any IT or presentation equipment which the venue is not providing.

  1. Think carefully about feeding everyone

The timings of your event will dictate what and how much you need to feed your guests. It’s a popular itinerary to have them arrive around coffee time, to eat lunch and then maybe enjoy another coffee and cake before heading off mid-afternoon. If you plan for your conference to run on too long, be aware you’ll need to feed them dinner as well, something which could completely blow your budget.

  1. Build in tonnes of spare time

You know those speakers you gave 10-minute slots to? They’re going to talk for 20. You know the 40 minutes you allowed for lunch? It’s going to last for at least an hour. Build in time, as much as you can, because people can always fill spare time with more coffee and networking, but you might not be so adaptable if you haven’t got time for all of your speakers.

Equip4Work can help you with many of your conferencing needs, from folding tables to conference chairs. Take a look at our range, and get in touch if we can help you planning and organising your conference.

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Last Modified / Updated on: May 31, 2018 at 11:05 am