Planning your first business conference or event may sound overwhelming and stressful, no matter how exciting it seems. But there are steps you can take to ensure that your event runs smoothly. If you plan well, your conference will seem less daunting.
Make a List
First make a list of everything you will need for the event. Leave the list for a couple of days, to enable you to add anything you may have missed initially. Include things like mailings/invitations that will need to go out, catering, accommodation, and dates of deposits and final payments.
Create a Timeline
Use simple software such as Microsoft Excel to create a clear timeline of what needs to be done ahead of the conference, when it needs to be done and who needs to do it. Keep your timeline as simple as possible so there are no errors, omissions and misunderstandings, and do keep it in chronological order so that no key dates are missed.
Enter Realistic Deadlines
Enter realistic deadlines for each task and make sure these are realistic and allow for some flexibility. That way you are not completely under pressure if a task goes wrong, or it is delayed.
Allow Plenty of Time
Make sure you allow plenty of time so that you are able to book key speakers. Make sure you confirm dates as soon as the venue is booked, and discuss topics you would like them to speak about as early as possible. That way the speakers have plenty of time to plan.
Encourage Early Sign Ups
Some of your planning will depend on the numbers of attendees. So why not offer an early sign up discount to potential attendees? It will make it far easier for you to plan your conference or event if you know the number of attendees well in advance.
Estimate All Expenses As Early As Possible
As soon as you have a clear idea of what the conference will cost, you will be able to calculate what it will cost to attend and you will be able to tell people about it. The earlier you let people know about your conference and can give exact costs, the better as more people are likely to attend.
Make Sure You Have Everything You Need
Consider the facilities the hotel or conference centre has to offer and make sure they offer everything you need for a successful conference. Consider things like the technology you will need, the number of comfortable chairs they have available and their ability to cater for special diets.