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Organising a conference – our tips

Posted by Sdk4ord on February 3, 2013 | Leave a comment

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Organising a conference in Leeds? Let us help you with our handy checklist!

So you are planning your conference? Where, when and how. It can seem like there are never ending questions, to dos and lists. With careful planning your conference can be a great success and so do we! Here we have started to think about what should be on your checklist so that you and your attendees have a fantastic and productive day!

Organising a conference

Finding your venue

The venue for your conference is extremely important. You need to start thinking about what you need your venue to provide and if they a fit for purpose. What kind of format will you conference take and will the venue be able to reach all of your requirements? Think about location – is it easy to get to. Think about your attendees – will they need overnight accomodation? Can the venue offer any discounts along with caterers/hotels or any local businesses that you may need to also approach.

Your conference venue needs to be the right size so make sure that you check capacity and the lay out of rooms that you wish to use. Do you want to hire the entire venue out so that the conference venue is completely exclusive to you?

Check for reviews on conference networks or approach other companies that have used the facilities for feedback on how their day went and any issues that had arisen either before or on the day.

Dates, clashes and travel

The first thing you really need to do is have a handful of dates and check that the majority of attendee can make it. If you are booking quite far in advance this may not be a problem but you will need to go to your choice of conference space with a few dates if that is the definate place to book.

Make sure you don’t clash with public holidays or big events that may take over the transport routes as this may mean your attendees are late or won’t attend. When researching you should really look at similar events in your industry so not to clash. You will have more attendees if you select dates further apart from competitors.

When going to the conference facilities look at where they are in terms of travel. Are they close to the City Centre and are routes to the centre easy to get to?

Planning and budgets

Any conference needs a serious amount of planning as well as a very tight eye on your budget. Planning your conference at least 12 months in advance will really be helpful in terms of getting the venue and footfall that you need. It allows you to map out everything and leave room for any changes or unforseen circumstances.

Budget is the main concern of any conference organiser. Look at providing limits for your event planner or yourself. It is a good idea to run through the checklist for the conference and look where possible spends are this way. Get a colleague to look through your plans and walk through the conference rooms with you describing what will happen and when.

Speakers, guests and content

You have the date, you have the venue – now can all the speakers make it. Have you got a list of your ideal speakers and their costs? By now you should have approached and confirmed their appearance. Have you met your speakers? It may be an idea to offer a meeting in person to go through the day or a skype video call so that at least you feel familiar and at ease with each other before the day. Obviously speakers with a name for themselves in their field will always pull a crowd. Think about your ideal speakers and your budget. Can you afford to have one crowd puller or many. Be sure of your budget at this point as overspending on a great speaker can create a big dent.

Have your guests been given opportunity to speak? It may be a good idea to create a panel of guests for quick question and answers sessions for a more interactive feel to your day.

Once you have booked your venue and speakers formulate your agenda for the day. It is a good idea to release this when you are ready to put your tickets on presale. Attendees will like to know what they are getting and when. By highlighting a standard agenda and teasing with hints of what is to come you will have people lining up ready to buy before your tickets go on sale.

These are just a few tips to get you started! Leave a comment with anything you can add!

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