A great conference should fulfill a need, be useful, ideally unique or even vital to whoever you are trying to attract.
Considering who your audience is and what they require is the absolute starting point of any successful conference.
Organizing a conference means covering the basics well, but making it sparkle means putting in some extra thought and planning.
These tips will help you to ensure your audience is at the heart of your conference to ensure success.
1. Test demand
In order to put your audience at the core of your event, you need to know them well and ensure you’re meeting a need they have.
This can be achieved by testing demand first perhaps through online events, conversations and community. A thriving, regular Twitter hour, for example, that attracts lots of like-minded people is likely to highlight an interest in topics and areas where there are unanswered questions and curiosity.
Magazines, like Red, and newspapers are now aware of this community advantage and are increasingly laying on events they know readers will be engaged by – a win/win for the publications and audiences – both adding value and further enhancing the brand.
2. Consider the attendee journey
Planning is clearly key in organizing any event, ensuring that details around the venue, catering, facilities, car parking and all the rest are considered and pinned down.
Once those things are all covered off, it’s extremely beneficial to spend some time putting yourself in the position of someone you expect might come to the event and then imagine their journey.
That means going right from: How would they find out about the event initially? Is it well advertised? What questions might they have about the event that could influence their decision about coming? Can they find the answers? Then, through to, will all their needs be met on the day? What complications might there be? How will they find their way around? What follow-up information or touch points will there be?
3. Have all the necessary support in place
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Organizing a conference, even a relatively small one means having a lot of things to consider and iron out. The importance of ensuring you have the right team in place and enough support cannot be overestimated.
To make your event excellent you need, ideally, to identify potential problems and resolve them before they arise. You must also accept some questions and queries will remain and unexpected events will happen. Have the right people in place to deal with those and keep things on track both in the run-up and on the day.
The Association of British Professional Conference Organiser (ABPCO) is a professional and membership body for those in the industry. It holds excellence awards each year to showcase the best conferences and providers around. The 2019 winners will be revealed on December 11.
4. Make your event innovative
It’s all very well researching the competition and picking up good ideas along the way but a truly stand-out conference will be innovative in some way.
If your audience can only get what is on offer from you, you’ll be way ahead of the game. This is essentially business whether you’re seeking profit or not. Your event reflects on you, it reflects on your brand and you want it to shine.
Book a motivational speaker, engage the right industry experts, ensure you are at the cutting edge in terms of developments in the field and represent those in whatever way you can.
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Considering what your audience and attendees read and engage with is a good indicator of what they like and what they want. Make sure you know and are reading it too.
5. Enhance opportunities to interact
There’s a reason shared work spaces are now becoming hugely attractive to remote workers and those who can work-from-home: People want to interact.
It’s great that the modern world offers so much flexibility in terms of work bases but a lot of the options are isolating and a conference creates the wonderful opportunity of being with other people with shared interests.
It’s your job to ensure your conference isn’t just a place where people sit static and listen. All learners take on more when there is some interaction and participation and creating ways for this to happen in a natural and energizing way will improve your conference hugely.
Setting up inoffensive and natural ways to network and connect with other attendees will also be very popular with your attendees – there will likely be as much experience and expertise within the attendee list of your conference as there will be on the stage or manning the stands, so make the most of it!
Successful conferences spin on planning, preparation and innovation. No event will go well without the basics covered.
Once you’re ready to get going ensure you:
- Nail down your theme and can articulate it in a few words
- Have a great team in place
- Set out a budget and have a business plan
- Have financing secured
- Picked a date that makes sense and is far enough in advance to allow attendee take-up as well as successful planning
- Find and secured a venue
- Plan and roll out a top promotion plan.
About the Author
Austin Dease began writing as a professional on his personal blog and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about technology, News and gadgets in general. H is a technical writer, author, and blogger since 2010. An industry watcher that stays on top of the latest features, extremely passionate about juicy tech news and everything related to gadgets. For tech tips, his email address is austin[at]marketingstrend[dot]com.