Planning a successful business conference can be complicated, and more often than not there is a limited amount of time in which to map out your battle plan and create your ultimate strategy.
But it is the many and varied decisions that you make in the planning stages that will ultimately shape the overall performance of your event.
Now, the natural tendency is to focus on the big picture – setting a budget, hiring a suitable venue, and booking the speakers and vendors that you want to feature at your conference or seminar.
But the major decisions are often the easiest to make, and we can sometimes lose sight of the smaller details that can can help to make or break a business conference or other corporate event.
When it comes to staging a successful business event, the devil is definitely in the details. So I’ve compiled a short list of simple tips to help you maximize the potential success of your next conference or seminar.
Some of these tips may seem obvious, or even insignificant. But make no mistake, the success of any conference often lies in the smallest of details.
#1 – The “What to Expect” E-Mail
When it comes to a business conference or seminar, invitations and e-mail notifications are only part of the communication funnel. Your attendees will naturally have a variety of questions about the event, and you may soon find your self inundated with emails from your future guests.
A “What to Expect” e-mail will help to take the pressure off of your in box, saving you much needed time that can be better used planning the event itself.
Your “What to Expect” e-mail should cover more than just the schedule for the day, and should address the most frequently asked questions attendees will have about your event.
A typical “what to Expect” e-mail should include the following:
- Check in Times – Make sure your guests know the important starting times of each process and especially keynote speakers.
- Parking Information and Restrictions – Many of your guests will be local. Make sure they know any restrictions such as tow zones, etc.
- Food and Drinks – Will you offer food at your event? It’s important to let others know their options in case of any diet restrictions.
- Travel Arrangements – It’s a great idea to provide hotel recommendations, even create a relationship with a nearby hotel for better rates.
- Internet/Wi-Fi availability – This is a big one. Make sure you provide access codes or specific instructions to connect to the internet.
- Agenda – Your “early bird” emails might not have an agenda. That’s ok, make sure to follow up with an agenda as soon as it’s ready.
#2 – Schedule Regular Breaks
The temptation is to always offer as much content as possible during your conference or seminar. While that is certainly a worthy goal, it can also easily backfire.
Remember, part of the value of a business conference or seminar is the opportunity to network, and your attendees need regularly scheduled breaks to mingle, discuss the topics at hand, and re-energize themselves for the next round of speakers.
You might even decide to be more creative by creating quizzes or tasks during your business conference breaks.
It is also easy to forget just how intensive a business seminar can become, and you don’t want to exhaust your guests half way through the event. Don’t be afraid to schedule plenty of breaks throughout the day, both for refreshments and networking.
What you may view as negative downtime is actually a positive bonus that will help to make your conference a success.
Extra breaks also has the added benefit to allow for more flexibility if a presentation or speaker runs over their allotted time.
#3 – Provide More Power Sockets
We live in a digital age, and your attendees will be relying on their laptops, tablets, and smart-phones throughout the day.
There is nothing quite as frustrating as a dead battery at a business conference. It’s important to plan ahead and ensure that there are plenty of power sockets available for all of your attendees.
While this may seem like a little thing, a guest with a dead laptop will quickly become disillusioned with the day’s events and will ultimately take little away from a conference you have worked so hard to plan.
#4 – Public Service Tweets
Twitter can be a valuable tool when it comes to communicating with your guests before, and during, your conference or seminar. Tweets can be used throughout the day to keep attendees informed on upcoming presentations, and to answer any frequently asked questions.
Better yet, they can amplify your brand as the owner of the event. Encourage your audience to tweet also, as it gives your attendees a great way to connect “virtually” and increase their social media presence.
Make sure to provide your guests a hashtag to represent your event. You could even inform your speakers head of time of the hashtag so they can incorporate it into their presentations. Maybe you will even get your event trending!
When planning a business conference or seminar it is always important to avoid the pitfall of letting the bigger picture obscure the finer details.
As good as your presentations may be, they will likely fall on deaf ears if your guests’ real time experience is poor. Put yourself in the place of your attendees, and consider what you would expect from a successful business conference.
By focusing on the real time needs of your attendees you can ensure that your upcoming event is productive and successful.