Event Planning: How to Put Together a Flawless Conference

Post by 
Karen Ashwin
Published 
November 15, 2020

When you’re planning a conference, you want to be sure it puts your company’s best foot forward. Whether you’re on your first conference or your hundredth as a company, it can be extremely stressful to make sure that all the details are in place and that you don’t miss out on anything in the event planning process. Want to put together a flawless conference? Include these steps in your corporate conference planning.

1. Start with the Vision for Event Planning

When you want to put together a flawless conference, it needs to start with a vision for your event. Answer the key questions:

  • Who do you want to invite? That is, what type of audience are you planning to reach?
  • What do you want to accomplish at your event? What is the purpose of your conference? Is there specific information you want to impart to attendees?
  • When are you planning to hold the conference? Is there a specific time of year you have in mind? How long do you want the conference to run?
  • Where will you host the conference? Do you have a space already available, or will you need to rent one for the event? The more specialized your event, the further out you’ll need to start planning to ensure that you get the space you need.
  • Why are you hosting the event? This key question can help you better understand many of the details of your event. Are you hoping to improve awareness of your brand? To sell specific items at the conference? Do you want to improve your brand’s reputation within your community or within your industry? Make sure you have a strong understanding of your ‘why’ as you move into your conference plans.

2. Set Your Budget

Before you start event planning with a vengeance, you need to know how much money you have to spend. Your budget will determine your venue, your speakers, and even how long your event can last. Setting a budget early in the process can also help prevent you from over-spending later. As you set specific costs, make sure to leave at least 10% overhead for unanticipated expenses and fees. If you don’t need it, you can roll that amount into your next event. If you do, then your event can still go off without a hitch! Carefully consider common event expenses before you start checking items off your master list. If necessary, adjust prices or expectations accordingly.

3. Refine the Vision: Develop Your Theme

As you get deeper into the planning process, it’s time to start refining your vision and getting a better idea of exactly what to expect at your event. Start refining the vision as you develop your theme. Aim for something that lets attendees know what they can expect at your conference: while ‘Shoot for the Stars!’ or ‘Let’s Have Lunch!’ sounds great, it might not convey what your attendees are expecting. Try to include some reference to your organization or your purpose. Determine whether you want to offer themed snacks or entertainment, or if you want to offer more common, generic options while focusing your speakers, swag, and vendors around that theme.

4. Choose Your Speakers

Your speakers will help draw in attendees and impart the information they most want to hear. Who is available to speak at your event? What will they cost? Make sure to keep your speakers in line with your budget, especially when compared to your other costs. While a mediocre speaker at an otherwise great conference can be redeemed, a fantastic speaker can’t make up for missing the rest of the details of your conference–especially if you have limited space or not everyone can make it to every session. Carefully consider these questions:

  • What information do you want your speakers to share?
  • Does a specific speaker have a platform that fits with your theme?
  • Have you used popular speakers for other conferences in the past?
  • Do speakers have their own fan bases they can use to invite in more people to attend your event?
Microphone in focus against blurred camera operators and reporters at conference
Microphone in focus against blurred camera operators and reporters at conference

5. Compare Vendors

Even if your company has ‘always’ used the same vendors for all of your events, this latest conference is a great chance to compare vendors and see what others in the industry have to offer. Take a look at caterers who are prepared to fit your theme, entertainers who will keep conference attendees engaged and interested all day (or all event) long, and compare venues. As you look at your venue, be sure to consider whether it is large enough for your projected crowd. Is there enough room for everyone? Will there be plenty of space for your speakers, especially popular ones? What about swag tables: do you have a particular provider who is great at printing t-shirts or putting together other swag? What materials do your attendees really want to take home with them? All of these questions can help shape a better event that is more likely to be remembered later.

6. Don’t Forget the Details

As you plan your event, make sure you leave room in your schedule for all the important details. While your event-planning checklist is extensive, there are some details you want to make sure you don’t forget to:

  • Check on travel plans for your speakers. Make sure you know when they’ll be coming in, where they will be staying, and any other key points.
  • Use a simple ticket purchasing system that will make it easy for attendees to make it to your event.
  • Set out the layout for your tables, booths, and events at the conference. Putting together the layout ahead of time can streamline preparation on the day of the event.
  • Make sure food and beverages are distributed appropriately, whether that means spreading them around the event to make them easily accessible or putting them in a specific area to adhere to venue guidelines.

7. Market Your Event

No matter how great the details of your event, don’t forget the importance of marketing! You need a solid event website, a plan for spreading the news, and social media posts, emails, and other marketing materials that will help you better spread the word about your event and bring in the visitors you need.

Are you ready to start planning a stunning conference? We can help. Contact us today to learn more about event planning in Dubai, the services we offer, and how we can help highlight your next event and make it its best.

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