As vaccines roll out and states are loosening gathering restrictions, events like corporate conferences are beginning to take place once again. The concept of a conference might sound simple, but there’s a whole lot of hard work and months of preparation to execute a successful in-person event. Still, whether it’s the first you’re putting together or you’re a seasoned pro, many things can go wrong and paralyze the flow, causing client dissatisfaction, boring topics, and awkward situations.
Prepare well, take control and follow these tips for hosting a well-planned conference that everyone will talk about until next year.
Plan for Everything
Be prepared for failure, but work towards success. The saying “if it can go wrong, it will go wrong” exists for a reason. Prepare in advance by thinking of possible issues that could arise, like medical emergencies, power outages, and other less serious things, like weather and bad traffic. To avoid this, make a realistic list setting your priorities effectively. Having a plan puts the control in your hands and decreases anxiety.
However, avoiding going over-the-top with planning and creating unnecessary stress. Some things may be just out of our reach, and stressing about them would delay the whole process.
Hone Your Brand
Improving the brand recognition of your conference should be at a top priority. People are eager to attend conferences if they recognize and respect the company hosting them.
Utilize social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to post quality content, share your brand values, interact with potential customers, and get to know your client base. There are many strategies for brand building to boost your recognition and reputation.
Have People Sign Up for Attendance in Advance
Having a conference where people can just walk in might sound fun and spontaneous, but it could also be a double-edged sword if there’s not enough guidance for attendees. Also, it’s nice to have a headcount for panelists ahead of time. Signing up ahead of time for specific sessions and panelists ensures that those who want to attend are able. This can minimize a lot of frustration and confusion for both attendees and the hosting party.
For the conference speakers, a headcount can be useful knowledge if you have stage fright. Knowing how many people are going to be watching you in advance can allow you to internalize it and do some preparations before the conference.
Everyone loves free stuff. Some people even attend just to get free promotional products. This is why many conferences have gift bags and catering and, honestly, it would be boring if they did not. This is also another way to connect with people and show you understand your clients.
There are a few avenues you could take when giving attendees gifts, such as:
- Gift bags that include several inexpensive items that fit within a theme relevant to your business. For instance, if you’re in the wellness space, you could put together a branded drawstring bag full of pre-workout samples, protein bars, and a branded water bottle. Check out custom water bottle options here.
- Sugar cookies that are decorated with your business’s logo and tools relevant to your line of work. Wellness companies may offer cookies shaped like dumbbells. Or, if you’d rather have several options in snacks, you could personalize the food packaging.
- T-shirts with a witty phrase, or even socks with your logo
- Something higher end, like a nice pair of headphones, if it makes sense for your business and conference attendees.
Offer Lots of Dietary Options
Planning for your attendee’s meals and snacks allows you to show that you know them well and care for their tastes. Also, it is a known fact that food keeps people in a good mood, especially when it is healthy, so avoid having an audience of a hundred hungry people. It would be a disaster so plan for catering. Try to prepare a wide menu that covers the common dietary restrictions, like veganism or gluten-free.
Collaborate As Much As Possible
Learn from competitors and find ways to connect with other event organizers. Start networking and meeting new people that can fill you with new ideas.
You can even attend and observe how others manage their conferences. Make a list of the things they do right so that you can do it as well, but also remember to be original. The most successful brands are always improving and searching for new strategies. They organize thoroughly every aspect of their conference, so everything runs smooth as silk.
Keep learning and improving to reach your convention’s full potential. Organize thoroughly, know your audience, collaborate effectively, and, most importantly, hone your brand. If you follow these steps, your conference will not only run smoothly, but it will certainly reach more clients.