The Initial Plans for Organising a Conference

18th March 2010

Conferences are a popular event in the world of modern communications. These gatherings are held for a variety of reasons; training seminars, annual general meetings, annual conferences and retreats are conferences held for internal communications within a company, institution, business organisation or any similar establishment. This strategy is also used to target key audiences at press launches and technical conferences.
Organising a Conference involves immense planning and includes a range of activities.

Planning a Conference:
Immaterial if it is a small or large group of participants the volume of organising remains the same. Given below are some guidelines that are essential for the planning of a conference, as well as some suggestions for advice and assistance:

1)      Location & Communications: When deciding on the location you also need to look into the availability of high quality facilities and technical support. It is important that you have easy access to these facilities. The location should also have easy access for recreational programmes and pre- and post-conferences tours. You should also consider the distance that the participants will need to travel to the location, and they type of transport they intend using.
2)      Choice of Venue: Once you have decided on your location, the next item on your planning list when organising a conference is the need to decide on the venue. There is a wide range that you can select from; conference halls, hotels, universities, training centres, and similar venues. Many unique venues such as; castles, stately homes, sporting venues and other tourist attractions are also being considered today. Here are some questions that you can keep in mind before settling on a venue:

  • Is it a residential or non-residential conference? Is it important for the participants to be accommodated at the venue? Can they be accommodated at hotels, guest-houses and be transported to the venue? Consider the type and availability of accommodation they would need – single rooms, twin rooms or double rooms?
  • The type of environment and surroundings the venue should have – a country or city atmosphere? Should there be easy access to banks and other important institutions? What the choices for recreation nearby?
  • Does the venue have other facilities that are required when organising a conference – catering, exhibition space, room for small meetings etc?
  • The type of seating that will be required – theatre-style, board-room, classroom, hallow square, U-shape or any other styles which suit you?
  • Does the venue have access for disabled persons, and for the bringing in of displaying material?
  • It is important to check whether the main hall has pillars, as this blocks the vision of the participants.
  • Will the conference require a stage? Is there provision for one, or can one be erected?
  • Is there sufficient light in the main conference room? Is light necessary? Can the hall be blacked out, if necessary?
  • Is there a full-time coordinator at the venue who will assist with the planning and arrangements?
  • The type of audio-visual equipment that will be needed for the conference? Whether the venue can accommodate these types of equipment? Is there technical staff available at the venue?
  • The costs for the entire venue – hiring of the main venue and a detailed list of all other additional/incidental costs.
  • Always make a site inspection

Given above are a few basic questions one would need to know when organising a conference. Generally these are checked out initially in order to decide on the location and venue. Once this is settled, you can continue with the other important requirements that are needed for organising a conference.