The Technical Know-How for Conference Organising

18th March 2010

Conference organising requires special expertise and experience in this versatile field. A person or company given the responsibility of carrying out this task needs to be well-orientated, resourceful, with easy and quick access to contacts etc. in order to have a successful conference. Here are some of the basic requirements that need to be arranged as the initial steps of organising an event:

  • Venue selection
  • Speaker Sourcing
  • Brochure Design
  • Registration
  • Budgeting
  • Sponsorship
  • Audio-Visuals
  • Press Covering

This is just a starter’s list; once these initial requirements are sorted out, then you need to continue with the rest of the areas.

Holding a conference is a modern form of communications; they are frequently conducted in commercial companies, trade associations, various types of societies, study groups, clubs, educational associations etc. These conferences are also common in the business world; generally organised for product launches etc.

A vital feature to be considered during Conference Organising is to differentiate between seminars to which delegates are invited by any particular organisation to promote their own products/services and a commercial seminar/conference which is arranged by professional organisers on behalf of another. Whichever the conference may be, it is important that the delegates leave the event with newfound knowledge which they can apply to their own work situations.

Another important factor to keep in mind is that the number of delegates should always be manageable. It is always wise to invite a smaller number of delegates to several seminars over a period of time rather than handling a greater number in one go.

Given below are some useful guidelines for Conference Organising:

Strategic Planning: Define your target audience, goal and theme for the event. Based on this, you can decide on the best approach to achieve your goal. Consider involving the venue staff to make these decisions; they are well updated with the ideal resource persons.
Budget: An effective budget is vital for conducting a successful conference. Take into consideration all areas for your costing and make sure that you work within this budget. Here too you can use the expertise of your organisers who are competent with budget planning.
Dates and Venues: Decide on the dates, the location and duration of the conference. Based on this you can decide on accommodation – if needed, transport facilities – airports, train/ bus stations etc. Also check out catering outlets and recreation facilities.
Programme Development: Have a good agenda, with special emphasis on the sessions after the tea and lunch breaks.
Promotion and Sales Drive: Plan out for news releases and advertisements in special magazines and journals. Publicity literature and proposed programmes can be sent out ahead of time.
Conference Material: This is a vital part of the conference. Decide on a theme and use the layout for all communications – name tags, registration cards, note paper, brochures etc.
Layout & Seating: There are a number of styles that can be considered:

  • Auditorium style
  • Syndication style
  • Cocktail style
  • Classroom style
  • U Shape
  • Oval Shape

Always provide plenty of aisles with easy entry/exit.

The most vital piece of equipment is the public addressee system which needs special and continuous attention and supervision, from start to end of the conference. List out all other required equipment and have them available at the right times.

These are just a few of the most required areas that should be borne in mind during Conference Organising. It is best that persons responsible for organising a conference be thoroughly competent on these points as well as all other required areas.