Vital Guidelines to Follow when you Organise a Conference

18th March 2010

In order to organise a Conference which is expected to run smoothly and bring in successful results, there are a number of guidelines that need to be followed:

1)      Strategic Planning: Define your theme, the target audience, the goals for the event, the best approach to achieve your goal. Request for the assistance of your event management team to help you out with this section.

2)      Budget: A well-planned budget is vital for a successful conference. Consider all costs that you will incur and make your budget accordingly. It is equally important that you try your best to keep within this budget too. Consider the following when you organise a conference:

  • Venue Hire
  • Fees for Resource Persons
  • Costs for hotel accommodation, additional delegates
  • Seek advise on your expenses from your conference organisers
  • Always allow a contingency of about 10% for unforeseen expenses

3)      Dates and Venues: Decide on the dates, duration and where the conference will be held. Has the location got an easy approach – from airports or public transportation facilities? Do a site inspection for meeting rooms, eating areas, recreation areas etc. Discuss menus with the venue staff or the relevant catering company.

4)      Programme Development: Your programme should be varied and well-planned to suit the entire agenda of the conference as well as the danger areas – the periods after tea and lunch. You will need to do some slight changes here by adding some energy and enthusiasm enhancing topics. Check out on housekeeping requirements such as, fresh water and clean ash trays when you organise a conference. 

5)      Promotion and Sales Drive: If it is a conference which requires outside delegates and not those who are a part of the company, the event needs to be promoted through news releases, advertisements in magazines and journals well in advance. Publicity literature can be sent out in advance to potential delegates. Participants of an internal conference must be kept informed with regular updates etc. with dates and times, to help them organise their schedules too in advance.  There must always be a central unit to keep track of communications.

6)      Conference material: Print all name tags, registration cards, note paper, brochures, programme tickets etc. You can incorporate the theme of the conference on all the material.

7)      Layout and seating: Select the best layout and seating style that will fit the conference hall. Make sure that there are plenty of aisles with easy entry and exit positions.

8)      Equipment: The public addressee system should have full-time supervision as it is a vital piece of equipment. List out all other required equipment, especially the electronic units.

9)      Presentation Kits: These kits should be all prepared and ready to be handed over during arrival of the delegates.

10)  Catering: Menus and numbers should be discussed well in advance. Consideration should be given for vegetarians, non-vegetarians or any special dietary requirements.

11)  Interior Décor: This adds a bit of glamour to the event and needs advance planning.

12)  Run Through the Day: A basic but essential area to ensure that all aspects of the conference are managed and run smoothly – from start to finish. It is always advisable to have a full-time experienced person to manage this vital responsibility.