Conference Planning Guide

Conference Planning Guide

Conference speaker

Planning a conference is an exciting, daunting, sometimes completely overwhelming experience that needs to be taken step-by-step. Don’t be put off by the enormity of the task ahead, rather make sure that you’ve got all your conference planning bases covered so that nothing slips through the cracks. Here is useful conference planning guide to follow.

conference planning guide

Conference Planning

1. Outline your goals

Every aspect of the conference will hinge on the ultimate goal, so when planning, you need to keep going back to the goal so that you have a clear vision for your conference. This needs to be the first stop with conference planning, and it needs to dominate the decisions going forwards.

Read more: Unique conference ideas

2. Get your team

A team is only as strong as its weakest link so make sure you have a really stellar team to work with when planning a conference. Every member should be carefully selected, thoroughly briefed on their role for the conference, and regular meetings held to ensure everyone is on top of their duties.

3. Work out your budget

The most difficult thing when planning a conference – and life, in fact – is preparing a comprehensive budget and actually sticking to it. The conference budget must be realistic and, if you find you’re going over, it’s important to analyse where you can cut costs without impacting on the eventual goal of the conference.

Read more: 6 conference venues close to Johannesburg

4. Get a game plan

You need to sit down and outline a really comprehensive ‘game plan’ or master plan to ensure that you don’t miss any key elements. Your conference plan must include

• Venue and logistics
• Entertainment
• Speakers
• Publicity
• Programme
• Sponsors
• Volunteers

5. Venue, venue, venue

Arguably a make or break decision with all conference planning is the venue. The location has to match the conference goals, accommodate all delegates and create an atmosphere conducive to productive engagement. It is essential that you work with a conference venue that has experience in conference planning, and that you are clear on what responsibilities and services are provided by the conference venue ahead of time.

Read more: Selecting the right conference venue

6. Set a date

For some conferences, the date is an annual fixture so there is little wiggle room, for others, you have the freedom to take other events and elements into consideration when planning the conference. Ideally, you will need up to six months to plan– depending on size – and you will need to consider aspects such as school, public and religious holidays, other high-profile events in the area, as well as availability of speakers and delegates.

7. Choose a prominent speaker

A good speaker can determine the eventual success of a conference, so when planning, make sure you aim high. Remember that the speaker must match your conference goals so be sure to do a thorough background check and interview ahead of time.

Read more: Conference trends for 2018

8. Brand your conference

To make your conference stand out, you need to establish a really memorable brand, including a theme, logo, slogan and name. Part of your conference planning will have to involve brainstorming some options, as well as researching what is already out there so as not to overlap or mix messages.

9. Market through social media

Once branded, you can start marketing your conference through traditional media such as print, television and radio. However, nowadays, conference planning has to involve a dynamic, targeted social media marketing campaign so look at hiring an expert for this aspect.

10. Evaluate the conference

Once a conference is finished, your planning does not end. It’s imperative that you have a system to evaluate your conference to measure whether the event was a success, and which aspects did or did not work. You must also assess whether your original goals were met as you intended when you started the conference planning. Delegates’ feedback, in this case, is vital for the evaluation process.

Choosing the right conference venue is the first step to creating the right conference theme. The Nutcracker Conference Venue is just the place to go. Situated in Parys on the banks of the Vaal River and surrounded by the exquisite countryside, your conference is sure to be productive and inspiring at The Nutcracker. Contact us today.

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