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Top tips for running a successful conference

By Tania TilbrookOctober 15th, 2014

By Matt Kendall from newlifeblind

During your pursuit of a career in events production and management, you could be presented with a chance to organise a conference, trade show, seminar, or convention. While these events can differ in regards to the target market and audience, their underlying purpose is always the same – to provide an opportunity for sharing knowledge and acquiring new business through face-to-face networking. Due to a recent increase in enquiries surrounding conference event management, we have decided to put together a list of some key techniques that will ensure the success of your event.

Establish a unique identity or brand

Once you are clear on the overall objectives of the event, it’s important to share what the event is about and why it is important. This can be achieved through clever branding and thematic clarity. Try to create a catchy, easy-to-understand name and logo that draws the attention of your target audience. People will associate the quality of the conference with the branding so, once you make it a success, that identity will continue to serve you well for future events.

Location, location…realization

The location of your venue, and indeed the venue itself, can make or break your event. Find a place that compliments the theme of the conference and is easily accessible, especially for the most important attendees. Take your time, do your research, and choose your venue wisely, as it will be a key factor in solidifying the success of your event.

Calculate a budget and stick to it

Conferences are expensive affairs, so it’s important to be aware of the exact costs. Identify all possible expenses and categorise them. This could include things like venue, website, insurance, speakers, food & drink, audio-visual equipment, etc. You should also calculate possible income such as sponsorship. Remember that most prices for services can be negotiated, so always try to reduce your costs before establishing the projected minimum amount.

Choose your speakers carefully

It’s no good inviting Tony Blair to speak about recent advancements in feminine beauty products; know your audience and ensure that your speakers are knowledgeable about the event’s subject matter. While star power might increase ticket sales, the wrong choice of speaker will only serve to alienate the attendees. Try to find experienced experts with motivational qualities; they will keep people attentive and increase the integrity of your event.

Get online

Your conference isn’t limited to the dates of the event; adequate online presence before and after the big day can help create conference buzz that will boost brand power. Sending your contacts an online poll or a survey is a good marketing strategy that can help develop your vision and get people talking. Additionally, social networking sites provide a great platform for keeping the discussions going, long after the conference is over.

Feedback is essential

Lastly, provide a way that your participants can evaluate their experience. This could be an online survey, a staff meeting, or a suggestion box located at the event. The insight you will gain from people’s opinions will be invaluable towards ensuring that your next conference runs even more smoothly.

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