12 Ways to Say Yes to Your Conference

Attending a professional conference provides an unmatched opportunity for attendees to build networks, strengthen work ethic and get new ideas for the workplace. They also give employees a way to get out of the office and stir things up to retain employee morale. These face-to-face events continue to make lasting and sizable contributions to any work environment.

follow these easy steps to host the best conference anyone has ever attended

From choosing the perfect venue and catering the right menu to finding the best speakers, no matter your needs for hosting your best conference ever, look no further than right in the mirror. Yes, you can plan and carry out the most successful conference anyone has ever attended. And, here are some easy-to-follow steps to get you started.

1. Objectives and Goals

The first thing to do when you want to hold a conference is to figure out the why. Finding your conference objective and setting your intended goals is possibly the most important thing. Why hold this type of event without an objective? You would just be wasting your time and resources.

So, define that objective. It can be anything from informing your attendees about the latest tech gadget or help colleagues learn about the best way to write an interoffice email. But, no matter your objective, you must reach that by defining short and long term goals. Not only should your conference have goals but remember that your attendees will also have their goals as well as expectations of what the event should be like.

Most people, when asked, state that the goal of attending this type of event is to gain knowledge or increase skills. So, make sure that your goals will help others attain theirs. If you hold classes about only one subject, you will leave people thinking they could have gained better knowledge somewhere else.

One of the best ways to find a conference objective is to ask those around you what they need. If that is a bit too overwhelming, look around you and your workplace. Find something that only you can offer and take it from there. And, remember that it doesn’t need to start big. Take a small thing and find it a greater purpose.

2. Conference Presentation

Three words: remember your audience. Now is the time to take into consideration who will be attending your conference. Once you have your audience defined, work on your presentation to them. From choosing the perfect venue to planning for speakers, your attendees are the ones who will get the most out of your event. Make sure to plan accordingly.

And, make sure that your objective is easy to follow and concise. You need something that everyone can get on board with, no matter what they think they will get out of your event. It is often said that presentation is everything. That is especially true when it comes to planning your conference and developing your object.

Make your goal presentable. It needs to be as quick as an elevator pitch, but also easily expandable. This isn’t just about one speech or presentation. It’s about a whole event, and you want to make sure that your attendees understand that as quickly as clearly as you can.

speakers are a key element at any conference

3. Speakers and Subjects

Your event line up should be enticing to those attending. Find speakers who will be engaging and exciting for those in attendance. While some of your presenter topics may be a bit bland, find someone who will make it enjoyable.

There are opportunities everywhere to find speakers for any event. Look inside your company, or ask friends and family if they know someone willing to present on a topic that they might find intriguing. But, no matter where you find your speakers, remember to get them on board with your conference objective. There is no point in having someone talk about fish if your conference is about digital literacy.

Also, remember perspective. From you to your speaker to the attendee, everyone will view the presentation a bit differently, and that’s okay. Just make sure that your message is clear and precise, which brings us to your next step.

4. Setting Your Conference Agenda

Most conferences post their agenda ahead of time. Whether you use an online format or mail out a brochure, make sure you advertise your event. And, many planners now have interactive mobile applications to help you schedule speaker times and other pieces of your event. But that is just the beginning.

Take it a step further, and make sure that all attendees have access to a schedule so that they can plan out for their best experience. Everyone should know beforehand what they should expect from your event. This ties into getting your objective and goals set before scheduling your conference.

5. Open Every Door

Make sure the opportunity to take full advantage of everything there is to offer is open for everyone. Use your agenda and time to create an immersive and interactive experience for all attendees. While not everyone will be pleased continuously with your conference, make sure that you adhere to the majority rules concept.

If you need to, take a poll on what people expect from your objective and work from there. But, no matter what you do, keep the door open for everyone. Sometimes this is as easy as finding a venue with an open floor plan. Other times, it can be a bit more challenging to get people moving around and communicating with each other. So, enter step six.

6. Providing the Whole Experience

Your conference needs to be about the whole experience, not just speakers or significant events. To keep everyone engaged and interacting, remember your audience and remember your objective. A conference is more than just someone standing on a stage yammering on about a single topic. It’s a collective mind with the intent on learning everything they can about everything you have to offer.

So, even if you are holding a conference about those previously mentioned fish, remember that the ocean is full of different types of fish. Yes, weird analogy, but here’s the point: keep the conversations going. There more people are engaged, the better your conference will be for everyone involved. And, part of that involvement is offering the ability to grow and learn.

have multiple speakers or events during a conference for the best involvement

7. Interactive Conference Events

What is a conference without a bit of networking? Help your attendees keep on learning even when they aren’t in classes or at a speaking event. Allow them to take a break and chat with new found friends and colleagues. While these interactive events don’t have to be very big or creative, make time for them, they are extremely important.

And, during these down times when you don’t have someone speaking or presenting, provide other learning opportunities such as mentor programs. Make them casual to keep people open and growing. These small group activities offer incredible chances for people to meet, mingle and often find answers they won’t find anywhere else.

8. Professional Identification

Yes, we said it, you need name tags! Helping your attendees make lasting connections is what your conference is really about. Make this an easy process by providing event credentials. From badge holders for schedules to speaker name tags, using identification will help everyone involved.

Personal identification is key to any event whether it’s a conference, seminar or trade show. As an event host or planner, you want your attendees to enjoy networking at your event. And, when they do, they are more likely to return next year. Use quality name badges to put people at ease and make your conference or seminar a success.

9. Networking and Socializing

Now that you have the proper name tags, give opportunities for everyone in attendance to network and socialize. Use apps, business cards and these new name badges to help attendees remember each other (and you) after the conference is over.

Provide opportunities throughout the whole conference for attendees to give out their information to others. If you are making printed schedules for everyone to use with badge holders, include a QR code for easy sharing. But no matter how information is shared, provide as many opportunities as possible for everyone to mingle.

Networking is a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest. Knowing someone’s name makes people more comfortable socializing with that person. With each attendee sporting a name badge, people will have a positive networking experience at your event.

And, whether you are wearing a name tag for an event or work every day, chances are you don’t realize the impact which you are making. In social settings, name tags can level the playing field. They are also free advertising for your company. And, they inspire people to be more approachable.

10. Make the Little Things Count

From setting the event energy to controlling the mood at your conference, sometimes it’s all about the little things. With that said, being organized is an important thing to do. That organization needs to include smaller event details. So, don’t forget about those little details. And they are what makes up 11 and 12.

11. Dress to Impress

There are so many details in this, make sure that you check all the boxes. Think about your venue, your attendees, your objective and your speakers/presenters when considering a dress code. Make sure that everyone will be comfortable and still able to maintain your desired professionalism.

Spend some time addressing your dress code before your conference happens. Make sure that everyone coming understands what you want to see. Too many event planners overlook this simple detail, and attendees show up wondering if they are over or underdressed. Add these details to daily schedules that you send out before your event happens.

12. Be Considerate

Remember that others have a routine and help them stick to it. Help your attendees be comfortable while making the shift from their daily work life to attending your conference. Don’t plan events too early or too late. Make sure when providing food and catering that multiple options are available, so no one goes hungry.

Whether it’s providing time for breaks or making healthier choices for catered meals, make your conference flow better by keeping your audience in mind. It is, after all about those coming to your event. Make their experience memorable so that they want to attend another fabulous conference put on by their favorite event planner: YOU!

The 7 Rules for a Highly Productive Meeting

The first thing to do is to determine if you even need this meeting to take place. Sometimes meetings happen without prior thought to what their purpose should be and how to bring that to pass. If you think that a meeting is a way to go, ask yourself some quick questions before scheduling it.

But, first things first, what is a meeting?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a meeting as “an act or process of coming together.” A meeting is a gathering of two or more people coming together for a specific purpose. These are commonly held when multiple people need to decide on agendas or ways to achieve a particular goal. They may occur when face-to-face interaction is required to make a decision. Meetings may also take place over the phone or a video chat. A meeting can be informal, such as a social meeting with friends, or a formal gathering, such as a business luncheon.

A meeting is defined as an act or process of coming together for a purpose or to achieve a goal.

To avoid wasting time and resources, communication for a meeting’s purpose is critical. Everyone, at some point in time, has attended a meeting and thought during or afterward about why it even happened. Don’t waste time in a meeting that could have been an email or quick one-on-one discussion with someone.

First, clarify the purpose of your meeting and write it down. Second, decide if this a one-way conversation that can be handled in an email or a phone call. And, don’t forget to ask the critical question if any of the information that needs to be shared of a delicate or personal nature. This brings in to question about figuring out who will be attending this meeting and why. And lastly, do you have enough time to prepare adequately?

So, what are the seven rules for planning a meeting?

No matter the purpose of a meeting, whether business-related or not, there are specific tasks which need to be completed to accomplish the underlying goal of that meeting. This is where planning comes into play. Yes, meetings can be boring even if planned out, but remember that you need to make sure it is necessary. And, they can be extremely efficient and productive when planned correctly.

The First Rule: Identify the Purpose of the Meeting

There are multiple reasons to hold a meeting. And, the success of your meeting starts with defining why you need to have it and setting the goals and objectives the event will address and solve. Make sure when making the list of reasons to hold the meeting, you are clear and concise. Clarifying the purpose of your meeting is an essential part of planning your event. And, clear goals and objectives help with the effectiveness of communication. This ensures that everyone in attendance understands why it is important.

Creating an Agenda

Because all meetings should have a clearly defined purpose, it makes sense that every meeting should have a clearly defined agenda. Creating an agenda will improve communication, even if your meeting is small and only has a few in attendance.

Lay out a sequence for the meeting. Plan time for a brief introduction to provide context, and for a discussion of next steps at the end. Decide how much time to devote to each item and what order makes sense. The longer it is, the harder it will be for people to remain focused, so it’s wise to underestimate how much your group can cover in the allotted time.

A well-written meeting agenda organizes and outlines the meeting’s required points of conversation. It highlights important information and helps attendees determine their roles and responsibilities within the meeting. For a planning meeting, the agenda is especially important as it helps to ensure that all planning aspects are addressed within the designated time. Define the planning meeting’s logistics. Provide information on the meeting’s time and location. Include special instructions, such as participation codes for conference calls and login information for online meetings.

It is important to remember that having an agenda is significant to the productivity of your event. An effective agenda should be clear, concise and readable. Share the agenda with participants when necessary, so it must be easy to follow. This agenda should promote effective communication and show the appropriate actions and steps to take to keep people on track and motivated to complete the tasks the meeting sets forth.

The Second Rule: Inviting the Right People

Now that you have determined that you need to hold a meeting, make sure to invite the correct people. You don’t want unnecessary individuals to put the time and effort into coming to something they either don’t belong at, or don’t need to be at.

In some corporate cultures, employees don’t need to participate — they only listen and head back to their workspaces. At other companies, employees participate freely. In today’s collaborative workplaces, interacting and sharing ideas is not only welcome, it’s frequently the purpose of the entire meeting. When you’re setting out your expectations, it’s also a good time to send out any required reading or material you’ll want those attending to look over. That way they’re prepared when they get to the meeting and there are no surprises.

Consider who can help you accomplish your goal and who will be affected by the meeting’s outcome. Identify key decision makers, people who are knowledgeable about (or have a stake in) the topic at hand, those who need to be informed in order to do their jobs, and anyone who will be required to implement decisions made. What about size? Keep problem solving meetings small (around 8 people). Include more people for brainstorming (as many as 18). If you’re providing updates or rallying the troops, be as inclusive as you want to be. But remember: time is money. Be conscious of the ripple effects your meeting can have on people’s time across the organization, and only invite those who absolutely have to be there.

The Third Rule: Time and Space

While it may seem simple, planning when and where your meeting will take place is of enormous importance. And, part of planning when it will be will also consist of who is coming. You will need to make sure that everyone will be available to come, especially if their jobs require the information being present at your meeting.

And, making sure you have a venue, whether it’s the office conference room or a larger gathering hall, is crucial. Make sure you have enough space for everyone.

Make sure that your meeting space fits to your agenda and goals.

As you look for a great location take into consideration the tone of the meeting. A small informal and intimate meeting would work great in a small room with the chairs set into a circle. A formal meeting may require a conference room. Will there be break-out sessions? You will need to prepare for multiple rooms. If this is a full or multi-day event, do you need to provide a room for a meal or activity? Larger meetings require more space, and it will often take longer to find an appropriate space so plan ahead. Be sure to find a space for your event before you publicize the date. Many people begin planning around a specific date only to find that the selected venue is not available, it may be necessary to make adjustments to the venue or the date, stay open to possibilities.

The Fourth Rule: Preparation

From technology to social media and even how you communicate your invitations to the meeting, you must make sure that everything is adequately prepared. You will need to identify and arrange everything needed for a productive meeting; this includes testing out all technology used during the meeting. Prearrange for all required items for the event, and make sure to pay attention to even the smallest details.

Preparation, a take-charge attitude and good oral communication skills are keys to effectively chairing a meeting. It is your responsibility as a chairperson to make sure the meeting fulfills its primary objectives within its preset time parameter. You also need to keep participants engaged and make sure everyone has a voice. Both what you say and how you say it can make the difference between an effective, productive meeting and one that “fails.”

In theory, everyone understands that preparation can make or break an important meeting. The more work you do before you walk into the room, the more productive and efficient you’ll be. But who has the time to properly prepare? Our checklist makes meeting prep quick and easy—be sure to print it out or save it for later. Each step is described in more detail below. Using the checklist and the principles behind it will ensure that you’ve covered all your bases—and that you won’t be wasting anyone’s time (including your own).

Identification for Attendees

Name tags and other identification products are perfect for any meeting

Name tags also provide confidence to those at a conference or meeting. Even if everyone doesn’t know each other, their names are visible and so introductions feel less intimidating. People can confidently call each another by their names.

The bottom line is that name tags don’t have to be expensive or fancy to be powerful. When used appropriately, name tags help to build community. The power within name tags is real. So, put one on today! We have an almost endless variety to meet any need.

The Fifth Rule: Participation

This rule is simple: make sure that everyone in attendance at your meeting knows why they are there. By giving everyone an assignment or asking them to help with a presentation, they will feel of value to the common cause.

From food to printing the agenda, everyone should be able to participate in the meeting. This includes assigning personnel to perform research, develop strategies, disseminate information and implement policies, establishing time frames and benchmark goals, and defining qualitative and quantitative measurement tools to gauge effectiveness. But, make sure to always follow up on actionable items in advance of their due dates.

The Sixth Rule: Stay on Task

From starting on time to your organization, the only way your meeting will flow without fail lies in your preparation. Every meeting should start with a “call to order” to get attention. Sometimes this can be a random prize drawing or a roll call.

Timing is essential, both from a logistic and productivity standpoint. It can be frustrating when things don’t get going because attendees are trickling into the room at their own pace. Make sure to take charge of the meeting. Start promptly and with the “call to order.”

Then, stay on task. Center all conversations around the goals and objectives of your event. Stick to your agenda; that’s why you made it in the first place. And, if things start to deviate course, get back as quickly and directly as you can. Make sure that everyone has a chance to be heard, but also make sure to reign the conversation in when necessary.

The Seventh Rule: Follow Up

Once your meeting has concluded, take the time to check to see if you need any follow up. Whether it is with one person or the entire attendance roster, follow up in just as important as the meeting itself. You need to measure the result and effectiveness of your meeting.

A meeting is only as good as the action it results in. Every meeting with an agenda should also have a desired outcome. As the organizer of the meeting you should continue to drive people towards that desired outcome and act like a “ringmaster” of the different opinions and cases presented at the table. Once consensus has been achieved this should be confirmed in an email so that everyone has written confirmation. You should also track your progress against these stated objectives until the task is complete.

And, don’t forget to clean up! From taking down any decorations to cleaning up leftover food, make sure you leave the venue as you found it. This keeps your venue options open for your next meeting (you don’t want to blacklist your company from anywhere).

Event Planning Made Perfect

Event planning is a marketing tool used by organizations of all sizes to communicate with current and potential clients and employees. It is the process of planning a festival, ceremony, competition, party, concert or convention. For many industries, nothing beats a hands-on experience created by personal interactions. Whether your event is big or small, the overall attendee experience needs to be good enough for them to want to come back next time.

event planning the tools you need to do your job

Many large companies, organizations and individuals are now hiring event planners to take over planning and socializing for their events. These events can range anywhere from a wedding to a small office meeting and anywhere in between. If not properly planned, any event no could contain hitches and bumps along the way.

Generally speaking, there are two markets for event planning services: corporate and social.

Corporations host trade shows, conventions, company picnics, meetings and holiday parties for employees, members or stockholders. Social events may include weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, parties, reunions and other events.

The Ever Important Event Planner

One of the first steps in succeeding as an event planner is finding a purpose or specialty. There are many different types of planners (wedding, large event, party, etc.), so finding a niche may be the easiest task at hand.

There are many reasons to hire an event planner when planning an event or a party. Event planners coordinate all the necessary details of these events. And face it, event planning takes, well, planning. So, why not hire a professional? An experienced event planner should be able to bring anyone’s vision of an event out successfully.

To fully succeed, a good event planner must have a passion for detail.

They also need drive and perseverance to stay in this competitive environment. Event planners play many roles during an event. Starting with the need to be a designer, they also need to be a leader, a problem solver, an innovator and a strategist. It is also important to have an appreciation for different cultures, religions and traditions.

Those seeking this line of work are encouraged to obtain a degree or certificate before starting in this vocation. Most experienced planners agree that jumping in head first is a bad idea as there is no foundation to stand on. Many encourage shadowing or volunteering with an experienced planner to develop the necessary rapport and tools.

Event planning is a highly competitive profession, and anyone considering this line of work needs to show up with a loaded tool belt. This belt needs to come equipped with the ability and skill to determine not only a great and inviting theme but also the ability to find vendors and suppliers to make any event come off without a hitch.

Finding Your Tool Belt

Event planning is about managing events that are intended to achieve unique and individual objectives. Many event planners just starting in the industry find themselves spending most of their time marketing themselves and finding clients. Take this time should to also get to know local vendors.

Vendors that are useful for any event planner are people or places such as florists, caterers, photographers and different venues. It’s always possible that a good vendor can play multiple parts in any event. As successful events are accomplished, this list will grow and can be used to maintain that necessary tool belt.

Effective communication is an essential key to successfully researching, designing, planning, and coordinating any special event. Event planning can be an overwhelming task if the correct tools are not readily available. It pays to know all available resources and will help when delegating responsibilities in advance.

Any time people gather together for a purpose, whether it’s for a conference, a formal dinner or a grand opening, someone needs to manage all the event details to guarantee that it is a success. These details should also include any vendors such as caterers, photographers or speakers depending on the particular specialty.

Hosting an event takes time, talent and perseverance.

To be a successful event planner requires a focus on these talents. It also requires getting to know the correct tools and how to use them. Merely having an eye for detail helps, but doesn’t complete the task of having the proper tools.

By utilizing the proper tools, creativity can flow more naturally and create the perfect atmosphere for any event. Let the juices flow and soar above the rest by having these tools readily available for any need. Take steps to make your event a success, and they’ll come back time and time again.

All themes for significant events can develop from great ideas, but making them come together, work well and having great attendance can be a grueling and daunting task. When an event is well organized, it essentially guarantees a good impression. This first impression is sure to leave a lasting impact. It can also help to set the current trends in event planning.

Expanding Your Tools

An important vendor is for custom credentials, name badges and lanyards. As many events require some sort of admission or identification, it is worth investing in these items. A good event planner knows that name tags and other supplies help guests understand where they need to be and who else is in attendance.

Identifying Each of the Visitors:

badge holders are only one tool you need for your perfect event planning tool belt

Many corporate events require that attendees wear name tags to be easily identified. These name tags can include names, titles and companies. When everyone is identified clearly at events, it can help ease introductions to others so that attendees can move on to more important activities during the event.

While most name tags are worn at corporate events, social events still get use from them as well. Remember, identifying is critical. Use a name tag for a table number or a descriptive sign for food items. Make sure your attendees know and understand your purpose and who they are and why they are attending your event and not the one down the hall.

Associating Each Visitor Appropriately:

adding ribbons to your event planning tool belt is essential in making any name badge stand out

Identify sponsors, presenters or speakers with different colored ribbons. Add a promotion or an advertisement to make someone stand out. Or, use these ribbons to differentiate guests and organizations from staff or volunteers. Customize each ribbon to express any desired effect. Choose from an abundance of stock titles or create a new one.

Every event can use some flair. Show style and preparation through packaging and presentation. Use ribbon rolls to illustrate the product’s benefit. Tell people more about the event at first glance with a highly personalized ribbon. Use it to wrap business or calling cards for a unique touch. Create a wall of ribbons that hold the name tags for the event.

Promoting Those in Attendance at Any Event:

lanyards are a great event planning tool

Use custom lanyards to add a sense of identity to work functions, conferences, trade shows and other events. When people are flowing through an event venue, it becomes necessary to keep track of them using credentials. Lanyards can add value to the event when customized with the convention name, sponsors or logo on them. Event planners often order the same design on different colored lanyards for different attendees or officials.