5 Tips for Planning a Conference

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photo credit: jurvetson via photopin cc

Planning an event or conference can be a daunting task, especially if you’re looking to host dozens of speakers and sponsors, on top of hundreds attendees. Whether your conference is big or small, the overall attendee experience needs to be good enough for them to want to come back next time.

After you’ve planned the theme of your conference, booked your speakers, found the perfect venue, and started marketing the conference on every medium you can, there are still a few more things you can do to make sure your conference will be successful:

  • Spend the time planning name tags. For conferences and events, name tags are rarely “one size fits all.” Differentiate between attendees, sponsors, VIP and speakers. You can do this with different colored adhesive name tags or paper inserts for badge holders on lanyards. By making groups of people distinguishable from others, people will feel like they’re part of a group. On top of that, they’ll more easily recognize their relationship with your event, and their relationship with other people attending the event, making it easier to network.
  • Provide a variety of refreshments. Keep in mind that not every guest will have the same dietary needs, and if you put extra consideration into your refreshments, your attendees will notice. Try to plan vegetarian, gluten-free lactose intolerant snacks and refreshments, because chances are you’ll have at least a handful of people who fall into those categories, and they will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
  • Make sure your venue is connected. Plug outlets and cell reception are absolute must-haves for conferences. We live in a digital age, and your attendees will likely be connected to the internet or on their phones for most of the event, so make sure they have somewhere to recharge. (Make sure they know where they can recharge, too.)
  • Hand out grab bags. This is a great way to bring in sponsors and to give something back to your attendees. Stuff those bags full of pens, notepads, brochures, venue maps, custom lanyards, and coupons for local restaurants. You can bring in sponsors by asking them to supply a grab bag goodie, and it gives them the opportunity to put their name on something every guest will see.
  • Allot some safe relaxation space. Designate an area in your venue for attendees to just sit and relax without having to network or be bombarded by anyone. Let your attendees balance work, networking and sanity on a comfy couch and a bottle of water. It doesn’t have to be much space, but let your attendees know it’s there.

Get some name tags for your conference today!

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