A key note lecture taking to much time to finish, a moderator not knowing how to handle a noisy audience, zero interactivity, an unfriendly security guard, a hostess at the welcome desk not knowing to point the direction of the plenary room, a serious typo in the meeting booklet, not enough food or high tables to eat, a mobile event app with complicated log-in, ...
There are many details that can go wrong in conference organisation that send your attendees home with a 'sub-optimal' learning and networking experience.
To avoid most of the pitfalls, there is only one solution: invest time in planning and working with your speakers and organising committee. Obviously, what we all lack is time and budget to do so.
Some key tips to 'square the triangle':
- Get a motivated team of organisers and suppliers involved. Without motivation and passion, no good things happen.
- Think about your concept: What do you want to achieve? How to engage all participants? How to avoid 'one way communication' and truly make your conference an interactive learning experience? Put this concept on paper and get consensus with all persons involved.
- Develop work streams that are managed carefully via planning & indicator tracking: programme elaboration, promotional campaign, registration management, venue management and audio-visual&technology are the most important.
Prepare your meetings
- Prepare your project meetings and focus on the key points - with clear 'decisions to take' and minutes. Work via conference call if needed - it makes everybody comes on time and only speaks when relevant.
- Use collaboration tools to share files, milestones, etc. - it makes it all more efficient.
- Produce a clear project overview file that summarizes the entire conference into the smallest detail (including briefings for all suppliers involved). Its worth the effort.
Magic doesn't happen for granted - it requires motivation, passion and rigorous planning.
If you manage to do so however, the rewards will be yours: an event team & suppliers that deliver, a programme that works, an organising team that is satisfied and participants that truly benefit from an interactive learning and networking experience.