Conference Planning Basics: A Step-By-Step Guide
Updated: Nov 5, 2020
As an event planner, planning a conference can be one of the most difficult and tedious tasks you face—especially without prior experience. It can take several months and sometimes even up to a year of careful preparation to make sure that your conference goes exactly as planned—which makes it all worth it, right?
We here at Channel Audio, have thrown together this clear and concise guide with a few points to consider before taking the first few steps toward your perfect conference!
1. Select a Venue
The single most important piece of your conference’s foundation is the venue. Oftentimes, more popular venues are booked anywhere from 9 months to a year in advance, with some large annual events booking their venues multiple years ahead of time.
Some factors that should determine the best venue for your conference or event are:
Location of the event with consideration to the locations of attendees (is there a perfectly centralized location for a nationwide conference?).
2. Content, Content, Content
Content is so very crucial, but is often one of the most challenging pieces of the puzzle event planning, as it can be highly subjective. The keynote speakers, entertainment, panelists, experts, and whoever else you may have in mind, must not only be relevant to the conference’s subject, but they have to be people your guests will respond well to.
You may only need a keynote speaker if it is a corporate summit, or you may want to spice it up with a DJ, performer, or games. It is important to know your guests and the goal of the conference before pursuing content bookings. These people are often in high-demand, so have a plan and begin reaching out as soon as possible.
3. Find Sponsors
In addition to the budget of your organization, sponsors can be the best way to fund your event and ensure that you have everything you need to make it a success. They not only provide a great financial investment but often they will be a tremendous asset when it comes to planning and making sure everything runs smoothly. After all, their name will be attached to it too. When it comes to selection, as with content, you will want sponsors that are consistent with your event’s theme.
4. Food Selection
The execution of your event is all in the small things. While food may seem like a nice afterthought to throw together, it is often one of the most discussed parts of an event. Did you have incredible steak cooked to perfection right in front of you? Did the 6-foot tall chocolate fountain become the center of attention as guests marveled at its size? Every choice you make matters when planning an event, and we encourage you not to underestimate the importance of great food—as it will surely be remembered for years to come.
5. Audio Visual
Imagine having the perfect venue booked, great content reserved, wonderful sponsors, and amazing food, only to have your conference riddled with technical issues, ruining the actual purpose of the gathering.
When considering how much of your budget to dedicate to AV, there are a few questions to ask yourself:
Do you need a projector to accompany presentations? If so, how large?
What size/how many speakers will you need in order to fill the room, without creating feedback or making it unbearable for those in the front?
Based on the events and entertainment that are scheduled, which microphones will be best for your various uses?
Audio Visual decisions can absolutely make or break your event, which is why we highly recommend hiring an experienced and knowledgeable AV company to handle this for you. They should be able to simply ask you a few questions about your event (how many attendees, venue name, what features you will need, etc.) to determine the specific equipment and setup you will need.
Check out our blog post that goes into detail on finding the right AV company HERE.
Once you have your planning complete, you must ensure the event runs smoothly. It is essential always to be communicating with your team, vendors, and most importantly, your guests. If you have carefully prepared, and you make sure to stay involved from start to finish, you should be all set for an absolutely perfect event!
For more on this, be sure to read our blog post on communicating with event vendors HERE.
We hope this helps! Please contact Channel Audio for all of your Audio Visual needs in the Mid-South—we would love to help you put together a perfect event!