Conference hosting can sometimes feel like juggling-jello. Whether you’ve thrown more events than you can count or you’re just running your first, you understand the crazy, stressful, sleepless seasons of piecing a conference together. With so many moving pieces and variables, it can be easy to run past the simple conference basics. As you’re sucked into the weeds, you may find yourself forgetting the important foundational blocks on creating a memorable and solid conference.
Having a checklist to reference some of your conference’s most basic needs can help ensure that the smaller details don’t get overshadowed and reduce the impact of your event.Here are some questions you can use to help create your own check-off list to make sure you have your bases covered.
What is the purpose of your conference?
Is it a retreat of sorts? Is it an opportunity to build teams within organizations? Is it an event to help people launch business ideas or network? Keeping in mind the purpose of your event will help structure your event from start to finish. Every element of your conference should intentionally build its focus towards that purpose.
How is your registration process?
Registration is the first impression of your event. Having a clunky or complicated registration form could create the probability of your potential registrants running into obstacles. Streamlining and simplifying the sign-up process allows your registrants to sign up without hesitation and look forward to coming to your event.
What is your check-in process?
Registrants will remember if they had a horrible check-in experience. Preparing your volunteers and having a clear process will help eliminate any complications at check in. If you want to make sure you have your check-in process honed in, feel free to check out our ‘How to Become a Check In Ninja’.
Do your registrants know what to expect?
Your registrants will know what to expect when they are in the loop on information. Providing schedules, conference maps, lists of speakers and vendors will help keep your registrants prepared and informed on all that will be available to them at the event.
What is your fuel?
People need fuel to stay engaged. Make sure they are caffeinated, hydrated, and fed so that you are not having to fend off a hangry and potentially distracted audience.
Are you providing breaks?
Time is incredibly valuable to our fast-paced culture, therefore value the time they have dedicated to you and use it wisely. While breaks are necessary for clarity of mind and regaining energy to stay engaged, be sure not to provide too much downtime where they feel their time and money was wasted (Unless, of course, if this is supposed to be a retreat style of a conference).
How is the flow of your event?
Does it seem monotone? Sometimes having a conference of only speakers who speak on topics can begin to drag. Add some variety to the flow of your event. Diversify your presentation type. Share a video or two and plan networking sessions; insert breaks and times to explore the exhibit hall.
How are you engaging your registrants?
Providing Q&A opportunities and networking sessions will help registrants walk away feeling like they gained value from the event. They should be able to build upon current relationships and create new connections that prove to be just as valuable, if not more, than the information taken away from speaker content.
They say success is simply “the natural consequence of applying the basic fundamentals”. With the hectic, craziness of conference planning, it is inevitable that little balls may be dropped here or there; however, as you focus on the fundamentals and what’s most important, registrants won’t even see those dropped balls. Attendees will walk away feeling that their time and money was well spent, as they search your Facebook for your next event.