by Lina Martinez

Got a conference to plan and an empty to-do list? If planning isn’t your natural forte you’re going to need our guide to creating a conference schedule that ticks all the boxes and facilities that impress.

But what happens first and how do you get your task scheduling off the ground? Our short guide will help you out.

Assemble your team

Not just those people you enjoy working with but those who you know will add real value to your project and just make life easier. Have an initial introductory meeting to begin explaining the purpose of the conference and talk through any initial ideas. Follow-up with a second meeting to assign roles and most importantly: tasks.

Work smart

You don’t want overlaps and you don’t want vital elements overlooked, so assign tasks using smart software. Everyone can see what they’re doing, everyone can add their own notes and you’ll be able to see that the planning is on track.

Order

Which came first the booking or the location? Well, in fact it’s both. You’ll need to liaise with the conference facility of your choice and pin down three date options. Then you’ll need to offer these dates out to the PAs of the guests you’re hoping to invite, with a clear cut off for replies.

Divide your respondents into two tiers, those you must have and those whose presence isn’t quite as important. Then you’ll be able to go with the majority of top tier replies on a date that works for the majority.

Once you’ve got your facility booked, you’ll be well on your way. Have your invitations sent out asap, along with the promise of a running order to follow.

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Image from Pixabay

Details

Then it’s time to get stuck into the details. What technology will you need? Think about a PA system, equipment that a speaker will make use of including a projector, lap top, wifi and so on. There will be other options to, such as electric heater rental and so on.  You’ll also need to book onsite tech support to make sure everything works smoothly on the day.

Catering is also on your list, so leave plenty of time to get sufficient quotes and bear in mind that you may have delegates with allergies and intolerances, not to mention the need for vegetarian and vegan options. Ask about any specific catering needs your delegate may have.

Your conference planning can feel overwhelming but the key will be to have a team that works together seamlessly and understands clearly their roles and what’s expected of them.

Get your conference facility booked as soon as you can and have your invitations sent out as a matter of priority, with a clear RSVP date. Then you can concentrate on booking all the small touches that will make the event one that runs smoothly and without dramas. Have two or three people on site for support on the day with one person making the final decisions.

The worst that can happen is that your colleagues will be so impressed, they’ll book you in to organise the next one.