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Conference planning checklist

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Hello there! So, you’ve decided to hold a conference! I must say it is quite an arduous task and at the same time a wonderful challenge to ramp up your ladder to success.

At a glance, orchestrating a conference may seem like a humongous task. However, fret not! Here’s an all-encompassing checklist for you to keep a track of everything stress-free!

Topics in This Article

Conference planning checklist

  1. Goals and Objectives
  2. Pick a theme
  3. Make a budget
  4. Build your formidable team
  5. Scheduling
  6. Find Sponsors
  7. Pick a venue and settle on a date
  8. Keep your Speakers ready
  9. Start registering your attendees
  10. Promote the event
  11. Take care of on-site planning
  12. Brief the volunteers
  13. Host your Conference
  14. Feedback and Suggestions

Conference planning checklist

Conference Planning Checklist, Conference Planning Checklist for 2022
Conference Planning Checklist

1. Goals and Objectives

Objectives refer to the primary reason why you decided to organize this conference.

Did you want to increase the awareness of your brand?
Did you wish to create a change in your own way?
Who did you do it for?
Did you want to educate your employees on something?
Why did you do it?
What did you wish to achieve from this conference?

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Once you can answer these questions, it will be easier to align your objectives.

Keeping the end in mind: One of the essential factors when it comes to planning a conference or for that matter anything. The goal of your conference must be set on par with the ideals. Even if it is impossible to achieve, you must strive for it. Some questions to align your goals with:

What do you want the takeaway for your conference to be?
What is the turnout rate you want?
Does your event need a profit? If it does, how much do you want it to be?

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2. Pick a theme

The catharsis of your conference should appeal to the audience you are targeting. It should be something people can easily connect with and it draws out a strong emotion from within.

For example:

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‘Allowed to make mistakes’ sounds much more appealing than ‘Excerpts on psychological case studies of why making mistakes can aid in the growth of better decision making and a enhance mental fortitude.’

Although, the latter sounds more classy, fancy, and sophisticated; no one’s going to show up.

Why? You know it better!

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3. Make a budget

Making a budget early on the plan helps you to clear out many aspects of your plan. It also saves you the trouble of dealing with unsolicited surprises like running out of money to pay a speaker or vendor.

According to Eventbrite, “Budget is broken down by marketing and promotion (43%), speakers and talent (32%), printed materials (29%), venues (18%).”
With this as a roadmap, you should be able to see how your money gets dispersed on your needs like :

  • Venue
  • Equipment
  • Accommodation
  • Transportation
  • Catering
  • Speaker fees
  • Activities
  • Marketing
  • Team members

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4. Build your formidable team

One person could barely manage to do it all even with an ample amount of time. ( In case you can, give me an autograph, Superhuman!)

Your core team must roughly look like this :

Project Manager

This is the brain of the event planning team. Oversees all the departments and manages budgets, makes the final call in all purchasing decisions, drives strategy.

Venue

This guy is your go-to person for getting updates on the venue, vendors, volunteers and also security, food, beverages, sponsors as well as staff.

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5. Scheduling

This is the head that goes on checking if everything is on the right track of time. If the speaker is ready if the speaker next to him knows he’s up soon and makes sure that everyone knows what’s going to happen next. This is the busiest during the actual event.

Creative Design

Basically, the artistic guy who makes you look good on webpages, social media platforms, the hall, the venue and even takes care of your banners and posters,

Marketing and Communications

The team who makes sure every person who fits into your target audience know that you are holding a conference and sees to it that they attend it and also tell others,

Well, that’s basically it.

You need to choose your team very carefully as even if one part of the mechanism goes out of sync, the whole mechanism will fall apart. It is your job to prevent that from happening.

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6. Find Sponsors

There’s no way you can hold a conference entirely with the money given by the company or your own. Also, it never hurts to have more money to spend and make it more grandiose.

Also, make sure you find relevant sponsors.

We don’t want a gaming company sponsoring an event called ‘ Keep your child away from phones.’

Decide how much the sponsors can affect your conference. Will they be able to show off their logos? Will they get to have their speech time?

It is your conference so you should know how much you can afford to give them.

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7. Pick a venue and settle on a date

You should carefully pick the time:

  • Make sure the event date doesn’t clash with holidays, festivals, or vacations. Since people would want to spend some quality time with their families.
  • It’s better to keep it on weekdays than weekends since for most people attending conferences is a part of their job.
  • Keep it on the last days of the week like Thursdays and Fridays, so they can go sightseeing after the conference is done.

Once you’ve picked a date, look for venues available on that date.

  • It should match the mood of your event.
  • The most popular venues are hotels, universities, and independent venues.
  • Choose a place with a placid and serene atmosphere so that they can calm down and focus on the conference.
  • Check if it’s easy to travel
  • Check if there’s a catering service available or not.

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8. Keep your Speakers ready

Having good speakers will gain attraction towards your event. Even a single speaker who is well known and well respected in that field will boost the credibility of your event as well as other speakers and accordingly many more will be willing to attend.

  • Make sure all speakers have the AV equipment they requested and its in good condition
  • Check if the speakers need to be paid or need to be compensated in any other form.
  • See to it if they have any dietary preferences or need special attention in any specific matters.
  • Do they need to have transportation and accommodation arranged for them?
  • Make sure the speaker is going speak on topics that align with that day’s agenda
  • Finish off the conference with a motivational speaker on a high note.

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9. Start registering your attendees

Now, it’s time to see how many people will be coming to behold the big stage maneuvered by you. It’s probably the most exciting part. It’s better to have a website made for it with a bare minimum of

  • An appropriate domain
  • Must-know details about the conference
  • Browsable conference calendar/program
  • Registration form where people can sign up or buy tickets

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10. Promote the event

Now that your conference is set to take place, time to make sure everyone knows about it.

So, assemble your Marketing and Communications. It’s their time to work to the one and flood the news of your conference using all the available means.

Online,

  • Social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter – all depending on your target audience)
  • Relevant forums where potential attendees and target audience might hang out
  • Own blogs and press releases

Also, ask your speakers to promote it on their social media platforms and have a flashy hashtag to steal a glance from your audience.

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11. Take care of on-site planning

We need to mind that the on-site preparations should not be too messy. Make sure to maintain a tranquil and soothing atmosphere so that neither the participants nor the staff gets too stiff.

Some pointer:

  • Will there be a dress code?
  • Who will guard the door and check the tickets?
  • Where will the vendors set up the booths?
  • Who will cater for the attendees?
  • Where will the sponsors and speakers sit?
  • Where will the refreshments be served?

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12. Brief the volunteers

Be sure to personally give a final run down to the volunteers. When it comes to the actual event, managing the volunteers plays an effective role in the success of the event,

Be sure that the volunteer knows his/her way around the area they are assigned and they are aware of their duties.

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13. Host your Conference

Now, it’s time for all your hard work to shine. However, you won’t even have time to tremble with excitement. It’s going to be hectic!

You won’t have much to worry about if you’ve taken care of the above steps, just police around to weed out any potential troublemaking issues.

Something to jot down.

  • Personally, introducing the speakers
  • Calling back-up speakers for any last-minute cancellations
  • Taking attendee feedback personally during the event
  • Communicating with journalists present.

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14. Feedback and Suggestions

Finally, it’s over? Not really. After the main show is wrapped up, follow up with everyone.

Show a token of gratitude to your team, the speakers, the volunteers, sponsors, vendors personally.

A little thank you can help you keep up the amicable relations for a long time.

Also, collect feedback from the participants to gain their valuable insight on what could have been better, Their eyes might have seen something prominent you missed in the haste.

Also, collect feedback from the participants to gain their valuable insight on what could have been better, Their eyes might have seen something prominent you missed in the haste.

Make sure you contact them while the conference is still fresh in their heads.

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So, I hope you’ll be able to orchestrate the most harmonious and memorable conference! Good Luck!

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