Conferences can be large or small. Large scale conferences are usually held at convention centres that can accommodate thousand of attendees, medium scaled ones usually happen in a lecture theatre while small conferences can be held at conference venues that have meeting room facilities.
The first thing on your checklist should be establishing the purpose of the conference by answering the three defining questions which are whom you are trying to reach or the target audience you would like to attend the conference, what is it you want to get across or the main purpose of what you are trying to achieve and lastly where the conference should happen.
Another important thing that should come first is the budget unless you are appointed to estimate the budget yourself. If you are, set a budget at this early stage so you can work within that budget eliminating the risk of bills piling up one after another. Itemise your budget list so you know exactly how much goes into particulars.
Next is identifying the number of people attending the conference or a forecast on the maximum number of people you would like to attend the conference. You simply cannot go on without having this number clearly decided on as it defines so much in the planning process.
Now, choose your conference committee to help you out. This simply cannot be done alone as there are too many things that need to be done as well as keep an eye on. Create your planning calendar so you can keep track of how you are progressing so far and ask everyone to update the calendar every day.
Sit down with your committee and list down the keynote speakers you would like to invite. List a lot of speakers from the start and make your calls so that you know exactly who is available on the dates of your conference. Narrowing the list down to three just to find out that all of them are not freely available on the particular dates is pointless. Now from the list of speakers available, narrow it down to the ones you really want. Send your formal invitation, confirm their attendance and ask for a brief description of what they will be talking about as well as the speakers biography, notable or relevant achievements and a picture that the speaker would like to use so you can include this when you market your conference as well as include it in the conference programme.
Now it is time to seek for the right venue where you will be holding the conference. Do your searches online because the great thing about today is most establishments have websites that allow you to see when venues are available. When choosing your venues, consider parking space, accommodations and amenities, audio visual equipment readily available and banqueting packages. Sit down with your team, discuss the prospective venues and finalise which venues you should visit on foot. When visiting the venue itself, observe all the places you will be utilising if this suits your preference. Ask for sample contracts of previous conferences, brochures and pricelists so you can compare when you sit down with the committee later on. When you get back, finalise the venue.
The last frontier is deciding on the giveaways or tokens of appreciation. Be on the practical side and choose something memorable and actually useful unless you want to spend on a give away that is also given away to a random man on the street as soon as the conference is over.
All in all, planning conference events are hard work whether it is held at a big convention centre, a lecture theatre or conference venues with small meeting room facilities. But the key to planning a conference is having lots of time to plan it. Big conferences are even planned a year ahead. In this way you can book the venue you want and the keynote speaker you prefer without being set back because they are not readily available due to an earlier booking. Also, following trends on big international conferences might help in the creativity area. Conferences like these are always the talk of the town. Surely you would want yours to be regarded in the same manner.
Kathryn Dawson writes articles for Keele, offering to host an event that will be remembered for all the right reasons. Their meeting room facilities and lecture theatre are the perfect places for you who want to set up the most amazing event ever. Find more about conference venues today.