We were recently asked about the basics of running a good conference and what were they key most important components of ensuring a successful event. One of our trustees mentioned the phrase ‘death by lists’! The foundation of any conference is making sure that all you ducks are not only in a row – they need to be in the ‘right row’. And, if you run an annual event, the best time to start to look at the next conference is pretty much as soon as the last conference has finished.

So, there are several critical areas that can make or break a conference; timing, content, delegates and keeping the event fresh and inviting year after year. We recently saw a blog that called for ideas and new marketing tactics to attract attendees to a conference that had been going for 85 years. This recognises that even the most renowned and long-standing event cannot afford to rest on its laurels.Some of the really great tips for reinvigorating the conference included:

  • Getting keynote speakers to record a good teaser segment and post it on the conference website – and yes, have a conference website if at all possible
  • Find out what topics are important to delegates by canvassing those who attended last year and ask what it is they want to see e.g. more networking, activities, specific speakers and topics etc.
  • Find out why those who have attended previously are not attending now – what can you do as a conference organiser to reinvigorate attendance from those who are apathetic
  • If possible, have a fun component, a game to encourage networking and sponsor involvement
  • Don’t forget those traditional types of communication, especially in a world where we are continually bombarded by online messages – a ‘postcard’ as a reminder for example can be a really effective tool to stimulate engagement and attendance.
  • Encourage speakers to distill their talk down to one key point at the end so that the audience can take the main point away – this makes it more memorable
  • Don’t forget to make time for delegates to network – for some it may be the only chance they have of getting face to face with their peers
  • And, investigate the possibility of attendees who cannot attend to have the possibility to access live streaming – this could be another potential revenue stream

We’d also love to hear your tips –send them into us info@associations.org.nz and we’ll publish them in the next issue! Or, respond to our blog.

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One thought on “Event Management

  1. Hi Rosemary,
    Firstly I didn’t know your organisation also did event management. Secondly as president of the Scottish Clans Association I am always looking for new ideas and areas of engagement with our members. If appropriate I would love to have a chat about what I am trying to achieve and how that might involve your company and at what cost, both funding and socially.
    I am currently starting to organise our annual dinner for September and would welcome your input or potential stewardship.
    Give me a call on 021 739643 or 09 476 4539.

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