Planning conferences doesn't have to be an event where you dread the outcome, stress about how things will turn out, or wonder if your conference goers are engaged. Whether you're a big business, or just trying to get an important client meeting together, there are a few things that you can do that will ensure the success of your conference as well as ensure that you as a conference organizer have a less stressful experience.
Get Out in Front
Time and again experience shows that if you want to minimize the amount of follow-up questions and corporate hand holding, send out an introductory or "welcome" e-mail to all those involved. This allows conference goers to know exactly what to expect. The content of this email can be brief and succinct; or touch on a variety of key factors, be a one stop shop of sorts. Regardless of how in-depth your welcome e-mail is, it should include basics like parking information, food and drink restrictions at the venue, travel arrangements, and preliminary agenda. Your conference guests will thank you for keeping them in the loop, and you'll thank yourself for having to write less follow-up e-mails.
Use an Event App
If you really want to bring your meet-up into the next century, just upload information into the cloud and use an event planning app to help distribute information to each conference goer. The advantages to using an event app for android are almost endless. Attendees and speakers can send messages to each other, update agenda in real time, map schedules, make various changes on the fly, and more. If you're in a position where most of the people involved in your conference are tech savvy, take advantage of the opportunity and let the app do most of the work for you.
Put Thought Into Breaks
One thing that might be obvious to an attendee, but not so much to a planner, is that everyone looks forward to the breaks. Not only have breaks been shown to increase productivity and creativity, but they can also provide some special opportunities for networking and taking care of other last minute tasks. Make sure you have an idea of how many breaks you will need ahead of time, and mark them in the schedule accordingly. This way the guests don't spend time guessing and waiting, and will always have an idea of what's going on. If dining areas are designated at your venue, you might want to take advantage of the situation and assign a variety of groups together to help mix and match diverse personalities and skill sets. More often than not people will appreciate the chance to go outside of the box and learn something new.
Make it About the Solutions, Not the Problems
Oftentimes conferences are designed to be a meet up of important minds to deliver information, but sometimes problem solving tasks can fall somewhat by the wayside. This is the opposite of how you want to use your invaluable resources, energy and time. Develop agenda that allows people to expressive and creative, brainstorming ideas off each other in an interactive way. Make use of social media such as twitter which will allow people to bounce ideas back and forth off each other in a real time situation, this will allow thoughts to happen in a rapid fashion, and simultaneously make everyone feel like they are truly part of the event.
How you design and host conferences is evolving. Don't be stuck in the crowd that sticks too closely to traditional ways. Take a proactive approach with the steps outlined above and you too will be able to deliver conferences fit for the modern age.