Organizing a Company Seminar or Conference for the First Time?

People in a conference

You have been tasked to organize a seminar or conference that your company will host this year. The task may be intimidating if you have not done it before, but do not panic. If you are feeling lost and you do not know where to begin, here is a guide that can help you.

Budget and Planning

Organizing a huge corporate event that will be attended by dozens, or even hundreds, of people sounds like a massive undertaking. You have to schedule speakers, contact suppliers, find a suitable meeting space in Seattle, WA, that can accommodate the number of attendees, etc.

Before you get overwhelmed with the numerous tasks that you need to do, start with the basics. Establish a budget. It will guide the decisions you make throughout the entire process. Talk to a coworker who has previously organized a seminar or conference of the same size. They might have a record of the much was spent on food and beverage, venue, necessary equipment, and marketing materials. Form an estimate based on their spending, but add a bit more to the final budget in case you encounter an unexpected expense.

Once a budget has been approved, start planning. List down all you need to do and create a timeframe. Identify which suppliers need to be contacted first and which necessities can be procured closer to the event. You might need to look for venue options early since you likely will meet with several providers. You want to book a venue as soon as you can to avoid being left with zero options because everywhere else has been taken. You also should start talking with potential speakers to tell them to clear their calendars. 

List down all the tasks you need to accomplish, including when to follow up so that you will not forget any crucial detail.

Identify Your Objectives

What do you want attendees or the company to gain after the event? Do you want employees to learn about new practices within the industry for them to apply to their work? Do you want to sell a product and turn a profit?

Your objectives will determine who you should invite as guests or speakers, the topic that will be discussed, and the activities that you will host throughout the seminar or conference. You need clear and concise objectives that you will have to share with all participants in advance.

Create an Efficient Registration Process

Speaker in a conference

You no longer have to wait for the day of the event to determine who and how many will attend. You can create a digital portal where invited guests can RSVP. This will allow you to prepare exactly how much food is needed to be prepared and served. In addition, your digital portal can also be a one-stop-shop that will provide all the information that participants need, including the location of the venue, how to get there, and, if they are flying in, nearby accommodation.

Your work does not end during and after the event. You will have to monitor if everything is going to plan and address any problem that will suddenly arise. You may also need contact and follow-up attendees days after the seminar or conference in case they have questions or concerns, want to make a purchase, or simply to say thank you for their attendance and support.

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