Planning a conference is a challenging task – you have to keep many details in mind and not forget anything. However, a human’s brain is not a computer, and mistakes happen. Fortunately, you can deal with many conference-related problems at the very last minute – but there are things you should never forget.
Neglecting a backup plan, overlooking small details that can cost you much money and time, not preparing for the potential challenges – are some of the main mistakes you can make as an event planner. Read on to find out more about them and get prepared for all the potential problems.
Here are some things you should avoid when planning a conference.
Neglecting a Backup Plan
It is crucial to prepare a backup plan on how to act in unexpected situations from the early stages of planning the whole event. For example, what will you do if a speaker cancels a presentation? How will you deal with an equipment failure? How will you operate in case of extreme weather? These are the questions you should answer before the event starts.
If a speaker cancels, ensure you have an alternative speaker ready. If technical equipment fails, make sure you have more than one copy of all the presentation materials. If there is a small probability that people won’t be able to attend due to the weather, consider having an alternative plan on how to proceed in that case.
For example, always be prepared to switch to a remote meeting mode, meaning you should keep a video conferencing platform and conference interpreting services ready at hand.
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Doing Everything on Your Own
The worst thing you can do while planning a conference is doing everything yourself or talking over with one person only. A single person cannot take responsibility for everything. If you get sick or are dealing with another emergency, everything will be delayed or canceled – from arranging flights and car rentals for guests to preparing the conference location.
Also, remember that engaging more people means more ideas and suggestions, and a thoughtful task delegation allows you to run all the preparations smoothly and effectively. Thus, it is always a good idea to involve others in the planning process – after all, you can get a new perspective on things and foresee as many details as possible.
Lack of Feedback and Support
Asking for help might be very embarrassing for many people, but it is vital to reach out to others when needed. People themselves are unlikely to offer their support if they don’t know it’s needed. For that reason, make sure to ask those who have the potential to help out about their skills and availability before you are in trouble.
You might be surprised to see how many people want to help and how many diverse skills they have! Besides, you’ll know to whom exactly to reach out in case you need something.
Moreover, people who really want to help you out are indeed interested in your conference to succeed! It is crucial not to ignore people’s willingness to help even if they have no previous experience with an event organization. They can still help out in many other ways, such as posting on social media or sharing your posts with their friends.
Besides, getting feedback from non-experts is incredibly beneficial in understanding whether your conference will meet your guests’ expectations or requires some things to reconsider.
Not Confirming Guest Attendance
The problem with unconfirmed participants is always there! There will always be people who show their interest in attending the conference and even register, but eventually, change their mind at the last minute.
It is always easier to prevent this problem than try to handle it afterward: ask your guests beforehand whether they are committed or not (i.e., whether they have any issues that would prevent them from attending).
You should also clearly indicate your expectations for the conference participants. For example, provide them with a clear conference schedule and information on confirming their attendance or notifying you if they cannot attend the event. If someone quits participating without giving any reasons, it will help ask more questions and understand why, as it may be their personal emergency or the gap in your organization process.
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Organizing a conference from scratch is a complex task that requires a lot of preparation and a thoughtful approach. Besides, planning an event takes arranging the location and speakers, evaluating all possible risks, and dealing with them beforehand.
Make sure to establish effective communication between conference organizers and guests in order to collect as much feedback as possible. This will help you meet people’s expectations towards the event and provide them with the necessary information needed to participate.
It is equally important to make sure in advance that everyone in your organizational group understands their responsibilities, knows all the conference details, and is ready for it. This way there will be no problems when the time for the conference comes!