Attending conferences in your industry, maybe even presenting there, are invaluable ways to build your business network. And establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Organizing a conference takes a few steps further. It gives you a chance to establish your industry leadership, showcase your expertise, nurture existing connections, and forge new ones.
Even now, during the coronavirus pandemic, expert conferences in all fields happen constantly – online. Attendees tune in from across the globe to stay on top of industry developments.
But badly organized conferences can be utterly soul-sucking, and attendees will have to scramble to get the most out of them despite everything.
If you do decide to take the leap, here are the top five things to keep in mind to organize a conference that your attendees will love and remember.
When you sit down to brainstorm potential topics for your conference, choosing a broad theme is tempting. Why not appeal to a wide audience?
Resist this temptation.
Try to please everyone and you’ll end up boring the majority.
Conferences should aim at a specific group of people in your field and allow them to learn about significant new developments in the industry.
That may result in only 100 people attending, instead of 1000. But the people that do participate will appreciate highly specific information that caters to their needs. And they’ll prefer learning from the leaders in their industry.
People can tell if organizers are passionate about the subjects of their conferences.
This means that your knowledge constrains your choice of topic. Focus on the issues you know most about instead, those close to your heart. It’s not worth picking anything just because you think it will interest the most people.
A conference lives or dies with the quality and diversity of its speakers.
No matter how compelling the topic is, if the presentations and discussions are dull or repetitive, attendees will tune out.
That means it’s not enough that your speakers are bleeding-edge experts. They also have to know how to give a captivating talk.
Something to consider is that an invitation to speak at an industry conference is immensely flattering. If there are people you want to forge closer bonds with, invite them as speakers. You could also give a spot to a promising new player in your field – and earn their gratitude.
Organizing a conference is a huge task. Involving your team won’t just take a load off your shoulders. It will also improve the final quality of the event.
Delegating important tasks to your team members can be difficult, but it shows that you trust them and appreciate their input. Even more so when you ask for their professional and creative contributions.
Covering different perspectives is immensely appealing to your eventual audience. Your own knowledge and passion are important, but not all that matters.
By involving your team members in the conference, you can harness their own networks, creativity, and passion.
Make sure that the environment is right.
Whether the conference is virtual or physical doesn’t matter. Attendees will flee even the most interesting talk in a drafty, poorly lit lecture hall with a flickering projector. Likewise, they will drop out of a poorly managed chatroom with connection issues.
If your conference is online, choosing the right platform is essential. That means researching – and testing – how stable it is, how many users it allows, how many sessions in parallel, and which features it offers. Researching audio and video quality, file and screen sharing, and speed can go a long way.
When organizing a conference in real life, the setting becomes even more critical. Considerations start with choosing a venue that is convenient for your target group and reach all the way to picking the right catering service. Having high-quality audiovisual equipment and professional lighting can make all the difference in the conference experience of your attendees.
You need to find the right participants for your conference.
Where? Pick the right channels to reach your target audience.
The more specific the channel, the better. Some options are industry groups on LinkedIn, mailing lists, personal invitations, paid ads on relevant sites in your field, or word of mouth in your business network.
There are people out there who will benefit immensely from your conference. The key is to let them know about it.
Organizing a conference is an excellent way to expand your business network and position yourself as a leader in your field.
To ensure the success of your event, catering to your attendees’ interests is your first priority.
Choose the right topic, appeal to the right audience, provide top-notch content and pick a killer conference setting, and you’ll do just that.
So that at the end of the day, you can organize a conference that attendees will truly love.
This content is brought to you by Anees Saddique.