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Guidelines to Successful Conference Planning

written by: Tarun Goel•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 5/1/2011

Conferences have become an important aspect of the modern day corporate culture. Conferences can be organized for an annual meeting or business proposal discussion with board members. In this article, important conference planning guidelines will be discussed to help you organize a successful event.

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    Importance Of Planning

    Planning is an important aspect, be it in games, politics or money management. When it comes to conference planning, it becomes important to set things up beforehand so that you do not have to face any last minute troubles. Your conference can be related to a general meeting or discussing an important business proposal with the board of directors, and if things are well-planned in advance, you will not only save time, but it will also help in getting the desired outcome out of the conference meeting.

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    The Planning Guidelines

    As we know the importance of planning, we are going to discuss few important conference planning guidelines so that you get the maximum out of your conference meeting. Sticking to these guidelines will help to organize the event symmetrically and symmetry leads to stability, which means successful organization of the event. Important planning guidelines are discussed below.

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    Agenda of the conference means the purpose of conference, what for the meeting has been organized. All the participating members must know about the agenda of the conference and it should be as clear as possible. It will help the participating members to prepare for the meeting.

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    Invitations and Preparing A Guest List

    After finalizing the agenda of the conference, it is important to prepare the guest list. The honorary guests must be inviting well in advance so that they can manage to take time out of their busy schedules. Sending invitations is another important task and an email invite is the best way to invite people to the conference. However, speakers and honorary guests must be followed up with a phone call or personal invite, if possible.

    When you send out your invitations make the theme of the conference clear to all as this can help to really sell the event, and can then be carried over into many areas of the conference on the day - even to create a conference centerpiece.

    Any change in the program is usually not welcomed but in case, any change, however minuscule it may be, must be conveyed to all people attending the conference to avoid any confusion. The mode of presentations must also be made clear, whether the speakers have to present posters, presentations or simply come along with a speech, it is also very important to describe this in the invite mail.

    Always make sure that you have an approximate count of number of people attending the conference because according to that only, you are going to make seating and food arrangements. Asking for email confirmation is the best way to get the arrangements for food and seating done in time.

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    The Time Factor


    Managing and dividing time among the speakers is the most important aspect of a conference. Every speaker must be given enough time to express his views and ideas and that is where planning comes handy. When sending the invites to the speaker, it must be clearly mentioned that how long the speaker is intended to speak. It not only helps the speaker to prepare, but also enables the hosts to keep the conference on track. There can be certain unwanted glitches in real-time, so it is always advisable to have buffer time at hand between the sessions.

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    Interactive Session

    Business Interaction  A conference would serve no purpose if it is not interactive; bonding between the speaker and audience is very important and that is why a conference must have an interactive session.

    Usually, the interactive session includes questions and answers from the audience directed towards the speakers. This session can be of few minutes after every speaker has presented his or her case. It keeps audience interested and also makes the speakers feel that they are not boring the gathered masses.

    An Interactive session is very important, as it's a good indicator of the interest generated among the audience towards the subject being discussed

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    Be a Good Host

    Last but not least; you must be a good host. There must be proper seating, eating and refreshment arrangements for those attending the conference. Such arrangements have an indirect impact on the success of your conference and if you manage to keep these things in an order, your audience and speakers will definitely put all their energy into delivering the best results.

    And not to mention, the conference tools and equipment must be tested at least twice so that no technical glitch spoils your conference. Skype, Gtalk, Gizmo Project and iChat are some of the most commonly used conference call tools in meeting conferences.

    The conference planning guidelines must be followed, because hosting a conference is one thing, and hosting it successfully is another; without planning, it is almost impossible to organize any successful event, let alone the conference meeting.

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