Tips for conference planners: What you want to achieve and why

From the outset

What you want to achieve and why

Sometimes the journey is the destination but this can prove to be a stumbling block – or even lead you astray when you are organising an event. In this case, it is more important to ask what the objective is and when has it been fully achieved.

If you want your event to be a success, you have to know what this success looks like. And you have to define it in advance. After all, an event is expensive and time-consuming, and not only does it have to pay its way, it also has to deliver benefits or profits.

In these high-tech times when the need to travel to a specific place is removed by the ability to run webinars, Skype conferences and web-based presentations using just-in-time interactions, you have to consider whether a 'traditional' format such as a conference or convention is the right option. If you don't know where you want to be, you'll never find your way there.

Use the SMART mnemonic to define your objectives:

S for specify > Do you all have the same idea of why you are doing this? What is the purpose of the event?

M for measurable > What attendance rate/number of delegates/income/amount of sponsorship etc. do we plan to achieve? Also, how many reporters/articles do we want to attract/generate?

A for achievable > Is it feasible (for us), financially and in terms of personnel?

R for realistic/relevant > What is the environment like in the sector? Are we at the cutting edge?

T for timing > Plan and set dates and times

With this in mind, create a brief profile for the event, including key facts, figures and targets – and a delegate profile. What type of participant/target group do you want to reach? Armed with this information about who and what you are focusing on, you can make a start on the organisation.