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What are 4 features of a successful conference?

Organising a successful conference is a complex endeavour that requires strategic planning and execution. The complexity of this task arises from the many moving parts and key features that must seamlessly come together to create a cohesive and impactful event. From conceptualisation to post-event evaluation, every phase demands careful attention to detail.

At the heart of conference planning is the dual objective of delivering a tangible return on investment for the business and ensuring that the event exceeds the expectations of the attendees. The financial investment in organising a conference is significant, encompassing venue expenses, speaker fees, marketing costs, and other logistical considerations. Consequently, a well-organised conference not only serves as a platform for knowledge exchange and networking but also represents a strategic investment for the hosting business.

In this blog, we will cover 4 key features that will help deliver a successful conference.

1. Value and purpose

Understanding what value and purpose of the conference will be important to both the business and attendees. To help deliver clear and strategic direction to your planning, these are just some of the questions you may wish to consider:

  • What value will the conference generate for the business? Market exposure and visibility, competitive intelligence or recruitment and talent acquisition, for example.
  • What is the purpose? To showcase innovation, educational objectives or collaboration goals?
  • What are the key outcomes you want attendees to take away from the conference?
  • How will attending the conference improve the attendee’s professional capability, network and career growth?

2. Effective delivery of content and communication

Choosing a topic and theme is often one of the first things you do when planning a conference, as this sets the tone for its purpose. The theme should be timely, taking into account the latest industry trends or business developments, and will apply to the conference attendees offering value and actionable takeaways.

The content created to support the topic/theme will include promotional materials, event website copy and information delivered throughout the conference which needs to be interactive and engaging with carefully thought-out session formats, whether that might be round table discussions, presentations, panel discussions and live demonstrations.

It is important to remember that when the conference has concluded; the communication continues. This could be conducted via the event website, social media or electronic marketing (eDM) with content covering key takeaways, actionable items for attendees to implement, post-conference surveys, and sharing of photos and highlights.

Attendees should leave a conference with clear outcomes. This could be a greater understanding of new products or services, new client contacts and sales leads, or enhanced skills for example. Attendees should leave feeling empowered and armed with actionable strategies to apply learnings in day-to-day scenarios. There is limited value in providing information if attendees do not know how to apply the learnings.

It is important to remember that when the conference has concluded, the communication continues

3. Attendee Experience

People take time out of their busy work schedule to attend conferences and it can often be a debate of “What’s in it for me?”, so the overall attendee experience should leave them saying, “That was worth it,” providing a fun, memorable and meaningful experience.

The travel to and from the conference must also be considered. People should be well-informed of all information required for flights, transfers, and group meeting points, to alleviate any unnecessary stress – especially for those who are not frequent flyers. Travelling to a conference also provides attendees with opportunities to meet and network with other professionals in their field. Whether it’s on a plane, train, or during layovers, attendees may find themselves in the company of like-minded individuals, fostering connections that can enhance their conference experience.

The location, agenda, and combination of business and social activities should also be considered. Investing in social activities such as networking, dinners and team-building activities is equally important as the formal sessions, as this demonstrates to attendees they are valued and important to the event’s success, through meaningful and enjoyable interactions that go beyond the confines of formal sessions. It reinforces a sense of community and camaraderie, fostering lasting connections that extend beyond the conference itself. This holistic approach to conference planning ensures that attendees not only gain valuable insights from the scheduled agenda but also leave with a memorable and positive overall experience, contributing to their sense of being valued and appreciated within the professional community.

The overall attendee experience should leave them saying, "That was worth it."

4. Networking

Facilitating networking opportunities is important for cultivating and strengthening professional relationships, offering attendees dedicated moments to exchange insights, collaborate, and enjoy the shared experience of connecting with like-minded individuals united by a common purpose. Beyond the barriers of emails and phone calls, networking adds a personal dimension to connections, facilitating a deeper level of engagement that can pave the way for smoother future communications.

Whether integrated into dedicated sessions or woven into informal gatherings such as conference dinners or outdoor team activities, networking serves as the key player for a vibrant community. This community not only celebrates mutual successes but also shares a collective commitment to continuous improvement, creating an environment where meaningful connections flourish and contribute to the overall success of the conference.

Networking serves as the key player for a vibrant community

Set yourself up for conference success

Our team is ready to support your conference needs.