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The Conference Planning Checklist to Get You Started for Your Upcoming Event

If you’re an office manager, office assistant, project manager or in any other role which has you responsible for planning a successful conference, then you’ll want to make sure the organisation goes to plan. While conference planning is an exciting opportunity, it can also be an overwhelming one, which is where a conference checklist comes in handy to make sure you’re always on time and using your planning time for maximum efficiency.

To help make sure that your event is a great success, we’ve compiled an event planning checklist for you.

Work Out the Essentials

This is the first important step for a conference planning checklist, as you can then build on each essential point.

  • Make a list of all the goals and objectives of your event.

    To make the most out of your conference, you need to be sure from the very beginning what the goals of your conference are, so that you can ensure they’re met. The goals and objectives of your event should include what you want to achieve through hosting your event, as well as what you want your attendees to get out of it. These targets and goals should be measurable so that you can understand whether your event was a success based on whether your goals were met or not.

  • Understand who your target audience is.

    To make sure your event is aimed at the right people, you need to pinpoint who you would like to attend and how you can therefore make the event tailored to their desires and requirements.

  • Where is your event going to be held?

    This needs to be a logical location for your event in terms of the tone and theme and somewhere that attendees can easily travel to, with plenty of facilities like parking and accommodation if required.

  • Which date is best for your event?

    This needs to consider the availability of attendees, and you need to be sure your event won’t clash with any other big appointments on the calendar. Your date may also need to consider the availability of your desired venue, as the venue may already be booked up on certain days or be closed on others.

  • Will tickets to your event be free or chargeable?

    Understand whether you need to charge attendees. A free event can inspire more interest, but you may need to include a small charge depending on your budget and the services you’re offering.

What is Your Budget?

Planning your maximum budget is essential to ensure that you don’t overspend and so that you know how much you can afford for each conference service, such as catering or rentals. Not only should you decide on a budget at the very beginning, but you should be sure to keep track of it throughout the planning and booking stages so that you know where you’re up to, and how much money you have left. You may also want to plan for an emergency amount to fall back on, should any last-minute changes occur.

Choose the Conference Venue

Your conference venue needs to be a practical location for attendees to get to easily and provide everything you need, but it also needs to be a venue that has the right atmosphere and aesthetics for what you’re trying to achieve.

Choosing the right conference venue means first understanding what you need from a venue. Your chosen venue needs to be able to facilitate the number of guests you’re expecting, as well as offer must-have services like catering or on-site accommodation for guests or speakers who need to stay overnight. You may also need separate rooms or areas for breakout sessions.

Choosing the right venue is also more about the center itself. Having a picturesque setting outside, or even a scenic route to the venue itself, can all help create a positive buzz.

The right venue should always ensure you can make the most out of your event, including assistance with setting up your event. This can include:

  • Event layouts

    such as seating arrangements and location of stands.

  • Event themes

    so that you can make the event memorable and create excitement.

  • Décor

    which perfectly sets the mood for what you’re trying to create and encourages improved interaction.

  • Music

    which will work hand-in-hand with the décor to set the mood.

  • A/V options

    to make a more memorable and interactive event through projectors, digital signs, presentations, and microphones.

  • Food and drink

    are essential for any conference to ensure guests are well-fed and don’t go thirsty.

Once you have decided on these must-have elements, you can use the following how to plan a conference checklist for the finer details.

Create Your Conference Program

Your conference program should be a detailed look at all the key topics and major themes you would like to cover at your event. This should be completely tailored to your target audience, so it is key to include topics that they will want to hear about. You can get started on your conference program by listing all key themes on paper or a whiteboard, however you would like to work.

Once you have a list of all the key topics to be explored, you can then research the perfect speakers or presenters for each topic and book them to attract and regale your target audience.

Marketing Your Event

Once you have the venue, the topics, and the key speakers in place, you want to create the right kind of buzz for your event and market it to the right people. To get people talking about your event, marketing online, through social media, through word of mouth, and every other marketing avenue is an absolute must.

For your marketing strategy, you’ll want to include:

  • A dedicated marketing budget so that you know how much you can spend on marketing your event

  • Your conference landing page and/or Eventbrite page to supply all details regarding your event

  • Custom logos and branding for your event

  • Printed flyers

  • Paid advertisements

  • Dedicated event emails to include all the details, such as location, date, and time

  • Social media posts

  • Profiles and photos for all your event speakers so that attendees can find out more about them before the event, and know what to expect

The Little Things

Even when your event is all fully booked, on-track, and with guest attendance confirmed, there will still be some last-minute checks and organisation to do to ensure everything will run smoothly. These little things will make a big difference in success on the day. You’ll therefore want to be sure to:

  • Finalise the running sheet for the event day (or days)

  • Make sure you have all relevant stationery items for on the day, such as name tags, notepads, and pens

  • Send a reminder in advance to all guests who have registered, as a courtesy

  • Review the event plan with your entire team to ensure there’s no miscommunication, and also assign individual tasks so that everyone knows what their own responsibility is

  • Be sure to make backups of key information, like presentations, on extra USBs so that you have that peace of mind

  • Check the venue itself and the room layout to make sure everything is in order

  • Confirm that all AV is in working order

  • Supply detailed directions for your guests to the event venue

An event planning checklist will always be different for every company, but these basic must-dos will help you stay organised and on track, no matter your event or venue. You can tailor this checklist to your own wants and needs, as long as you have the basics down to build upon.

Our award-winning conference venue in the Adelaide Hills is one example of how to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and provide picturesque views for your guests and speakers while also enjoying state-of-the-art conferencing facilities. We also have accommodation options as well as free on-site parking, meaning an easy experience for any and all visitors.

With our stunning conference location, including ambient fairy lights, outdoor decking, and a beautiful Adelaide Hills backdrop, we can ease the stress of your next conference and provide our expertise through our team of Event Planners to make sure your event can be a success.

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