That’s A Wrap!

Planning and producing a business conference are awesome and daunting tasks! I am proud to say that the Influencer Community first annual conference is in the books! And I am feeling pretty good about how everything went. 

I thought that this week’s blog post should be about some things I learned from the conference.  First, planning, planning and then more planning is a must!  No detail is too tiny or insignificant to consider.  I had a spiral-bound notebook and I carried it everywhere with me because I never knew when an idea or inspiration would strike, and I wanted to capture it all.

Let’s talk first about selecting a venue for an event.  Believe me when I tell you there are plenty of venues to choose from here in Cincinnati.  Big or small, Cincy has it all! The tricky part is twofold.  First, availability is key.  Many venues are booked for at least one year out, so while finding the right place is important, finding the right place thatis available can get tricky.  Secondly, making sure the venue you choose has easy access, lots of parking and is on Google or Apple Maps! Once you find a venue that is available, be sure to meet the catering manager to be certain that they are a good fit for you to work with.  You will be having lots of conversations with this person, and you will need to be certain that you are comfortable working with them.  Next comes the selection of food for the conference.  What will the snacks and meals be?  What is the cost? Will you have to pay a deposit?  Is that deposit refundable if your plans change? Is there a contract between you and the venue?  I cannot stress how important it is to get details like these answered to your satisfaction.

Another big thing is speakers for your conference!  How many will you have?  Will you have an emcee?  What about a keynote speaker? I discovered that putting out a call for speakers on social media was extremely helpful because it gave me a list of speakers in part, that I didn’t know.  Be sure to vet your speakers.  Ask for a “sizzle reel” of their appearances, check their references, and if you can, go to an event where they are speaking to check them out.

Look for sponsors for parts of your conference.  I asked for table decoration sponsors, swag bag sponsors, note taking tablet sponsors, and program printing sponsors.  While each event is unique, be sure to have a team of sponsors who are willing to do their part to make your conference a success.

Going along with sponsorships, you will want to look for donations for door prizes.  Check with EVERYBODY! Don’t be afraid to ask for a donation.  Most businesses set aside some marketing dollars for just this type of thing.  Remember to mention them in your program to give them some free advertising.

Finally, remain calm and in control the day of the event.  If you are in a dither, your conference participants will sense your concerns.  So put your best foot/feet forward and take charge of the conference!