Convention Planning and The Big Task Ahead
Convention planning is a big undertaking. Your leadership and organizational skills must be something because you have been assigned to organize an important event. Whether it is for the annual sales conference among a company of insurance brokers, a mid-year convention for an association of medical practitioners or an assembly for yoga followers, you have a lot of tasks to juggle, so whip out that multitasking savvy and roll up your sleeves. You must understand that each convention is distinct, but it does not mean that you cannot go about them with similar approach. You can actually do so because these events may share some common requirements. This similitude allows us to establish a certain standard guide in carrying out the task. Here is your MO for a successful convention planning.
Guide to Convention Planning – The Initial Phase
1. Form your convention committee. Events, especially the bigger and more formal ones, cannot easily be planned and organized by a one-man team. You will need to delegate some tasks to other people. Hence, you need to assemble a team of responsible and committed individuals to whom you can entrust the delivery of various tasks within set deadlines. You will need to break up the team into committees to give them their corresponding specialized tasks. To discuss the delegation and follow up tasks, meet as regularly as you need to, depending on how soon the event will be.
2. Understand the purpose and objectives of the event. You cannot just organize an event and let it happen without getting a good grasp of what the event is for. Is it for the continuing medical education of an organization of professionals? Is it a celebration for hitting the sales target? The organizing committee must fully understand the rationale behind the event and the expected outcome. Then establish specific goals for the event, such as the expected number of attendees, and what benefits can attendees get from the event.
3. Determine your event budget; either the higher-ups will give you a budget to work on or you do the costing and present the budget to them for approval. You must also consider whether the event is arranged to generate revenue from registrations or will you or the company be shouldering the entire expenses.
4. Choosing the date and venue. Again this will vary from one event to another, from one organization to another, so workout the date and location accordingly. When slating your event, factor in the availability of target attendees on the chosen date. There are a number of considerations when picking a venue. These are briefly discussed below.
Convention Planning: Considerations in Choosing A Venue
Space. Factor in space of the venue relative to the number of attendees, the activities that will be undertaken, and the equipment and the exhibit and set-up requirements. If it is a live-in seminar, check out the availability of rooms.
Parking. Make sure that there will be enough parking space for your attendees. Find out in advance if they need to pay for parking so that you can give them a heads up or so that you can do something about it.
Accessibility of the place. You must know if your target audience are willing to fly over or drive a great distance to grace the event. Otherwise, consider a more accessible place.
Other Technical Amenities. Check accessibility of electrical supply, availability of amenities and equipment which you may need, such as sound system, LCD projectors and screens, appropriate lighting, Internet access, etc.
Convention Planning Checklist
With your convention planning team poised for action, the purpose and goals of the event clarified, the budget set, and the venue and date reserved, you can proceed to other important tasks and details that must be included in your time line. Below is a checklist of these tasks:
1. Decide on and prepare invitations, promotional materials and announcements.
2. Decide on the mode of registration and start accepting registrants.
3. Pick a caterer and menu.
4. Decide on decorations and physical arrangement.
5. Choose appropriate entertainment.
6. Pick and confirm speakers and resource persons.
7. Arrange for transportation services, if need be.
8. Examine the needed contracts and sign them.
9. Finalize agenda and program and assign emcees and other point persons to man “stations” during the big day.
10. Confirm attendees.
11. Prepare the needed convention materials.
To wit, convention planning varies from event to event. There could be more tasks not covered here, just as there may be tasks here that you may not need to implement, so adjust as needed. If you think that all these tasks are too much for you, there is one tip that would make things easier for you and lump all the various tasks into one easy-to-handle bundle – hire an event planner.