Managing Successful Conferences (Part 3)0
This is the second post in a series of four in event management, this one focusing on managing successful conferences from two experienced event planners – Kate Whitehair and Tamsin Stanley at Zing.
Stage Three: On-Site, Particularly for Multiple Day Events
Assign (or hire) a person to be wholly accountable for the event. All information should flow through this ‘event manager,’ and this person alone chooses how to delegate. Allow this person to make the best decision without interference. For 99% of decisions, their authority should trump the majority of others.
Establish a central area. Tell people to go to the this area (the registration desk, for instance) if they have problems or want answers. Staff the area with internal team members so they feel like they’re part of the event success.
Don’t scrimp on audio-visuals. The quality of sound, music and visuals can make or break an event. In other words, if people can’t see, hear or read properly, they quickly tune-out. This includes finding someone to develop proper PowerPoint speeches and presentations.
Use quality directional signage and name tags. People must be able to network quickly through name tags, and be able to move quickly through the venue using good signage. The key: make sure all signage is instantly readable, colourful and simple.
Begin each day with a pre-production meeting. Usually held before breakfast, this is the chance for the event manager to review the day’s activities so all key people – staff, facilitator, presenters – understand their part in the overall delivery.
End each day with a de-brief. Usually held after the final meeting (or perhaps during the day’s last event), this is the opportunity to discuss any problems, ongoing or arising issues; celebrate successes; quickly flag important elements in the next day’s agenda. Keep it quick and to-the-point.