A well-planned business conference can do wonders for your brand and, if you’re the planner in question, your performance before and during the event is likely to garner untold kudos in your career stakes too. So, how do you prepare and plan that killer company conference? Of course, you could always commission an events management company to take over the reins and ensure everything goes without a hitch or simply follow our expert’s guide to planning a company conference and you’ll have every event eventuality covered…

The Objective
Why is the conference being held? Are you launching a product or service, raising brand awareness, team-building or awarding performance? Until you know exactly what your event is designed to achieve and can establish a suitable theme, you’ll be in a marketing minefield and unable to achieve your objective effectively.

The Audience
You need to know what sort of numbers you’re dealing with before you can even think about your venue. Whether this is an event for clients, employees or partners, determine who will be invited and, realistically, how many heads you’re expecting to see on the day. Think carefully about what they’ll want to get from your conference too; booking the right speaker, the style of the show, the freebies, the refreshments and the duration of the big day will need impactful and present your organisation in the best light possible.

The Venue
This is where it pays to think out of the box. The traditional hotel conference space is usually functional and fair when it comes to the format and the financials, but it’s often a case of who dares wins when you want to create a memorable business event. Venue finding agencies are worth their salt when it comes to sourcing the perfect place, otherwise you’ll find yourself spending some time searching online for venues.

The Guest List
As soon as you’ve established your theme, date and venue, it’s time to you’re your invitations. Be sure to include helpful details such as directions and details to your conference guest list. Stay on top of your RSVPs and send regular reminders to those who are slow to reply. Sadly, no-shows are a fact of the function.

The Kit List
Never assume that, just because a venue is renowned for hosting dignitaries and delegates, all the equipment you’ll need to support your event will be provided. Your contract with the venue should detail everything that’s available; the rest is down to you, including the plan B. Consider everything from AV equipment (displays, projectors, audio system) to other everyday essentials (registration desk, phone system, power supplies and pens).

The Contingency
If you’re working on this event as part of a team, keep them involved and on stand-by to support you in your quest to conquer the conference. Have as many men on the ground as possible, they’ll need to be covering the meet and greet, ensuring the speakers reach the rostrum, the setting up and the taking down of equipment, displays, stands, etc. Have equipment spares and replacements on hand and establish contact early on with the venue’s event team – they’re being paid (probably very handsomely) to help you put on your show; have them play their part when needed.

If you have any doubts or dilemmas, always talk to events management professionals; their advice will usually have been garnered from experience of holding many company conferences. Don’t be put off by commissioning an agency to take the reins; the savings they should be able to make on the cost of hiring your venue and the overall organisation of the event could save your budget, your brand and, ultimately, your bacon.