Having to host conference calls on the fly can be hard enough and now you've been put in charge of planning a major event. If you've never planned a major conference before, or if you're just not sure where to start, remember the basics: who, what, when, and where. Once you’ve defined the generalities of the conference, here are a couple of things that can help to make your next event extra special.
Have a guest speaker
Seek out someone who's knowledgeable in the field you're hosting your conference and find a way to get them involved. A lot of people are more than willing to throw their hat into a ring for a good cause or for something with a good enough message. Do some research, find out someone who would be willing to take a little bit of time out of their day and speak at your conference. Having a guest speaker will boost the interest in the conference and provide you better over-all interest, and give you a higher number of attendees as well.
Practice Makes Perfect
Doing a run through can make the difference between a great conference and a good conference. Know your materials and how you're going to flow through them. If you're using a web conferencing platform instead of just audio, familiarize yourself with the platform before the conference begins. Get with a customer service rep at the provider and go through a demo. They are there to answer your questions and help your conference run as smoothly as possible. Go through a mock conference with a co-worker and make sure that you know the different facets of the service provider you have chosen to use.
Have a Back-Up Plan
Everything should go as smooth as silk as long as you're prepared, but just like that old cliché says, you should expect the unexpected. Computers crash, PowerPoint's fail, and no matter what you should be ready for it. Plan ahead for the conference by sending out the slide show (if there is one) as part of a participation packet so that attendees have it in front of them and if something happens, they have a hard copy. It will also encourage them to read through the slides and prepare questions in advance. As much as you want the conference to go well, so do they.
Will you use these steps to prepare for your next conference call? Am I missing something important? I’m sure there are a lot of quick and simple things that you can do to plan your next event and make it special. Comment your thoughts here and tell me how you plan for a great conference.