If you have been tasked with the assignment of hosting a conference you know how time consuming and cumbersome this task can be. If you have never hosted a conference, buckle up! You are about to tackle a very huge project. Here are just a few tips on what not to do at the conference:

Don’t Throw Everything Away! There are many things that can, and should be, recycled. The most important item is the plastic name tag sleeve. Those can be used again and again. Make sure that you have a place for attendees to return their name tag. You can even host a raffle for all of those who turn in their name tag and give away a prize. This will incentivize your attendees to return their badge!

Don’t Over Do It. Less is definitely more when it comes to name tags. A first and last name with their company name is usually sufficient. You don’t need to add in their state, position, and favorite type of ice cream. People are looking for a name and that is about it.

Don’t Neglect To Check the Sound System. Sound systems are notorious for glitches and mishaps. Do not go with the cheapest sound system. Do your homework and find a reasonably priced system or company. Test the sound system a couple days before the conference. Test it again a few hours before the conference. There is nothing worse than technical difficulties when you have a room full of hundreds of people.

Don’t Put Your Speakers in the Shadows. Be strategic in where you place the podium and/or speakers. Make sure that they are easily seen from the audience. Do not place the podium or your speaker behind a huge pillar or in the shadows. This will deflect from their message. People want to see who is speaking to them. Put the speakers front and center with good lighting.

Don’t Run Out of Coffee. People can get really grumpy without their morning coffee. Make sure that you have plenty of coffee in the morning and afternoon. This is one area where less is not more!

Don’t Have Messy Food. There is nothing more awkward than talking to someone you just met and trying to bite into a pastry puff that is oozing with cheese or dripping with jelly. Finger foods are great. Just make sure they are easy to eat and clean.

Don’t Forget To Announce The Next Conference. Before, after, and during this conference you will have your attendees undivided attention. Take that opportunity to tell them about the next conference or event. Allow them to sign up online while sitting in their chair.

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published by Heather Myklegard

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