Lousy Speakers: This is a hard one. You can’t always control the caliber of your speakers, especially if you have never heard him or her speak before. However, you can do your due diligence and research the individuals that you are interested in. Make some phone calls, and ask around. Have they spoken before? Talk to them over the phone. You will get an idea of their personality and their passion for what they do.
No Parking: Parking is essential for your local attendees. Make sure that you have given them several options when it comes to parking. When looking at venues, ask about parking. If there is no on-site parking, you may want to keep looking, or find out where the nearest parking garages are located. As long as you give the attendees options, you should be fine.
No Signs: There is nothing worse than walking into a large arena or hotel and having no idea where to go. Make sure that you have good directions once your attendees enter the conference. Signs should be big, colorful, and easy to understand. Pro tip: Keep them date free, and reuse them again at a future event.
No Email Reminder or Confirmation: Remind your attendees and your speakers about the conference. People are very busy and don’t always write down their events. Make sure that you contact your speakers 30 days out and again a couple days before the conference. Send emails to all attendees expressing your excitement and wishing them all safe travels. Everyone will appreciate the reminders.
No Greeters: This goes back to the signs. Make sure you have plenty of staff on hand to help greet attendees and direct people where to go. These greeters can help answer questions and make the attendees feel welcome. People would much rather talk to a person affiliated with the conference than just an employee of the venue.is going on.
Lack of Event Marketing: Start the conversation months before the actual event. Make signs, send out driving directions, remind attendees about the event, and showcase your speakers and sponsors. Help the attendees and speakers get excited about the event. They may even be able to start networking before they meet in person. Social media is an excellent and affordable way to start the conversation and buzz.
Terrible Food: Your attendees will get hungry. Make sure you have sampled the menu. Deliver an exceptional breakfast and/or lunch. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should taste good.
No Water or No Coffee: Major foul. Do not run out of coffee. Have an accurate head count of who is attending and plan accordingly. Some venues charge by the cup while others charge by the carafe. This is one area that you do not want to skimp on.
No Events After the Conference: Just because your conference is over doesn’t mean everyone has to go home. Continue the event with a dinner or happy hour. This will allow attendees to network, get to know each other, and let their hair down after a long day. This will also build camaraderie.
No Breaks: Give your attendees a chance to use the restroom, get a cup of coffee, or make a phone call. Having sessions back-to-back will exhaust your attendees and you may loose some along the way. Attendees usually have to work and may need a few minutes to check emails or make a call. You would rather them do it between sessions than during a session.
Many Non-Profit Organizations (NPO) do not have much of a budget, which can make hosting a conference very difficult. However, it is still possible for NPO’s to make connections, create conversation, and get the word out about their NPO through conferences. Attending a conference, or better yet, presenting at a conference, can be a very wise decision for your NPO. There are many ways to get involved at a conference. Setting up a booth, speaking on a panel, or being a guest speaker are all great ways for your NPO to be recognized and heard.
Setting up a booth is a fantastic way to tell your story and share your NPO’s mission and values. If the conference offers an exhibit hall, sign up! This is your chance to tell everyone about your NPO without having to get up in front of a big crowd. This offers a more intimate setting with attendees and gives you a chance to have a nice one-on-one conversation. Be prepared with several business cards, literature, and other resources that they can take with them. Tell those that stop by how they can find you once the conference is over. Direct them to your website or Facebook page and ask if they have a website page themselves. Have something enticing to get them to stop at your table. Pens are always handy, as are water bottles, or candy.
If you are asked to speak on a panel this could be a wonderful opportunity for you to present your knowledge and expertise. Ask the moderator for the questions ahead of time. Note what specific items you want the audience to know and how your NPO can tie into the answers. What can your NPO do for them? Again, your name along with your NPO’s name, will show up on the agenda and other materials through out the conference.
There is no better way to grab the audiences attention and to talk about your NPO then to be a guest speaker. You have a roomful of eyes and ears at your fingertips. Take advantage of this situation and make it a great and memorable speech. Be passionate, fun, and engaging. Educate the audience about your NPO while staying on topic. Give them resources and let them know how they can help and/or find your NPO once the conference is over.
One other way for your NPO to help with the conference is to become a sponsor. Sponsors are typically recognized through out the marketing materials and may even appear on promotional items the conference planners hand out. If nothing else, you will be recognized in the program and on the schedule.
Summers can really pass by fast, can’t they? I know mine definitely has. Almost three months ago, I started my internship here at BusyConf. At the time, I was unsure what to expect but knew I was on a path with ample opportunity. Reflecting back upon this, I can confirm my predictions were right.
Between the sparks of random conversation and some of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had (thanks to Puccio’s), this internship brought me priceless experience and knowledge I would have otherwise never gained. I got to experience what working on a full software-as-a-service application is like, as well as the business behind it. The new languages and programming techniques challenged what I had taught myself before, raising my abilities and refining my workflow.
A couple of key points I took away from my summer here:
- Collaboration is a key part to any workflow. Working on a task while being able to communicate with others produces better, high quality work often in less time than when working solo. You also learn more while doing so, which is a huge plus.
- Working with more experienced co-workers can advance your skills faster than you think. I learned a lot over this summer, and I know my style of programming has drastically improved from what it was before I started working at BusyConf thanks to the knowledge of others.
- Challenge yourself often. I faced many challenges while working for BusyConf, with quickly learning new languages and workflows among them. While seemingly difficult at first, the end product improved my skill set and polished my techniques.
- Always maintain good programming practices. No matter what the project or purpose might be, always seek the best possible way to get something done, and make sure it’s clean. You’ll end up with a better product, as well as prevent headaches down the road.
Of course, these were only a fraction of the vast quantity of things I learned over the past three months. My entire skill set has been sharpened from priceless experiences and learning opportunities I will never lose, and they’ve prepared me to expand that knowledge even more. Thank you, BusyConf, for a fantastic summer!
I’ve read a lot of articles on this topic, and the majority of articles came to the same conclusion; coaches are a waste of time unless you truly want to become a professional speaker. If you are speaking to crowds of people on a regular basis and they are paying you to do so, a public speaking coach may be of great benefit to you. However, if you are speaking at a convention or presenting at a networking event once every couple of months, then you may not need to invest in a public speaking coach.
That is not to say that you do not need help or practice. Here are a few things you can do on your own that will save you money and help hone in on your public speaking skills.
Practice: Volunteer to speak at your local chamber of commerce meeting. Ask to present at your next networking event. Join a Toastmasters group and get advice from your peers. Toastmasters is a wonderful organization that helps individuals become better speakers through practice, praise, and feedback from peers. To find a local Toastmasters group visit http://reports.toastmasters.org/findaclub/
Record Yourself: Record yourself with both audio and video. You can play back the voice recording while sitting at your desk or driving in the car. Listen to your voice inflection. Are you upbeat? Enthusiastic? Passionate? Try and count how many times you say the word “um”. When you have more time, you can sit down and watch yourself. Watch your body language and your facial expressions. Your body language is going to set the stage for your entire speech. Make sure you are calm and keep your hands to your side or clasped in front of you. People notice when you fidget.
Be Prepared: Rehearse your speech over and over again. If you are using slides as visual aids, do not read directly from the slides. Power Point presentations with just text can be very boring, and you will lose your audience if you are not careful.
Watch Great Speakers: We have all heard wonderful speakers, and we have walked away wishing that we could speak as well as they did. Remember, they have years of practice and have probably fumbled on a few early speeches themselves. Watch them on video and take notes of the things you like most. Did they make you laugh? Were they genuine? Try to emulate their strengths into your speech.
Stay Calm: Of course you are going to be nervous. However, the more prepared you are for the speech the more confident you will feel before the event. Take some time before your speech to sit and breathe. Do not check e-mails and get distracted. Take a walk. Clear your mind. You have prepared for this moment and you are ready. Feel confident. If nothing else, fake it. If you stand up there with confidence and ease, your audience will feel the same way and will enjoy listening to what you have to say.
Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously: Lighten up. Everyone makes mistakes. Give it your best shot and have fun. You do not need to prove to everyone in the audience that you are smart enough to be there. You are up there for a reason. Talk to your audience, not at them. Imagine you are having coffee with a couple of friends and you are explaining to them why you do what you do. Be passionate and refrain from lecturing.
We’ve all been to that one conference that was really good. We raved about it and couldn’t wait to go back each year. The conference left such an impression that we signed up again the following year. It may have been the speakers, the great contacts you made, or maybe the warm chocolate chip cookie you received just before your eye lids fluttered closed for the tenth time. Whatever it was that grabbed your attention it was due to good planning. Here are a few ways you, as a conference planner, can help ensure that your attendees come back year after year.
1) Invite Great Speakers
Make sure that your speakers are relevant to the industry and will speak on topics that are timely and applicable. You will want to find strong, dynamic speakers who will motivate, inspire, and make the audience beg for more.
2) Involve the Audience
It is key that speakers and moderators involve the audience. Nothing puts a crowd to sleep faster than someone who gets up on stage and talks at the audience. You want to engage the audience with questions, comments, and conversation. Get them to participate, volunteer, and laugh and you’ll steal the show.
3) Open a Hallway Track or Lounge
Everyone needs a little down-time to get to know one another. Give your attendees the opportunity to network. Perhaps have mini refreshment breaks or 10-15 minutes between each session. If your attendees get to know one another they start to relax. They will get involved and start to enjoy themselves.
4) Make It Personal
Encourage personal interaction during sessions. Have speakers break out the audience into focus groups. Let them talk about their personal experience with each other. Everyone has a story and most are eager to tell it. Encourage the group to talk about how they can take what they learn at the conference and implement it in their community. Have them exchange contact information and encourage everyone in the group to keep in touch.
5) Offer Intuitive Processes
How easy was it to find the registration table? How easy was it to find the schedule? Or find the bathroom? Make sure that your logistics are in place and that there is a nice, even flow to your conference. This takes practice to see what works well for each venue, so start early.
6) Serve Good, Simple Food
The food doesn’t need to be fancy It just needs to taste good. Make it easy to eat. People are generally talking to one another while eating so have things that are easy to eat and satisfying. A warm chocolate chip cookie with a cold glass of milk at 3 pm will help attendees late in the afternoon power through till the end.
7) Provide a Comfortable Environment
There is usually not much you can do about the temperature in hotel rooms. They are just plain cold. But you can prepare your attendees. Remind them to bring a sweater or jacket to the sessions. Have hot tea or coffee on the tables or in the back of the room. If given the chance, choose seats with cushions and backs to them. Chairs around tables are sometimes more comfortable for the audience then a bunch of chairs lined up in front of the podium. Having a table to rest your elbows, store your belongings, or to write upon helps to keep everyone’s attention span fresh and alert.
Planning a conference can cost a lot of money. Make sure your organization is prepared for the costs of hosting a conference and take these 12 tips into consideration to save money:
- Shop Around for a Venue: Take your time looking for the right venue. Look at local venues first as that will save you money on travel. Don’t pick the nicest hotel in town. You may be surprised at what some of the smaller-name spaces can offer. Look at a variety of spaces, not just hotels.
- Off-Season Times: When scheduling your conference find out the dates for off-season pricing. Off-season rates will be much cheaper than peak times. You will be able to save on your venue and your attendees will be able to save on their lodging and dining.
- Negotiate: Don’t settle on the first number they give you. The venue wants you just as much as you want them. Take the time to negotiate prices and come up with the best number that is both reasonable for you and for them.
- Sponsors and Partnerships: Find sponsors to help fund your conference. In exchange for their sponsorship, you can put their name and logos on your print materials, e-mails, and social platforms. Form partnerships with your vendors, the hotel, the caterers, etc. Offer to promote them on your marketing materials in exchange for a reduced rate.
- Use Social Media to Market:-Market your event months in advance using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or Google+. Social platforms are free and have the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of potential attendees.
- Signage: Signage can be very expensive. When purchasing signage for your event make sure you can reuse it. Try to avoid putting dates and locations on the signage. Use your logo and your tag line and, if possible, make the details of the event editable.
- Go Green: Gone are the days when we give attendees a big binder full of paper. Let them know where on your website they can find the slides to the presentation or the bios of the presenters. Give them clear directions on where to get the information should they want to print it out. This will save you money on printing and paper.
- Save on Centerpieces: No need to buy extravagant floral arrangements or fancy centerpieces. You can be very creative with glass vases from the Dollar Store and some pretty, colorful objects inside. You can also create centerpieces using promotional items such as coffee mugs with your logo or fill the vases up with stress balls that have your logo on them. Encourage attendees to take home the centerpieces and continue to promote your brand.
- Know Your Numbers: When it comes to serving coffee or food make sure you know exactly how many people are attending your conference. When ordering food order less than what you need. There will inevitably be some attendees who don’t eat or will eat some place else. Be sure you have enough coffee and find out if the venue charges by the cup or the carafe. Coffee is one thing you do not want to run out of. Consider using custom questions in your call-for-proposals or ticket registration to determine quantities.
- Reuse, Recycle: Have a drawing! After the conference, ask everyone to turn in their plastic name badges.Then randomly draw 2 or 3 names and give them a prize. This will motivate people to return their badges and allow you to reuse them for your next event!
From talking to event planners who have used BusyConf, we’ve noticed that one of the hardest parts of managing an event is marketing it. While the best way to market your event depends on who your target market is, what type of event you’re planning, and even the location of the event, the basic guidelines remain the same. Here are some event marketing dos and don’ts to help get you started.
Share information on speakers, sessions, and tracks, as much as you can. Attendees want to know exactly what they’re in for, and giving them a good amount of information on the event will help them make informed decisions on whether or not they want to attend your event.
No one likes spam. Sending a bunch of emails to potential attendees with generic and non personal content isn’t likely to convince them to attend your event. In fact, it’ll probably ruin any chance you had of turning them into attendees.
Do…Use Facebook Ads
Facebook ads let you target your ideal attendees by location, occupation, age, and other factors. While advertising on Facebook may seem expensive, setting you’re daily limit to $5 - $10 lets you experiment until you find out what works best for you.
Don’t…Make Things Hard for Attendees
Bad websites, hidden information, and long registration processes make it hard on attendees. If someone wants to attend your event, or wants to find information on your event, make it easy for them to do so. Be transparent with information and use tools that simplify things for attendees.
Some things that cause attendees to abandon the registration page include long multi-page registration processes, slow registration pages, and no support for buying multiple tickets at the same time. We built BusyConf to make it easier for attendees. In fact, 88% of events using BusyConf sell out.
Blogging is the single best thing you can do to market your event. You can blog about your event, your industry, what you do, and what you know. Just start blogging. Once you’re blogging consistently, you can start writing content that appeals to your attendees.
Don’t…Waste Time on the Wrong Social Networks
If you’re target market consists of pharmaceutical exectuvies, then Pinterest probably isn’t the best social network to pour time and effort into. Find out which networks your target market uses and focus on that.
Especially if your event is a business, medical, or educational conference. If you’re running a professional event, chances are you’re ideal attendees use LinkedIn, which makes LinkedIn the top social network to focus on when marketing your event.
Don’t…Market to Everyone
Niches are good. Don’t waste time and effort trying to market to people who wouldn’t benefit from attending your event. Engineering students probably don’t want to attend a law conference, and for good reason. They simply would not benefit much by attending the event. Marketing is about providing value, and chasing after the wrong people makes it hard to do so.
Services like EventCommercials and PowToon make it possible for anyone to make a video to promote their event. Hiring a professional isn’t necessary. With simple tools available, there is no excuse for not using video to promote your event. Videos are shared more than any other type of content, and for obvious reasons. Videos are easily digestible and communicate information effectively.
Don’t…Make It All About You
Marketing is about providing value. This doesn’t mean promoting your event anywhere you can. Sometimes the best way to market an event is by not mentioning it at all, and instead focusing on adding value to a discussion. Share your opinion or curate content with a focus on actually being helpful. Of course it’s necessary to plug your event every now and then, but providing value should come first.
If you don’t track website visits and interactions using Google Analytics or something similar then it’s hard to see the benefits of blogging and using social media. Tracking interactions gives you actionable statistics you can use to improve your event marketing efforts. BusyConf lets you integrate with Google Analytics so you can see just how much traffic you’re getting and where it’s coming from. Statistics help you make data driven decisions when optimizing your marketing efforts.
When organizing a large scale event for your company, not only do you have to build the event, but you also have to market your event. If you haven’t thought about a conference planning tool look at BusyConf. BusyConf can help you get everything in place and run smoothly. You can send out professional call for proposals, sell tickets, and create your schedule all on one easy platform.
The next step is to begin marketing your event. Social media can, and should, play a huge roll when it comes to marketing your next event. The great part about social media is most of it is free. If you know how to use it well, it can be a critical part of your marketing strategy. Social media will help get the word out about your event, help you sell tickets, and create enough buzz that people will be looking forward to your event year after year. Here are a few easy tips and tricks to consider when promoting your event using social media.
Facebook is still one of the most widely used social media platforms. Facebook has the most diverse audience of any of the social media platforms, and now with hashtags, you can easily be found through Graph Search. Facebook is a place to have a conversation and build community. Facebook has 955 million active users so you really don’t want to miss your chance to promote your event on Facebook!
Before the Event: Post information, links, and call-to-actions regarding your event in status updates. Make it fun. Let people know all the details. Tell them what they will learn at your event, and give them direction as to where to go to sign up. Always post a link to your website or whichever platform you are using to register attendees. Facebook is now using hashtags as well. It is very similar to the hashtags you use on Twitter so be sure to add those hashtags into your status updates when posting about your event.
Create a Facebook Page: If this is going to be a big event, why not have your own page? This page would be dedicated to your event. You can post about the type of speakers you are looking for and gain insight from your audience as to what they would like to cover at the event. Showcase your sponsors, volunteers, and speakers. If this is a re-occurring event, show pictures from past years. Once you have a business page for your event you can create an event from your page. You can share this event with all of your fans and friends on Facebook. People can RSVP, make comments, and even ask questions.
If you have the budget, you can purchase a Facebook ad to run for a month or two before your event. Set your daily limit at around $5.00 and have multiple versions of the ad. See which version works best and document that for future reference. You can set your ad to target a specific demographic, age, and location.
Learn more about Facebook ads.
Google+ is still the new kid on the block but is quickly gaining speed. Google+ posts will follow you across all of Google’s products. Google+ posts also have a much longer shelf-life than Facebook or Twitter. This means that after a few days your Facebook post will be buried and hard to locate. But on Google+ your post is always searchable by someone in your network.
Before the Event: There is a different crowd on Google+ than Facebook so it might be wise to promote your event on Google+ as well. This will branch out your circle and hopefully reach some potential attendees that you wouldn’t find on Facebook. Share your event, pictures, details, and website on Google+ just as you would Facebook. You can tag other organizations, sponsors, or volunteers so they will be sure to see the post as well. Ask people to share with their circles and help spread the word.
During the Event: In this day and age, it is very easy to share status updates and posts from just about anywhere. Make sure you have the Google+ app on your iPhone or iPad and share updates to your circles about what you are learning at the event. Tell them about the amazing keynote speaker who received a standing ovation. You can also add pictures and have fun with it. Entice those who didn’t attend to want to attend next year.
After the Event: Same as with Twitter or Facebook you will want to continue to thank your sponsors, speakers, volunteers, and attendees. Post pictures of the event and ask for feedback.
Twitter is a micro blogging site that allows news and conversations to be delivered in real time. Many businesses have dismissed Twitter simply because they do not understand how it works. Twitter currently has 465 million accounts and boast 175 million tweets a day. You don’t want to miss out on a chance to reach millions of people!
Before the Event: Create a hashtag on Twitter for your event and use this same hashtag with every tweet that goes out between now, during, and after your event. This will help people locate your event and find the information they need. Ask your followers questions, share with them who will be speaking, and ask them to retweet your posts to spread the word. You can even have a drawing for a free ticket to anyone who tweets or retweets about your event.
During the Event: Twitter is great in that during the event you cannot tweet too much. So pull out that phone and tweet away! Tweet a funny question you heard, tweet a powerful statement made by the speaker, tweet about the amazing coffee. Use that same hashtag to let people know about the next speaker or an interesting take-away from a presentation. You can have attendees tweet as a way to ask their questions. Make sure they use the designated hashtag so that you can easily find their tweet. You will want all of your print materials to have the hashtag written out so people know what to search for and what to use when tweeting. It would also be wise to tell all of your speakers what the designated hashtag will be so they can tweet as well and/or tell the audience about the hashtag.
After the Event: Continue to tweet interesting stats, figures, and statements about the event. Thank your sponsors. Thank your attendees. Ask for feedback. Which speaker did the attendees enjoy the most? What topics did they wish were covered but were not? How can you improve on next years event? Tweet pictures from the event and mention others. Remember to use the hashtag!
Learn more about hashtags.
As with any social media platform and campaign consistency is key. Be sure to post about your event at least once day. Find out when your audience is most likely to be online. It will vary for each platform. Make each post, share, or tweet interesting and share-worthy. Entice your audience. Show them why your event is the place to be.
And above all else, have fun! Social media is about engaging and having a conversation . Make your posts memorable and colorful and people will want to go to your event! You will need your whole team on board if you want to truly make an impact on social media. If all of this social media buzz seems a bit too overwhelming, consult a social media consultant to help you put all the pieces together. Good luck!
Planning a conference is no easy feat. It takes a lot of time, money, and energy. It must be planned down to the second. What if you had a tool that put everything you needed right at your fingertips? Now you do. BusyConf is a one-stop-shop that allows you to organize, plan, and create your event using one simple platform.
1) A Simple Event Planner
Planning a conference can seem like a logistical nightmare. At least that is what planning a conference may seem like to a novice or even expert planner. Well, get ready to say goodbye to the days of endless excel sheets, e-mails, word documents, and pdf files. With BusyConf, everything is in one place. Using the BusyConf platform, you can create schedules, share ideas with your team, and even sell tickets. You can also keep track of attendees and share information with them as the event gets closer.
2) Call for Proposal Forms
When you’re looking for the perfect speaker for your next conference, you’re probably going to put out a call for proposals. Call for proposals are usually set up through your business website or another online service. The conference planner directs all respondents to an e-mail address. That e-mail address is then inundated with e-mails. Each e-mail has an attachment that must be printed and reviewed. Each e-mail must be responded to and followed up. Sounds a bit overwhelming, doesn’t it? Well, what if everything was in one place? What if the tools, the proposals, the requests, and the content was all in one location? It would make your job a whole lot easier. BusyConf offers just that service. BusyConf offers pre-built and customizable call for proposal forms. The BusyConf platform allows you to set up, request, and review call for proposals directly on your own portal. With BusyConf, your colleagues can view and comment on the proposals, and together, you can select the best ones.
3) Online Schedules
Don’t you hate it when you get to an event and you realize you forgot to print out the schedule? Save money on printing while giving your attendees something to rave about with BusyConf’s online schedules. BusyConf offers online schedules that are mobile-friendly and can be seen on almost any device. No WiFi? No problem. The schedules and programs can be viewed with or without internet connection on any mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet.
4) Online Registration
Believe it or not, there are still some conferences out there that require you to print the registration form and mail it in with your check or money order. Save that stamp and use BusyConf’s seamless online registration tool. Online registration has never been so simple. BusyConf will help you create customized registration forms and tickets. Handle everything from early bird registration to last minute refunds.
5) Online Payment
No more processing and depositing checks. With BusyConf, you can accept all major forms of payment directly online. The platform allows you to keep track of all transactions and issue refunds or discounts.
Sounds pretty simple, right? Everything you need in one seamless and effortless platform. BusyConf realizes that time is money and there is often a shortage of both. Both the conference planners and attendees have a positive experience. To learn more about BusyConf, visit BusyConf.com or e-mail .
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