After, over four decades, of involvement in, planning, over – seeing, negotiating, and producing, hundreds of events, conferences, and conventions, I’ve come to realize, and understand, the huge benefits, when professionally designed, and considered, programming, is used effectively. Although, many seem to believe, all that’s needed, is to call something an event, conference, and convention, and to hope to create a quality program, the reality is, considerably different. This generally begins, with the initial budgeting, professional negotiating, considering contingencies/ ramifications, etc, and progressing, seamlessly, to meaningful marketing and promotion, and following – up, with making attendees experiences, as meaningful, as possible. With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, discuss, and review, what this means and represents, and how, it makes, such an amazing difference, for the better.
1. Budgeting and Negotiating: How can any event, be, as good, as it might be, unless, you begin, by effectively studying, reviewing, evaluating, and considering, revenues and expenditures, using a professionally formulated and designed, zero – based budget? This means, conservatively, estimated, potential revenue, while considering all potential revenue sources and opportunities. It requires honestly budgeting, using worst – case scenarios, both obvious, as well as unforeseen expenditures. Then, a professional negotiator must use a Request for Proposal, or RFP, in order to clearly explain what you need and require, including food and beverage costs/ alternatives, audio – visual needs, meeting room requirements, complementary needs, etc. Inexperienced meeting planners, often, ignore, fully considering, the best way, to get, the most, bang – for – the – buck!
2. Marketing and Promotions: Even the best possible, event, conference, or convention, will not succeed, unless/ until, you get, potential attendees, to actually come to the event! How will you do so, in an affordable way, and, what will you stress, to inspire and motivate attendance? It’s important to consider, from the perspective of others, the perceived benefits, and how your program differs from the competition, in a positive way. In addition, this must be properly budgeted for, and planned, in order to ensure, it is done wisely, etc.
3. Perceived value: Quality events must demonstrate, both, actual value, as well as perceived value. Although, you might believe you are providing a valuable experience, until/ unless, others do, it won’t inspire them, to come! You need to clearly show, they will get, their desired, bang – for – the – buck, and, this, means, including numerous opportunities, and inclusions, for a variety of interests and priorities.
4. The immediate period, prior to the day: Do, a dry – run, in the days leading up, to the start of your conference/ convention! Review, as many details as possible, with the venue, so, you’re consistently, on the same page!
5. When the event comes: Remember, an attendee’s first impression, often, determines the difference between success, and less than stellar possibilities! Meeting, and greeting, and making everyone feel welcome, often smooths over, potential conflicts, etc. Never forget the details!
Don’t just hold them, but, provide the best possible experience! Great leaders, consistently, use professional event planning, techniques, and procedures!