Conference Planning Steps, Tips & Checklist

Conference Planning Steps, Tips & Checklist

by | Feb 25, 2023 | Event Management | 0 comments


You’ve got an idea for a conference, and you want to share it with the world. But how do you make sure the planning goes smoothly and your event is a success? We’ve put together this ultimate checklist to help.

Consider Your Conference Goals

Before you get started on your plan, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you’re hoping to achieve. You don’t want to skip this step because you could end up spending all your time and energy on plans that don’t bring about the results you want.

So, what are your goals? Are they general or specific? For example: “I want to have a better understanding of how conferences work in my industry” versus “I want to learn about effective marketing strategies for events and conferences.”

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I hope to gain from attending this conference?

  • What would be an ideal outcome for me at the conclusion of the event?

  • What are my ultimate goals here (i.e., what would satisfy me)?

Create a Conference Planning Team

As you start to think about your conference planning team, it’s important to consider the different skills and perspectives that will be needed. Having the right people can make all the difference when it comes time to pull off a successful conference.

  • Include those who have done this before. The most important part of any conference is its content, so find people who are passionate about sharing their expertise with others. If there are industry experts in your field or leaders within your organization, consider including them on this team as well.

  • Include those who are good at managing projects and people—and who can handle finances well too! You’ll want someone who is able to keep track of everything from booking space through budgeting for meals and travel costs for speakers/attendees; taking care of these details will help ensure everyone has an amazing experience at your event!

Set the Date, Location, and Format

When choosing a date, location, and format, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • What is the audience? When are they available to attend? Are they local, or traveling from far away? Are their schedules flexible or pretty strict?

  • What is the venue like? Does it have all the amenities you need for your event—catering kitchens, multiple room options for breakout sessions and important functions (like networking), etc?

  • How can we ensure that this event meets our goals from an attendance perspective, as well as from a logistical perspective (i.e., will there be enough room for everyone who wants to attend)?

Choose the Right Venue

  • Choose the right venue. The most important thing to consider when choosing a venue for your event is accessibility. Your attendees will be coming from out of town, so make sure there are transportation options available that can shuttle them efficiently to the event location and back to their hotels at night.

  • Choose an appropriate venue for your event type and size. For example, if you are planning a large conference with hundreds of people in attendance, consider renting out an entire hotel rather than holding it in one small room. On the other hand, if you’re hosting a smaller seminar or workshop where there will only be five or six people in attendance, then renting out that large hotel may not be necessary; instead, go for something more intimate like a restaurant or bar space nearby where everyone can meet up after the day’s sessions have ended!

  • Ensure that all amenities needed by attendees will be available at your chosen venue (think: bathrooms!). It’s also worth noting whether food options are offered at this location as well—this way no one has any surprises about what kind of sustenance might be provided on-site during breaks between sessions!

Get Sponsorships, Exhibitors, and Speakers

In order to attract attendees, sponsorships and exhibitors are critical. You can do both of these things early in the planning process—and you should, if possible.

Sponsorships are a great way to get the word out about your event and can help potential attendees see that there is value in attending your conference or event. They also help with some of the costs associated with producing an event, including venue fees and other expenses like printing materials or purchasing equipment.

Exhibitors serve an important function as well: they give people something else to do at an event besides just listening to speakers talk for hours on end (especially if someone is not interested in hearing what they have to say). Exhibits give people something fun and engaging to experience while getting them excited about attending future events at the same location or venue again (or maybe even at another location).

Create a Website for the Event

Creating a website for your event is a great way to give people who are interested in attending information about the event, like registration deadlines and speaker bios. Plus, it helps you build buzz around the event by providing an easy way for potential attendees to share it with others.

To create an effective website, you’ll want to consider these elements:

  • Design: The design of your site should reflect the overall look and feel of your brand. Don’t stray too far from what you already know works! For example, if you’re using bright colors in everything else that has “your brand name on it,” don’t use black text on white backgrounds on your website (unless it’s part of some larger campaign). If possible, hire a professional designer or firm who specializes in creating websites for conferences or events—they can help ensure that everything flows together seamlessly so people will have no trouble finding what they’re looking for when trying out different pages on your site!

  • Blog: Keep people coming back by creating regular blog posts about topics related to this year’s conference theme or topic(s). Check out some examples from other events around town before making yours–you’ll find plenty of sites out there that have large archives full of useful tips about topics relevant both during the planning stages as well as afterward when evaluating metrics like ROI/returns per dollar spent.”

Prepare Promotional Materials

When it comes to getting the word out about your event, promotional materials are crucial. You need to make sure that people know what you’re doing and when, so they can plan accordingly. Promotional materials can be a combination of print, online and social media. They might include:

  • A video

  • A logo or image that represents the conference

  • A tagline (e.g., “Sponsored by XYZ”)

  • An image that shows what attendees can expect or look like at your event (this could also be used as a header on your website)

Plan Meeting Logistics

  • Plan the schedule of your event.

  • Plan the room layout for your attendees.

  • Determine who will be working on which tasks and how to delegate responsibilities so that everyone can work with minimal interruptions from one another during busy times.

  • Arrange catering and transportation needs, including parking arrangements and shuttles, if necessary.

Manage Event Registration

If you’re going to have an event, you will need some kind of registration system. This could be as simple as a Google Form or even just a sheet of paper with attendees’ names and email addresses, but if you want to expand your reach, make sure that you choose a system that’s easy for new users to understand and use.

The best programs are intuitive in their design and offer features like:

  • Secure payments (so no one can steal credit card numbers)

  • Scalable capacity (so the site won’t crash when 50 people try to register at once)

  • Integrated payment options like PayPal or Stripe, which allow users to pay through their accounts

Use Mobile Apps and Social Media to Promote Your Event

Use Mobile Apps and Social Media to Promote Your Event

Use social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus to promote your event.

  • Use a mobile app that allows attendees to find speakers, sessions, and events in one place. The app should also allow attendees to register for events as well as provide information about speakers and schedule changes with push notifications.

  • Ensure that your mobile application is easy for people to use by making sure it works on all platforms; don’t just develop it for one platform such as iOS or Android because it will limit the number of people who can access your conference information through their phones or tablets.

Event planning can be stressful, but it can be made easier by being well-prepared.

Planning an event can be stressful, but it can be made easier by being well-prepared. Before you start planning your event, you should know what type of event you want to hold and what your goals are for the conference. If you have a theme or topic in mind, that will help with planning because it gives direction to the planning process. The following checklist will help ensure that all aspects of your event are covered:

  • Venue selection: You may need to find or rent a venue for your conference (or find one with existing space). Consider the size of the venue needed and whether there are any restrictions on setup or types of materials allowed inside the room. For example, some venues allow only whiteboards; others have specific requirements about tables and chairs that cannot be changed without prior approval from management staff members at that location (such as “no round tables”). Also, consider how many people are likely to attend; if there’s no way they’ll all fit comfortably inside one room without spilling over into another part of the building where noise could disturb other business operations taking place there during daytime hours when major events tend to occur during weekdays due lack having enough rooms available then plan accordingly using multiple rooms instead one large one which might cause problems later down road like having too many people crammed into small space whose voices might become drowned out by those closer proximity speakers louder voices.”


With the right planning, you’ll be able to create a successful event that will bring your organization closer together and strengthen relationships with your clients.

Do you know that MeetingHand guides you step by step with a “must have” and “nice to have” approach to plan and run the whole process seamlessly?

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