Making a success of your congress internationally, at all levels, in three steps
The success of a conference can be measured in many ways. The number of tickets sold and participant satisfaction are often key indicators that measure the success of the event. When you decide to hold an international conference, many elements remain, but the preparation is different and a little more complex. Here are some essential steps to a successful three-step event before, during and after the conference.
BEFORE YOUR EVENT
1 – Set up an organizing committee
First of all, it is very important to choose an effective organizing committee that will be responsible for the design of the conference. This committee will define everyone’s responsibilities according to their strengths. If the congress is held outside your country, it is essential to take the time to meet with resource people who are present in the territory in question. This person will be able to assist you greatly with logistics, especially with regard to finding the most favourable location for the event, based on the number of participants and access to the room.
2 – Align the content with the target audience
Then, the desired content will have to be harmonized with the target audience. This will be the basis for the organization of the congress. Based on this, the search for speakers related to this content can begin. It is always useful to use your contacts to attract names. Note that a big name will be the best publicity you can get for your conference, so it is sometimes worth investing in this.
3 – Enhance networking with technological tools
Networking will be paramount, in order to hope for as many participants as possible. It is important that your entire network be informed that a conference is being planned several months in advance. Thanks to an application created especially for this congress, it will be much easier to manage participants and communicate information related to the event. In addition, this application will reduce your costs and increase your ticket sales by acting as an advertising tool. It will also stimulate attendees’ commitment and encourage them to purchase a ticket.
4 – How to choose your sponsors
Sponsors will be needed to make the event a success. Again, you can use your contacts. If this option does not work, you will need to take some time to research it. The more big names you attract, the more likely companies will want to support your event.
5 – Issuing striking invitations
Now it’s time to send out the invitations to future participants. The content of these will be very important, and should capture the attention of the interlocutor. Sending the link to download our application dedicated to the event shows a certain seriousness. To this engaging email sequence, you can attach video content and build on the collaborative learning experience.
DURING YOUR EVENT
1 – Create engaging content related to your event
The preparations are complete, it’s now the day of the congress! Take lots of pictures and video/audio clips of the booths, presentations, speakers, venues, etc. This will make a great advertisement for next year’s conference, and you can pass them on to participants.
2 – Improve participants’ experience with a mobile application
Your team also needs to ensure that participants have a good impression of the conference as a whole. This starts with a quality welcome, but continues with refreshments and small tokens of appreciation from sponsors that participants will take home with them.
It may be interesting to opt for a concierge service in the application, which provides automatic answers to pre-established questions that may be related to access to the site (subway, parking, cab, etc.) or the location of different rooms on the premises (restrooms, conference rooms, cafés, etc.). The concierge can also help with more technical issues related to ticketing or the efficiency of travel for participants from outside the country by putting them in touch with a contact person.
During the event, posters will be used to demonstrate the benefits of downloading the application. The more participants who download it, the more interesting the interactions on the platform will be.
3 – Opt for a “green” event
With the current climate crisis, it will also be important to opt for a “green” event. First of all, it will help to reduce paper use, but it will also require that the containers and utensils needed to serve the refreshments be compostable, recyclable or even better, reusable. A good waste management system must be in place.
AFTER YOUR EVENT
1 – Collect feedback from participants and send documentation related to the event
The conferences are now all over and you are freeing up the event’s premises. In the next 24 hours, it is important to get comments and feedback from participants about their experience, for two reasons: first, it will help prepare for a future conference that will be improved; second, it will show participants that you care about their satisfaction. This feedback will be possible thanks to the application, which will be able to automatically send a satisfaction questionnaire to participants within 24 hours after the event.
Along with the questionnaire, it will be important to send thanks to participants and sponsors, photos and a link to video/audio clips of the conferences that some people might have missed due to lack of time and that they can listen to on the way home. If time permits, it may be interesting to attach documents summarizing the different sessions.
2 – Use the momentum to stimulate participants to continue the discussion
Finally, on the application, it will be to your advantage to encourage exchanges between participants, to encourage a collective brainstorming after the congress and this, about the different conferences. With the networking they will have set up and the new meetings, they will also be able to communicate privately to continue to exchange according to their bilateral interests.
Thanks to the Fanslab application that will ensure the smooth running of your event, everyone will be inclined to come back the following year!
-L’Associé (2018). «5 conseil pour organiser votre congrès avec succès!», page consultée le 15 mai 2019, from https://lassocie.ca/2018/07/12/5-conseils-pour-organiser-votre-congres-avec-succes/
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