Planning a conference is one of the most rewarding things you can do. The sense of satisfaction that comes with watching throngs of attendees interact with what you worked so hard and long to create keeps us coming back for more, despite the sometimes-crazy hours, stress and hard work. But, as we all know, planning a conference is also a huge project not to be taken lightly. To help you in your journey, we’ve created a quick and dirty high-level guide on how to plan a successful conference. This guide provides a solid foundation for those who are new to conference planning, and veteran planners should find a few new tips and ideas, too.
Your conference is finally done. You’ve been walking 20 miles per day, running on adrenaline, and you’re totally exhausted. First, take a bit of time to wind down in the way that best suits you, maybe that’s ordering a giant room service meal and then passing out, or maybe that’s partying with your team to celebrate! (Don’t forget to recognize your team for their outstanding work while you’re knocking back tequila shots).
Next, if you can swing it, turn off your phone and email, and take a few days to disconnect. This step is super important and can be built into your conference timeline from the start.
Finally, there is a bit more planning and work that needs to be done. Start by spending some time on your own to analyze what went well at your conference, what could be improved, what can be tweaked or changed next year and document these thoughts. It’s going to be a lot easier to remember now than a few months from now.
Next, plan an opportunity for your team to also feedback this information. Send each of your event teams a template that includes: noteworthy data, success metrics and KPIs, plus a section where they can answer the same questions you did: “What went well?” and “What did not go well?” Finally, give them space to give recommendations for future events. Once they have compiled the information, you can collect it or meet with each team to talk about it. In compiling these results, you’ll start to see patterns, which along with your audience surveys will begin to create a story about your event. This story will be the foundation of your event reporting.
For more in-depth understanding of how to organize your post-event planning data and reporting, watch our webinar to help you Own Post-conference Planning.
Congrats, eventprofs! You made it through the finish line! What did we miss? Let us know and we’ll continue to build out this guide.
An effective post-mortem is something many event managers struggle with. To help you plan, we’ve distilled our conference management experience into a simple post-event checklist that can serve as a useful roadmap. It covers what top event managers do before, during, and after their event to ensure their next event is a massive success.