If you are responsible for coordinating a large conference, begin well in advance by creating a to-do list and consulting with any other members of the team who will be working with you to ensure its success. Remember also that, realistically, you can’t expect to set aside any of your other responsibilities until the event is over just to allow time for this.

Here are some steps that should be part of your planning:
  • Choose a date that won’t conflict with a holiday or another major event in your organization, determine the location and create a realistic budget to cover your expenses.
  • Send out invitation letters and emails to speakers on your list. At the same time, decide what workshops will be offered to those who attend, consult with the workshop facilitators and send out the registration forms.
  • Make a list of all the equipment you will need for the event, such as chairs, tables, podiums, flip charts and audio-visual equipment. Arrange for their rental, if necessary.
Arranging for meals and refreshments

Meet with the hotel or conference center’s event coordinator and make use of their expertise in arranging for coffee breaks, selecting food items and setting up tables for meals. Remember that they want your repeat business and are fully prepared to help you in making things go smoothly.

Using conference registration software

Whether you are receiving registration responses online, over the telephone or through the mail, this can be a tremendous help to you. You will be able to enter the attendees’ names in a data base and use codes to record their various workshop choices. You can also see at a glance when a workshop is filled and when your expected registration reaches capacity, and print out the list of attendees, along with their workshop assignments. To speed up check-in time on the day of the event, this will also enable you to provide every participant with an individualized schedule.

Using conference registration software will ensure that the participants’ information is secure,and the related files can be password-protected on a need-to-know basis. You can also provide everyone who registers with a password to access their conference schedules and registration status.

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