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The truth behind planning a great conference or meeting

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Ribby Hall

Planning a conference is exciting but can also be a daunting task; however it doesn’t have to be.  Selecting the right venue can mean the difference between a lot of planning and a quick checklist, so make sure you use our top tips when looking for the perfect place to hold your conference or meeting…

Location

You might get swept away with agenda’s, flip charts and food but location can really make the difference between a well-attended event and one that stays in people’s memories for all the wrong reasons.

Start your planning by selecting somewhere with good road links or even better, motorway access to draw in people from further afield; somewhere with good public transport options and also somewhere that offers on site complimentary parking.  This will take the stress out of attending and prevent late arrivers!

Conference Coordinator

Once you have shortlisted venues the next step is to see if they have a Conference Coordinator, someone who knows everything about conferences, meetings and events.  By choosing a venue with a good Coordinator you can cut your planning workload in half!Ribby Hall

Be creative!

Are you at your most productive in the evening, or more receptive sat in a coffee shop… then it’s probably the same for others!

Don’t be afraid to try something different; choose informal dress and book an evening meeting with drinks or a lounge style room with sofa’s and chat over coffee and cakes.  Think what would motivate your guests and go with it.

If your conference requires a more formal layout then why not add a Reflexologists or Physio to offer 10 min relax sessions to break up the day or week, even arrange a short yoga class at the end of the day.

Suite

Try to find a venue that has a number of suite options both large and small.  A meeting or conference that starts off small may develop into something that you didn’t plan so if you know that there are upsize (or downsize) options, it prevents any embarrassment.

Ribby HallFood

Delegates LOVE food; make sure the venue has a good choice of food to suit all tastes, times of the day and meetings. 

Get the right package for you

Don’t compromise on quality when it comes to cost, think about if the package offers value for money; are you getting the best for your budget? Are there any alternative packages with extras that will really wow your delegates? Packages can be amended to suit specific requirements, so look for a flexible venue that makes your needs a priority.

Clarity and transparency

Has the venue told you everything?

Make a list of questions for the venue and don’t be afraid to ask them!  You may have planned many meetings before, or you may be planning for the first time, each venue is different, so all questions need to be answered.

Below are our top question recommendations:

  • Is there a point of contact throughout in case you have any queries?
  • Is there air conditioning? – controlling the room temperature keeps delegates attention on the content of your conference, rather than if they are feeling too hot or too cold.
  • Does the venue provide AV equipment and anything else that you may want for the day?
  • Does the venue have natural light or outside areas – keep your delegates alert and on form.

 

Looking for the perfect purpose built conference and training venue to hire or rent? To find out more, simply click here.

 

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Andrew Mann
After 34 years working in numerous operational and communications disciplines for three FTSE companies (Yorkshire Electricity; Meggitt and BAE Systems), at over a dozen locations, on 24 November 2016, I became the inaugural editor of Business Lancashire. Business Lancashire is a good news, Lancashire focused, business website and daily newsletter. It is a partnership between The Samuel James Group and the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. Over the years, I have written hundreds of press releases, features for trade magazines, copy for websites and brochures, edited in-house magazines and newsletters, as well as presenting a radio programme on Chorley FM. This experience has given me the ideal background for editing Business Lancashire.