Until someone has personally organised a conference, it is impossible to appreciate the amount of administration involved in producing an efficient, well-run event – after all, so much of the work that goes on is behind the scenes – and generally only the ‘glitches’ are noticed!
Often a conference or workshop has to be planned at quite short notice, with the task of finding a venue and carrying out the administration given to a secretary or administrator as an ‘add-on’ to their already full list of daily tasks. They are therefore very likely to book the first venue they find is available and possibly pay more than they needed to for a venue with less than ideal facilities.
The relatively small outlay involved in appointing an external organiser will, in the end, pay dividends in a) releasing staff to do what they are supposed to do and b) alleviating the many headaches that undoubtedly appear.
Different stages of conference administration:
- Identifying suitable venue, bearing in mind the type of event
- Ongoing liaison with venue re room layout, catering, audio visual requirements,accommodation etc
- Managing registration process - issuing invitations, confirming places, sending out joining instructions, taking cancellations and last minute bookings
- Handling registration fees where relevant
- Being the contact point for all administrative enquiries
- Liaising with speakers regarding their presentation and personal requirements, obtaining biographies for the delegate packs
- Allocating people to workshops in advance of the day
- Printing all the paperwork for delegate packs
- Stuffing delegate packs for the day
- Producing individual badges