How to Organise Your Annual Staff Conference
Many businesses, small and large host an annual staff conference as part of their internal communication strategies. While some businesses are fortunate to have inhouse event managers or conference managers, many businesses allocate staff members (and sometimes committees) the important task of organising the annual conference. The team of event professionals at No.1 Events enjoys working closely with conference organisers to deliver stand out conferences. Now in the post-COVID era we have a wide range of best practice strategies to ensure your event is safe for all attendees.
Here are our team’s favourite tips to help ensure your next annual conference is the best one yet.
Work out your aims and set your theme
Identify what the aims are for your conference so that you can develop a conference theme. Your theme will then flow through all other aspects of your conference planning – from conference venue selection to your choice of MC, speakers and entertainment.
Create a budget
It is normal for businesses to allocate an overall budget for their calendar of events. Professional conference organisers always create a detailed event budget that shows the breakdown of each important item – such as venue, catering, entertainment, speakers and activities. If you are handy with an excel spreadsheet, it pays to create your budget from the outset and ensure that there is a master copy that is updated regularly in the lead up to your event.
Develop your conference program
Before choosing your conference venue, it is important to have a good understanding of what your program looks like in terms of content, activities and any post conference event requirements (so that you can choose your venue accordingly).
Set a date and book your conference venue
Once your have confirmed your attendee numbers and your program, it pays to confirm your conference venue as well in advance as possible (some of the larger conferences can book 1 – 2 years in advance).
To help you choose a conference venue that is the perfect fit, ask yourself the following:
1. Does your program include any team building activities (that may require an outdoor area)?
2. Does your conference require break out spaces for catering or for smaller group sessions?
3. Are you planning a post conference event such as a Gala Dinner, Staff Awards Night or a casual post conference cocktail party?
4. What is the most effective way for your venue to be configured based on your aims? For example – if you are having formal presentations, a Theatre Style seating plan may be most effective. Or, if you are wanting to encourage interaction, perhaps a number of break out spaces and a more informal seating plan will suit your event best.
The registration of smaller conferences is easily managed with an excel spreadsheet. For larger numbers, it is worth utilising a program such as Paperless Post or Mail Chimp to encourage online RSVPs (so that you can easily track your numbers). Larger businesses (or those that host many events throughout the year), may utilise conference registration software or engage a professional conference organiser to manage their event.
To avoid your conference attendees from experiencing ‘information overload’ and to break up the day, why not incorporate some engaging experiences into your program? A spot of golf, a yoga session or a team building activity such as an Amazing Race will give your attendees some fresh air and relaxation.
Post Conference Events
Hosting a post conference event is a great way to reward your staff. Depending on your budget and event aims, a Gala Event or an Awards Night are always well received. Incorporate entertainment, gifting and prize giveaways to add excitement. For a more casual approach, a cocktail party is a great way to encourage networking and to help your guests unwind post conference.
No.1 Events is a new conference and function venue located only 20 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD. For intimate VIP meetings to large lavish gala dinners, we have the space to perfectly fit your event.