Tuesday, March 14, 2017

How Do I Set Up My Yearly Conference?

Mar. 14, 2017

Dear Cathy:

I am a new business owner dealing with relationship coaching. I would like to start a yearly conference. What do I need to know about yearly conferences and how do I set it up? Conference, Alabama

Dear Conference:

There are two types of conferences that work really well for yearly conferences – a 1 or 3 day conference. You can also have a "bi-annual" or "semi-annual" event (twice a year). If you choose to do this then a 1 day event should suffice.

If this is your first event, I would only start off with a 1 day conference. This way you can see some of the problems you will encounter down the line.

Once you have the first event you should name it “The FIRST ANNUAL…” so participants will know this will be a yearly event. To get even more exposure y
ou can move this event from city to city or keep the event in your own city. 

At the one day event, the event does not have to take place at a hotel, however, all the speaker/trainer events should be held in the same room.

For the one day event the food can be brought in and catered or if you have the event at the hotel provided by the hotel. If you break for lunch and eat at other places, you might lose some of your participants or you can have some type of dinner event at the end of the day.

For a one day event it should be held on a Saturday from 9:00-6:00 p.m. 
Some people will only come for the morning event and others for the afternoon event or some dedicated followers will stay all day.

To collect funds it should be posted at www.eventbrite.com or on your own website. With a 3 day event, the goal is to get other clients and customers to come in from out of town, so you should hold this event at a hotel. 

Most hotels will work with you by providing a block of low-cost rooms for those who register early so you should encourage everyone to register early. You should also have someone to work with the participants who would like to share a room.

You will need to have all your marketing material and your website set up ahead of time. Anywhere from 3 to 4 months out is when hotels should allow participants to start registering, but you want to start using word of mouth to talk this event up throughout the year.

First of all you need to come up with the speakers and topics that will be presented. For a 1 day event 4 to 5 speakers/trainers should be adequate. 

Remember you will be the host and this will be the time for you to highlight your business - your services and products, which should be displayed everywhere.

For 3 days events you can have several speakers and trainers throughout the day and you can move the workshops to several different rooms and even outside.

You can also have vendors, which can make more money for the event. To alleviate stress, assign someone to deal with vendors specifically. 

All they will have to do is make sure the vendors have 6 feet tables with table cloths if provided by hotels or if it is a one day event, let potential vendors know they will need to bring all the decorations for their tables.

Don't overcharge for vendors. For a 1 day event, you can charge anywhere from $50.00 to $75.00. For a 3 day event, you can charge anywhere from $100.00 to $150.00. Remember because of the noise, the vendor event will need to be away from the Speaker's training events.

For 3 day events, people usually register or sign in at hotels on Friday and you might hold one event that night – a seminar, town hall meeting, speed dating session, etc.

Remember on Saturday starting at 8:00 or 9:00 a.m., you want a full day of events. On Saturday night there is usually some type of dance with entertainers. And the event should end at 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. 

Many people might leave on Saturday evening or Sunday morning, but many of your faithful followers will stick around for the end of the event.

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