Everyone wants their company conference to be the talk of the year, but for the right reasons. We have all been to a conference where half the audience are asleep and the other half are fidgeting around packing up their stuff ready to make a dash for it.

To help you make your next company conference one people will remember for the right reasons we have come up with 8 things never to do at a company conference:

1. Never serve alcohol at lunchtime.

With a day of sessions planned the last thing you want is delegates being more than excited in the afternoon session before nodding off. It can be hard enough to keep your audience engaged at times without the added influence of alcohol.

2. Never have the longest session at the end of the day.

Your audience will start to lose attention as the day goes on. The last thing they want to do is be sat listening to a speaker go on and on especially on a nice spring/summer afternoon. The general rule of thumb when planning your sessions is to have the longest session at the beginning of the day with a short break and as the day goes on make the sessions shorter and the breaks longer.

3. Do not ban questions.

We’ve all been to conferences where the speaker says “please save all questions until the end”. You either forget the question that you wanted to ask or are in a hurry to get out so don’t bother asking.
Ensure that you have a roving microphone available to delegates so their question can be heard by all and answered there & then. If one person is unclear on a point, it’s likely that others are too. Questions may disturb the planned flow of a session but good speakers will use questions to enhance presentations and give greater value to delegates.

4. Never ban phones.

Let your audience use their phones and own devices to get involved and interact with the speaker and other delegates. Allow them to tweet your content, engage with the speaker with a personalised app and vote on various topics.

5. Never overrun.

If delegates are flying back home from a conference that same day, always be sure to mention the time that they should book their flight by (give your sessions a buffer). No speaker likes it when half the delegates are fidgeting as they may miss a plane.

6. Don’t underestimate set up times.

Set- up often takes longer than you think especially if you are in a place you are unfamiliar with and using new equipment. We all know how frustrating it can be when you are sat waiting for something to start because they are sorting out a technical glitch.

7. Don’t trust local production agencies.

They don’t always pay the same attention to detail that you take for granted. If you aren’t able to ship out your own materials, then make sure local production agencies send you images of their previous work and explain exactly how items will be made and printed to avoid any nasty shock.

8. Don’t forget to let delegates know timings.

Don’t forget to make it clear to all delegates what the check-out time is and to ensure that they have adequate time to do this either the night before, the morning of departure of during coffee breaks.

  • Helen O’Brien

    My comment is on local production agencies – I have organised numerous large scare conference in various countries and have always used local production agencies and have never had a bad experience. I believe you need to brief them well – be clear on your requirements and follow up to ensure the full brief is carried out. I am present during the set up.

  • FreshAttitude

    Thank you Helen – we agree with you, a clear brief is key! There are, as you say, many good local production agencies. Sadly though over the years, we have heard some bad stories particularly in large cities outside of Europe.