Planning a conference can sometimes take a good number of months as there are hundreds of things that both you and your company will need to think about. The initial stages of the planning process are likely to be taken up with meetings to decide exactly what route you would you would like the aim of your conference to be, as this will lay the groundwork for everything else.
In your first meeting you should call together all of the members of the committee to discuss your options. It can be a good idea to brainstorm ideas that will help you to make a solid decision that everyone agrees on. For example, you need to decide what kind of audience your conference will be for, whether it will be an invite-only, ticketed or free event and what you would like the outcome to be.
Once you have ascertained what the theme and aim of your conference is (for example, it might be an educational conference with workshops, or you could decide to hold an internal conference for your entire company) you should decide on a budget for your conference. If you will need to seek funding from some other body or company you should set about doing this as soon as possible so as to be awarded the funding in time for your conference.
At this point it can be a good idea to begin thinking about the speakers, workshops and other events you would like to include in your conference’s programme. If you have people in mind make sure that you contact them early on to give them notice of your interest, and keep them up-to-date with any changes to the programme so that they can adapt their presentation or workshop accordingly.
Now you should find a venue for your conference – make sure that it is in a central location and that it will be large enough to contain the estimated number of people that will be attending. You will often find that hotels have large conference venues that you can book for a number of days, and this also has the added advantage of providing accommodation for anyone that will be attending.
After this has been sorted out it is time to turn your attention to your marketing and PR plan so that you can advertise your conference. You should contact large companies within your industry to let them know of your conference and also invite certain well-known figures within the field.