webmasterJune 10, 2014June 10, 2014Everyone experiences a first – the first company appreciation event, the first association networking meet up, or the first user conference. Someone identified a need and now you are in the midst of planning this event. Before you start negotiating “rates and dates”, focus on these areas, in this order, to make your event a true success: Content, Speakers, Attendees, Exhibitors, Sponsors Content: Why Hold this Meeting? Before you get too excited about this conference, start building out the content. What will attendees learn that they can’t learn anywhere else? What is your unique proposal? Build out good, valuable sharable content by constructing the entire program agenda. Don’t worry about speakers. This will sell your conference; it is the foundation for excellence. Speakers: Who can present this Content? Once you have your agenda figured out, now it is time to work on your logistics. Here are the following items you will need to have in place BEFORE you contact your speakers: Where will you be holding this conference or meeting? If it is a multi-day event, you want to make certain your venue has walkable dining, attractions and nightlife. Remember, most attendees will not have a car, so it is vital that they can walk to the places they want to go (learn other “go green” strategies). What are the date ranges? Speakers, who are worth their salt, are generally booking 12-18 months out. The first thing they are going to ask is when you are holding this event. It is alright to give them a range if you don’t have the venue locked down yet. You are looking for a general “yes” or “no” during that time period. What is your speaking budget? Don’t try and get every presenter for free. Work toward finding the right speaker for the right content and note what they want in fees. Don’t say no – just say you aren’t at a point where you can sign a contract with them yet. Find out what their projector rental and computer rental needs are. Attendees: Who are You Going to Target? I would suggest you limit your attendees to a certain number – enough to make the event worthwhile and make your organization some money – but not so large it can become unwieldy. Most individuals target in the 100-150 range for a one-day event and 250-500 range for a multi-day conference. Target the people you know who will gain the most from this content. In addition, keep your pricing reasonable. Remember, you want them to attend – so don’t make your price point so high that they will stay home or so low that they can blow you off. Exhibitors: Are they aligned to Your Attendees? Once you have the content, speakers and attendees confirmed, decide whether or not you are going to hold a trade show. If you do, make it small and make sure the attendee – exhibitor matchup is right. The last thing you want to have is exhibitors who have nothing in common with a majority of your attendees and vice-versa. Start small and build out. Sponsors: What do you need? When making the call for sponsors, share with them all the information listed above. Spend time selling the content, quality of your speakers and number of attendees. Let them know what exhibitors have committed to your event. Have excitement and passion in your voice. Because your event is well-planned, sponsorships should be a relatively easy “yes” or “no”. Customize offerings and realize one-size-fits-all sponsorship deals are passé. About Us Hartford Technology Rental has a large inventory of state-of-the-art technology rental products and services. Combined with the numerous configuration options available, all computer and mobile device rentals are pre-loaded with an up-to-date operating system, anti-virus software, and any software images you want pre-installed. Call us at 888-520-5667 to learn more about how we can help you get your first conference off the ground.