We meet loads of people who say they know how to put on a conference. But what does that actually mean? They know a few people they can ask to present, and they know how to arrange the practicalities? That’s event management.
We would argue that staging a successful conference is around 10% logistics, 90% design & production.
From the “why”, (vision), to the “how” (experience), and the “what” (program, presenters, networking). It’s so much more than just booking a venue and hiring a projector and getting a couple of friendlies up on a stage.
Our firm belief is that research is at the heart of the best possible conference and what sets conference production apart from event management.
Research will give you the “why”, and should feed into every aspect of the conference you then start to plan. Prospective clients we’ve spoken to light up at the concept and say: “Great, I’ll send out an online survey to my target market” Spoiler alert: Not gonna work.
Research in the conference world involves detailed conversations with your target market, key stakeholders and select members of your ecosystem. It involves setting aside time to speak to them on the phone, or in person, in order to really delve into the issues that matter to them and their pain points. The beauty of this method is that it also gets their buy-in, at a very early stage, into the conference and its outcomes. An online survey simply won’t give you the insights you need to deliver a conference that accurately addresses the ‘big question’ your target participants have on their minds. After all, there is as much in what they don’t say as what they do say. It’s the basics of human communication. An online survey won’t give you the pregnant pauses, the sighs, the frustration nor the enthusiasm.
“How am I going to find the time to do all this?!” is the usual response to this suggestion, and the answer circles back to the headline of this post. Leave it to the professionals.
#conferenceproduction #research #design
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- Team UC