Tips for conference planners: Good planning equals better organisation

Be prepared!

Organising events takes a long time.

They are often planned months or even years ahead. Many factors have to be considered and budgeted for. Good planning pays dividends.

If an event is a very long time in the planning, it can be particularly difficult to keep track. Checklists are one aid, schedules with fixed deadlines are another. We also recommend dividing organisational work into subsections for delegation and keeping up to date by means of regular feedback.

If you haven't passed the main burden on to aprofessional conference organiser (PCO), you should consider using planning software. Numerous customised software systems for organising major events are now available and they are continuously being updated, so you benefit from other people's up-to-date knowledge.

The more complex and 'branching' your organisational team, the better planned their interaction should be. The ideal solution is a system, preferably web-based, that everyone can access at all times and that is easy to work in. However, pay attention to access rights, as some things – such as the finances – should be restricted. The advantage is that the status of an event can be seen at any time online, provided it is systematically updated.

You should ensure that the following two tools are included: a timetable that shows all key deadlines and interim targets, and what is known as a Gantt chart that highlights the dependencies between planned actions and tasks to be carried out by the various departments/partners/service providers.

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