Tips for Planning Your Summer and Fall Events

If you are planning a conference or workshop for summer or fall 2014, start planning now. Whether you’re planning a small conference with your peers or a thousand-person conference for your association, K-State conference services has some simple tips and tools to help make the most out of your event, regardless of budget and scale.

According to conference coordinator Kathryn Harth, it’s all in the planning.

“Staying organized is key,” Harth said. “Veteran planners understand that nearly all conferences require the same key elements.”

  • Set your sights on the end results. Knowing what you are trying to accomplish is the first step.

“Knowing your goals and audience will allow you to determine how to market your conference, choose a venue, create an agenda that will achieve your mission and provide the planning team with a clear path to success,” Harth said.

  • Go with experts. The Division of Continuing Education conference services staff is composed of experienced event planners who are knowledgeable about state and university policies, understand contract legalities and hotel negotiations, and who will make every effort to ensure a successful conference for your participants.
  • Plan ahead. Schedule regular planning meetings, assign tasks with a timeline established for each milestone and set clear deadlines. A well-planned event will give you the opportunity to pay attention to the details and finishing touches in the final moments.
  • Let a conference services professional be your point person. The conference coordinator can manage all logistical details, from site selection to contract negotiations to final arrangements and vendor payments.
  • Set a realistic budget. Planning an event without a budget can lead to financial disaster and undue stress when decisions need to be made or final payments are due. A realistic budget will help with the planning process and set expectations on what you can and cannot achieve.
  • Choose your location wisely. It’s important to know the venue and staff who will assist you throughout your conference.

“Conference services can help you determine effective room sets and the flow of attendees during transitions, breaks and meals and appropriate signage to be placed throughout the venue,” Harth said.

  • Take advantage of registration services. K-State conference services will oversee the registration of your event, from creating registration forms, sending confirmation emails, collecting payment and providing refunds to answering daily questions from conference participants in the weeks leading up to the conference.
  • Confirm details. Let the conference services staff do all the last minute follow-up prior to the event so you can relax and focus on the content for the event and being the host for conferences attendees. Checklists with event details will be checked and double-checked by the trained conference coordinator.

Harth says the final step is to sit back and enjoy your event.

“With advanced planning and your conference services team, you will have an amazing event that will flow seamlessly,” Harth said. Contact K-State Conferences and Noncredit Programs today to begin planning your summer or fall event.