How to survive a 2,000 delegate conference – Part 3

Part 3 of our conference survival mini-series looks at everything our 2,000-delegate conference taught us about event flow. There’s no denying that it was a monumental challenge, but making sure staff knew what they were doing and that delegates knew when and where events were taking place was key to an enjoyable and constructive experience.

1. Venue

  • Having picked a venue that’s easy to get to, you need to provide delegates with clear travel instructions. While it’s pretty easy for people to find out themselves online, make it even easier by providing a map and the nearest train or Tube station.
  • Your staff’s (and delegates’) feet will thank you for having the rooms close together, and over a maximum of 2-3 floors, to save on walking.
  • Visit the venue at least two weeks in advance to make sure it, and its staff, is up to speed, and take all involved department managers too.

2. Catering

  • Hungry delegates are not happy delegates.
  • Most events have standing buffets, so provide food that can be eaten with only a fork so they don’t get food all over the floor (or on their ties and faces).
  • Give delegates somewhere obvious to put their empty plates and glasses so they don’t leave them wherever they find space and create clutter.
  • You don’t need a seat for all 2,000 delegates (you’d need a stadium) but having seating areas where they can eat and relax will stop them spreading out across the whole venue. Otherwise, tired delegates will sit anywhere they find space, including floors, doorways, and hallways, which quickly blocks up event flow.

3. Signage

  • Good signage is vital in avoiding having 2,000 delegates walking around in a daze and bumping in to each other as they look for the next speaker. The higher the signs the better because they’ll be easier to see over the big crowds and from farther away.
  • Have human signage spread around the venue to give directions and other information. We don’t mean you have to be cruel and strap signs to your staff, but have them wear easily-identifiable uniforms

4. Event App

  • In today’s technology-filled world, you can’t have an event without an accompanying mobile app. An event app means delegates can have maps, agendas, speaker information, content and presentations, floor plans, Q&As, and feedback forms at their fingertips.

5. Event Team

  • The site visit you do a couple of weeks before the event is a great time to plan the role of each member of staff. Make sure they know what to wear at the event, and make sure you have the right number of staff – too few and they’ll be overworked and make mistakes, too many and you’ll have staff standing around doing nothing, making the place look untidy.
  • A quiet office with natural sunlight away from the hustle and bustle will give your staff a place to relax. Make sure there’s always food available because they’ll be too busy to eat at normal times.

Without good event flow a 2,000-delegate conference would be chaos. For a successful event that works well for the client and is productive for the delegates, you need to make sure that your staff know what they’re supposed to be doing at all times, and that delegates know where they’re going among huge crowds.

Interested in hearing more? Talk to us about your next B2B event.

By Natasha Ient, Event Manager at MOI

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