A client's view on conference planning
By Phillip Gerrish, 18 December 2012 –
Conference planning is something that we at The Challenge Factor have been doing for many years. We think we are pretty good at it but we wanted a clients viewpoint. So, The Conference Doctor conducted a short interview. Here's what was said.
The Conference Doctor: What where you looking for in a conference planner?
Client: I had been asked to plan and organise the company conference for about 100 people. It was my first time and I needed some help.
Why did you choose us?
I asked colleagues within the organisation and The Challenge Factor was mentioned a few times. On those recommendations I had a meeting with Geoff and other members of the team and felt that they had the right approach
What do you mean by 'the right approach?'
Frankly, I was looking for peace of mind. This was a one day event followed by dinner and an overnight stay for 100 or so colleagues, customers and suppliers. It was important that the company was presented in a good light, that we achieved our objectives and got value from the day. I was looking for reassurance that it would all go well, but I wanted to deliver it in a relaxed manner.
What was the brief?
The Challenge Factor were tasked with delivering all the audio visual services and supplying the evening entertainment. The set had to have a real impact yet not dominate the room when used for the entertainment. There was limited time for the set up and knock down but the team were well prepared and everything was ready in plenty of time for evening rehearsals
How did it go?
The whole event went very well. so much so that I have used The Challenge Factor on every event since. For the delegates there was a real sense of occasion (It was the first conference in many years) and all the arrangements worked well. We even had to change a few slides the evening before and although it took time the team were unruffled as we made sure the correct changes were made.
Have you changed things as the relationship has developed?
Conference Planning is all about detail and I leave it very much up to The Challenge Factor to deliver the appropriate set and technology for the brief I give them. I have tended to do things like source the venue and manage the delegate list. However as technology improves I have been impressed by the delegate management software that The Challenge Factor use. Keeping track of 100 people, their different dietary requirements and transport is time consuming and using an automated system is the way forward. I would also love to use Messenger (Messenger is an audience response system developed by The Challenge Factor). We have tended to use roving mics for the Q&A sessions. These are good but can restrict the number of questions and sometimes the quieter delegates do not get a word in. Messenger can capture all the questions and stimulate really good debates. Perhaps next time!
Thank you for your time.