Tips for a Successful Ladies Conference
I've been told that everything in life happens for a reason. Little did I realize how much my experience with event planning in college was going to serve me later on in ministry.
This Spring we held a 2 day ladies conference for about 100 women. It was a great event, full of fellowship, Bible teaching and good food. And though we received 98% positive remarks on the comment cards we did learn a few things. Today and tomorrow I am sharing 10 tips for planning a successful ladies conference or event. Some we did, and some we learned we need to do next time.
- let them know what to expect, and what is expected of them, but don't reveal all. You want the invitations to build anticipation for the event. They should include: dates, times, location & directions, speaker, theme, cost, etc.
- Be clear. Who is invited? (adults only? mother's & daughters? what ages?, etc.) Is there a cost? Do you need to register prior to the event? Is child care provided? If it's a multi-day event, will housing be provided, or will you give them a list of area hotels? Did you include a contact name and number for questions and registration?
2. Organization – more is better
- What is your goal for the event? What do you want people to take away from it? What message do you want them to receive? etc. Having this established from the start will guide you in your preparations. Anything not working toward that goal, is working against it and can be eliminated from the plan.
- Make a budget, and stick to it. Take into consideration how much you can invest, plus expected attendee ticket monies, and then create your budget accordingly. Include: location rental, equipment rental, decorations, favors/ gift bags, food, food service materials (plates, cups, etc.), invitations/printing. You may also consider collecting donations from groups, churches, businesses, organizations, either money or products that could be used in the attendee gift bags, speaker welcome basket, or as door prizes.
- Delegate preparation tasks if you have help. Food, decorations, favors/ gift bags, rental equipment, set up, child care (if offered), etc. Many hands make light work and it's so much fun to work as a team when hosting an event.
- Make a schedule for the event, and stick to it. We'll talk about this more in #6, but take into consideration if the guests will need a table to put materials on and take notes, and will you be moving from conference area to dining area during the event, etc.
- What event are you planning after this one? Be ready to advertise it.
3. First Impressions – the wow factor
- Wow them! You want your event to exceed the guests' expectations. Their first impression should be “Wow!” Make sure that the reception area is inviting.
- Those who are greeting the guests should be thoroughly prepared/trained for the registration/welcoming process (do they need to check people in, look up their name, take their payment, etc.) The greeters should be someone who is able to make the guests immediately feel at ease.
4. Make it Personal – favors
- If possible, have a personalized name tag and/or favor or gift bag to present to each attendee upon arrival. No word is more special to someone that her own name. If you had pre-registration for the event, have those name tags/gifts already personalized prior to their arrival.
- If your seating will be assigned, the greeter should introduce the guest to the usher, who will lead the guest to her table and help her find her seat.
5. Beautiful Spaces – atmosphere
- The decor should wow them as well. It should be lovely, and relaxing. Follow your theme and be as detailed as the budget will allow, while still wowing them. Aim to make the event exceed their expectations. Make it different from what they might normally experience just on a ladies night out. Normally this is a rare treat of an experience and we want them to fully enjoy every moment.
- Even the restrooms should be tastefully decorated, clean and well stocked.
- If you choose to play background music during the event remember to choose something that is quiet, soothing and refreshing. Keep the volume down so that fellowship and conversation can be enjoyed in a normal voice.
- If you plan to do congregational singing during the event, be sure that they are either well-known songs/hymns or that you can provide the words and music for them to follow (obtaining the proper permissions of course).
Be sure to check back tomorrow because I'll sharing the rest of the tips including how to finish the event well, and how to build momentum for the next event.