Yesterday, I shared the first 5 tips with you about how to plan a successful ladies conference. If you missed it you can read it here. Today, I'll cover a few more, as well as how to finish well.
6. Keep the Schedule Moving
- In the planning and organizing stage, it is good to plan your schedule. How many sessions will there be? How many activities? How much time will each one take? When will you have restroom/stretch breaks? When will you eat? How much time will you need to switch between activities on the program (for instance are you changing from inside to outside to eat?)
- Just for the record, one almost never can follow the schedule to the minute. Plan a little flex time into it to relieve event day stress.
- Try to stick to schedule as much as possible, so that it all gets done in the time allotted. Part of giving them an experience they will not soon forget is being respectful of their time, while also giving them what was promised.
7. Plan a Great Menu
- Food is generally one of the largest items on the budget.
- Most of your ladies are cooks, either by desire or by default. It will not be possible to please everyone with the menu. Do not take this personally. However, if you are aware of special dietary needs ahead of time, you should do your best to have another option for those guests.
- The goal with the menu is give them the absolute best meal we can afford on our budget.
8. Get an Excellent Speaker
- It is not so important to have a well-known speaker as it is to have a well-qualified speaker.
- Often someone (or a couple of ladies) from your own church or a church close by would be willing to give a session. Or, if the budget allows, you may choose to invite a more well-known speaker. (It is customary to pay the speaker's travel expenses at the very least, and if they do not charge for speaking at least give them something for their time.)
- You may choose to provide a general topic to the speaker (for instance if you are creating the even around a certain theme), you may leave it open for the speaker to decide, or you may choose a speaker based on your attendees interest in their area of expertise.
9. Finish Well and Give Them Something to Look Forward To
- Often there is a feeling of let down following a great event. To avoid this try taking a few minutes at the close of the event to give a commercial for the next event.
- This may be in the form of a a verbal announcement, a video reveal, a small save the date type gift or card, etc.
- You may also have a sign up form for attendees to sign up if they would like to receive an invitation for the next event.
10. Get Feedback and Review
- It is a good idea to provide your guests with comment cards and encourage them at some point during the event to share their honest feedback.
- You will have the best results if the cards can be filled out anonymously, if they have only 5-7 questions, and if the answers can be marked (i.e. on a scale of 1-5) instead of written out answers. You may also provide a space for extra comments.
- Once the event is over, before too many days have passed, it is important to have a wrap up meeting with those who helped with the event. This is a great time to go over the comment cards together, discuss what went well, what went wrong, what do we want to do differently next year, what unexpected problems can we prepare for ahead of time for the next event, and do some initial brainstorming/delegating for the next event. Write down this information, if at all possible, so you don't forget it when it comes to crunch time at the next event.
We are looking forward to several more great events in the future. If you have other tips for successful ladies conference and event planning, won't you share them in the comments? We'd love to hear yours!