All you need to know to organise a conference

Are you planning to organise a conference or symposium? From setting out your event's programme to booking the venue, we will show you all the steps you need to master the organisation of a conference with ease.

Why organise a conference or symposium?

Before embarking on the organisation of a conference or symposium, there are a number of preliminary steps that need to be taken. These steps will influence all your choices for the organisation of your event.

First of all, it is important to precisely define the goal of your endeavour. Why do you want to organise a conference? There may be various reasons for this: to deal with a topical subject, to present a product or service, to convey information to the press, etc. In any case, this goal must be clear to the various parties involved in the organisation of your conference or symposium.

In addition to the goal, you need to define the various messages you want to convey through this conference or symposium. What should guests remember following your event? The answer to this question will have an impact on your company's image, which is why at this stage of your project it is important to think about the reasons for the organisation of your conference.


How to organise a conference or symposium?

You have set out the purpose of your event, now you need to think about the conference structure.

The conference structure 

First of all, think about the kind of event you want to organise. Is it a conference or a symposium for your customers and prospects? A press conference? A meeting between professionals and experts in your sector?

This choice will depend greatly on the aim of your event. It will help you to organise the conference or symposium structure, i.e. the foundation on which you will make all the choices that follow.

The conference schedule

Next, draw up a schedule for organising your conference. It should list all the stages, from setting out your goals to welcoming guests on the day and even afterwards if you have decided to set up post-event activities.

This conference schedule must be established as soon as possible and shared with all stakeholders in the project in order to be able to meet the imposed deadlines.

The guests

Who are you going to invite to your conference or symposium? How many people would you like to accommodate? Who are they? Clients, prospects, partners, journalists or experts in your sector?

The amount of participants and the type of guests must be quickly established in order to organise a conference. A number of organisational choices will depend on your guests, such as booking the venue, the caterer and also the date and location of your conference.

The budget

Early on, you will need to have a clear idea of the budget you can allocate to this event. To do this, list every requirement you have and start asking for quotes for the services you will need (catering, sound and light, room, speakers...).

The sooner you know your budget, the sooner you can do your research and reservations. Early booking means ensuring the availability of your service providers and thus guaranteeing that the organisation of your conference will be done with peace of mind.

The date of your conference

You may not realise it, but the date of the event is crucial. If you decide to organise a conference or symposium on the same day as a major national event, the number of guests may be impacted.

The choice of date must be realistic to give you time to organise your conference but must also correspond to your everyone: providers and guests.

Choosing and booking the venue

Do you have your budget? Is the conference agenda decided? Now you need to find the perfect venue for your event. In order to do so, you must take a number of criteria into account.

First of all, the location of your event must be easily accessible for guests, whether by public transport or by car.

The chosen location must then be in line with your budget and the number of people expected to be there on the day.

Finally, the "character" of the venue is important, and the image you convey will depend on the atmosphere of the venue where your event will take place.

We can offer you exceptional venues in Lyon for your conferences: the Lyon Convention Centre, La Sucrière, Eurexpo Lyon or the Matmut Stadium in Gerland. These venues will add character to your event, while guaranteeing top-of-the-range professional services.

The programme and conference agenda

The final step towards finalising the organisation of a conference: the programme. It must detail, hour by hour, the content of your event, from the reception of guests to the end.

Setting up a programme means that you can organise a conference or symposium without a hitch. The programme will help you to manage all the service providers on the day in a calm, methodical manner.


How to promote your event?

Have you finished organising your conference? Have you thought about how to promote your event? For it to take place, your conference must be supported by regular, organised communication. This is done in several steps.

Before the day

Well before the planned date of your conference or symposium, it is important to send an invitation to all participants so that they can pencil in the date in their diaries.
Then, you can set up regular posts on social networks or contact by email to create interest and anticipation around your event.

Throughout the day

On the day, you can create live videos on social networks to share the content of your event with Internet users. Also think about making photos or videos that you can later share with participants and reuse on your various media.

After the day

Communication continues after the event as you can for example share photos taken on the day, send thanks or publish testimonials. All this content will help you gain visibility, which will be useful for organising a conference the next time around.