As far as corporate events go, conferences are way up there on the stress scale. Extensive, multiple guest lists, various speakers and workshops, and a venue with an army of suppliers and staff can see you spinning out of control months before the event commences. Here are six steps you can implement to help you get a handle on stress management the next time you’re faced with organising a conference.
Get to know your guests before you do anything
Catering to the whims of hundreds of people, as well as managing their (often unreasonable) expectations, can send you into instant panic mode. Unfortunately, this is often the case as your first actual contact with guests is at the conference itself. We’re by no means suggesting that you have every single guest over for tea and crumpets; what we’re advising is that you make use of the data you have on hand about them to familiarise yourself with your future guests. One way to do this is by evaluating data about repeat attendees, another is by making use of online invitations which allow you to customise form fields. This enables you to gather pertinent data about them from the get-go – giving you a crystal clear picture of their needs, wants and expectations.
Equip yourself with on-site registration tools
One of the most oft-cited pain points – for conference organisers and attendees alike – is having to deal with long registration queues. Arriving full of anticipation for the day that lies ahead, only to be met with a line moving at a snail’s pace is a sure-fire way to set a dismal tone amongst guests before the conference has even began. The good news? Having the tools to implement a smooth and streamlined registration process is one of the most effective stress management tactics out there. By using on-site registration tools that can instantly display and updates each guest’s credentials and information, you’ll be able to ensure that the day starts off on the right note – and your stress management remains in check.
Get smart about data collection at your conference
As you’ll know by now, we’re big fans of using intelligent data to drive every single aspect of the event management process. A conference provides you with the perfect opportunity to gather in-depth data about your attendees – but be warned; without a strategic, guest-centric plan in place, your attempts to gather this information can quickly hamper any semblance of stress management. If you’re going to collect data from guests on the day, do it in a way that engages attendees and makes them feel comfortable with sharing their details. One way to do this is by running a competition or draw – this rewards those who’ve shared their personal information. (On that note, make sure to read our blog about your legal obligations when it comes to POPI compliant databases.) However you choose to collect additional info, make sure that you’re only asking for information that will help you to elevate the event experience; aim for thought-provoking questions that will give you a sense of your guests’ expectations and ways in which you can meet these
Have an iron-clad social media management strategy in place
Social media – and the ease with which attendees can access it – is a notorious stress management saboteur. That said, taking to platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to post content pertaining to the conference is an extremely effective way to encourage interaction among attendees. Even if your don’t have a dedicated Twitter handle or Instagram account, your attendees will be taking to social media to air their opinions – which means that you need to have a firm handle on any social media murmurs should the sentiment err on the side of negativity. Address any less-than-enthusiastic feedback immediately, remain courteous and above all – avoid going on the defence. Make sure that you’ve got a dedicated social media manager who can monitor posting activity before, during and after the conference in order to keep your conference’s image under control (not to mention your stress levels).
Send out and then analyse post-event surveys
We’ve often touted the benefits of using post-event data, for good reason. By giving your attendees the chance to convey their sentiments about their experience, you glean in-depth insight into their expectations, needs and wants. Over time, post-event feedback gathered from several events allows you to piece the bigger picture together – further arming you with the information needed to take your events from strength to strength.
Make use of intelligent Event Management Software
If there’s one stress management tip we urge you to adopt, this is it. Managing the mountains of data you’ve collected throughout the entire conference process is only possible if it’s stored in one central database. By being able to access everything from one main depository, keeping tabs on a myriad of data is that much easier. Not only does Event Management Software aid in stress management, it enables you to streamline all aspects of your event – therefore providing guests with an elevated overall experience.
Keep calm and carry on planning world class events that delight!