Getting your event programme right

Last month we shared some top tips about selecting a great venue for your event. But now you’ve chosen and booked your perfect venue, what are the next steps in the process?

Once your venue is in place, you should be ready to start designing the ultimate event programme. Pulling together a programme that meets the diverse needs of all your event delegates is a fine art which often comes with many years of event planning experience. But don’t worry! We’ve got some great advice below about what you can do to make sure your programme gives your delegates the ultimate event experience.

When you’re designing an event programme you need to put yourself into the shoes of your event delegate. Your programme should be perfectly timed with enough pace and variety to keep your delegate engaged at every opportunity, from arrival and registration right through to the moment they exit the venue. As you plan your programme, it’s a great idea to do “walk-throughs” in your mind, or even on-site, to ensure that every element of your event leaves your delegate with a thoroughly positive experience.

Our Top Event Programme Planning Tips

Make sure you offer delegates a really strong opening

You’ll want to capture the attention of your delegates right from the start of the event and then keep it, so your opening address should be really strong! Ensure you spend time selecting the perfect speaker for your welcome/opening address and once you’ve selected the ideal keynote, work closely with them to ensure that they are extremely well briefed and that every aspect of their talk or address is right on brief.

Employ a hostess with the mostess

Ensuring you get a really excellent host or facilitator for your event will help ensure the event flows smoothly. You can lose delegates during transition periods so make sure you keep them focused by selecting an experienced host who has authority, charisma and charm and is able to engage, motivate and energise your audience throughout the day.

Mix it up

Variety is the spice of life and you will need to ensure that your event programme offers plenty of it. This can be quite a challenge if you’ve only got a few hours in a day to pack everything in. Try to give your delegates a wide range of opportunities during your event to both sit and listen and get involved and participate through a variety of sessions. Make sure you vary the pace of the event as much as possible by mixing longer talks with shorter sessions and providing plenty of opportunity for positive two-way discussion and hearing real life examples. Don’t underestimate how short people’s attention spans are becoming. The key here is to find ways to offer your delegates plenty of choice.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Networking

They say one of the key reasons people attend events is to network, so if you want to deliver a truly successful event, make sure you build lots of opportunities for people to meet and get to know each other informally at your event.

And don’t just leave networking to the lunch break. Make sure you build some time into your formal event programme for people to network; and use your professional host to help your delegates build their connections through your event.

Save the best ‘til last!

You want your event delegates to leave your event with a lasting impression that they won’t forget in a hurry, so make sure you have a really excellent speaker lined up for the finale.

Try to select someone who will be able to connect well with the audience, elicit emotion, and maybe even inspire them to take action. And make sure they are really well briefed, that they understand the audience and the key event objectives and are able to summarise the day succinctly, pulling together and clearly articulating any emerging themes and agendas.

If you need help managing your next event at Swansea University, find out more about our Events Experts service here.