Hosting Your Company’s First Invitational Conference
Hosting an industry speaker event is an incredible privilege. For one thing, not everybody gets to do this. It’s not that they can’t, but you have to have a certain reputation to have prominent people from within the industry and in the media, show up. It would be pretty sad if you hosted such an event as a small business, and five people showed up instead of 500. If you’re planning on doing this, chances are you are expecting at least a couple hundred to show up. You could be a small business rising like a rocket. You could be a medium-sized business that has shown it’s worth and is searching for clients. On the other hand, you’re a large business and it’s about time you spoke to your own industry, on what you think should be the direction of travel. Either way, hosting is a very important challenge to accept. It shows confidence, bolsters client and investor confidence and gives you a powerful seat at the table in your industry.
Invite big names first
No doubt, you respect some pretty powerful people within your industry. Perhaps they’re a CEO that you hope to become like one day. Perhaps, they’re a company that you hope to partner sometime in the future. These kinds of big names must be invited first before anyone. When you have a ‘yes’ from them you can use their name in your advertisements for the event. Granted, they might want a fee, but don’t worry because this is normal. When important names take time out of their schedules to fly or long-distance travel to your event and give you the right to utilize their name to bring more people in, paying them upfront is not a big issue.
Make a list of the prominent people and companies you want at your event. When you have done all the logistical planning and have the date set for when you’re going to bring everything together, contact each one down the list. Then, start to invite other or lesser people to your event to give the audience a bit of body. Invitations can be coupled with the of selling tickets for the event.
Staging the area
The fantastic aspect of hosting a speaker event is, you get to make it your own show. Therefore, giving you the chance to make yourself a household name within the industry. However, you’ll need expert graphic printing for your backgrounds, banners, and brochures. You can also have your graphics printed onto fabric, which you can utilize as the backrest for the chairs. Having your graphics on gifts such as clothing and or bags can be a little something guests can take away with them. It’s important you stage the area of the speeches in your brand colors but not be too generous with the logo placement. Far too many events end up looking tacky and or desperate by companies spamming their logo all over the background. Space out each placement of the logo just enough for the bold brand colors to project themselves but not too far that you don’t get the logo in a camera shot.
What’s your goal?
Have you thought long and hard about what your goal is for this speaking event? Do you wish for prominent names to advocate your ideas or business? Do you want speakers with similar views to share their opinions with the audience? Will you be doing an interview with an interviewer asking you direct questions about your business and future plans? Most often than not, the reason why companies host events are because they would like to explain who they are, what they believe in, what they do and how they will be impacting the industry trends. Yes, it’s a kind of backslapping event one might say, but it’s important to make your own way in the industry. That’s why Apple, Microsoft, and Ferrari all host their own speaking events because they want to project influence within their own industries.
Setting the mood
In all of your invitations, whether verbal or written, set the tone of the event. Will it be a black-tie event? Will you want guests to turn up in jeans and t-shirts? Will there be an open bar or will you be serving fine wines and champagnes? Will you have a buffet or local restaurant partnerships for the event or will you be providing catering for the event? Set the mood early on and leave no one guessing.
Take this opportunity to project influence in your industry with both hands. It’s your event, so looking like a powerful, influential business all comes down to the execution. It begins with inviting prominent guests.