To run a conference successfully, there are a number of service skills required. Here, we analyse 9 key service skills for successful conference management.
- People skills
You’ll need to be at ease when connecting with all types of people – event attendees, staff, suppliers, sponsor reps, co-workers, and anyone else that will be involved with the conference. In order to be able to work with such an array of people, you’ll need to be good at resolving conflicts, be a pleasant and confident negotiator, and always – or at least mostly – be able to maintain a sense of humour.
Do remember that you cannot run an entire conference yourself. Building relationships with other people is key.
An event manager must have good janitorial skills while simultaneously being a fearless leader. The ‘janitor’ will clean up while the fearless leader will make tough calls whenever necessary. The key here is to remain calm, get things done, after which, it’s all about making sure the show is running smoothly.
- Good listening skills
It’s critical to understand what the stakeholders want from the event. The stakeholders may have little understanding of the conference industry, so they may not comprehend what is actually realistic.
To successfully undertake conference management you need to understand their needs and aim to make sure that each party has the same expectations. Paying attention to what’s being said – and to what’s not being said – throughout key conversations will ensure that you’re always at least one step ahead.
- Remain organised
For successful conference organisation to occur, you may be called on to juggle countless things at the same time. It’s a multi-tasking prowess that’s called for so that the event is planned smoothly and is executed flawlessly. The best planners rely on foolproof systems, they use checklists in a step-by-step manner, and they know how to use technical tools of the trade.
Conference planning and organisation involves a capacity for focusing on the big picture while being able to keep track of the small detail. As a way of avoiding burnout, delegate some of those tasks that are more time-consuming. And just in case Plan A does not work out, always have a Plan B as a back-up.
Because conference planning can be stressful, it’s very helpful to really enjoy what you do. Having a genuine passion for the work will help you to overcome hurdles and to remain cool when there’s plenty to be stressed about.
Maintaining a passion will also mean you have bursts of creativity in addition to the inspiration needed to do something great as opposed to merely making it through the day.
Time management can be an acquired skill, but there’s no way to teach passion. And passion is what you need in this line of business to succeed.
Being involved in conference management services can, at least at times, be a pretty thankless job. If this is your full-time work, it’s a line of business that you’ll want to be more than just a monthly salary.
Kind, but clear and firm communication establishes you as a team leader, it keeps everyone in your team firmly on track, and it ensures that everyone involved is clear about the goals of the event.
Kind, clear, firm communication means you can share your vision more effectively while enticing others to share your excitement.
Nevertheless, you do want to communicate – at all times – respectfully and never put anyone down.
Be accepting of criticism and inviting of new ideas. All of your team will play a part in the success (or otherwise) of your conference, so be sure that your communication with them is confident, clear, and in an empowering way.
It may be about tracking down an overhead projector or doing a last-minute rework of a keynote presentation, either way, you need to be as resourceful as you can be with what you have.
Regardless of how well you plan, chances are something is going to go wrong – and often at the last minute. If you tend to enjoy finding creative solutions, problem-solving will be much easier.
Conference service managers need to be fully capable of making a number of decisions simultaneously. Further, and possibly even more important, when those decisions cannot be altered because it’s too late in the day, conference service managers must be cognisant of that.
If you have lots of experience in conference management services, people will likely trust you more. That will make your job much easier. Moreover, an experienced conference manager has an established network of trusted professionals they can call upon whenever things get tough.
For more information and assistance with running your next conference, please do visit https://brightvisionevents.co.uk/conferences/management/