I have been to several large conferences where the host has clearly spent vast amount of money. The venue is great, the food looks fantastic but when you arrive, there is a massive queue to sign in and when you finally reach the front, you end up with a scribbled name on a stick on label because it was quicker than finding your ready prepared, printed name badge.

After meeting with several people, you are ushered through to the main hall, locate a seat and wait for the conference to begin. After the introductions, the seminar begins but the AV equipment is not working properly. No one can hear what the presenter is saying and the presentation is not displaying properly on the screen. After the standard jokes, it still isn’t working. Eventually after 5 gruelling minutes, the AV equipment is fixed and the seminar continues where it left off.

While this specific seminar was mostly very good, it is not the good parts that you remember. Looking back at the conference, the pats I remember is the almighty blunders. The words: “the seminar was really good except for…” Does this ring any bells?

In essence this problem all came down to prior planning. A quick check and a practise run would have avoided embarrassment. So why was this not done? In answer to this, it probably was done but not by the correct people. Most venues have their preferred suppliers who provide and setup the audio/visual equipment. These companies come in and set up the equipment in good time for the conference and check that it is all working. Once setup, they leave and continue to their next job. The firm hosting the seminar arrive, ready for the seminar. Everything is setup and ready to go but the easy task of a run through slips the presenters mind. While the audio/visual equipment is running perfectly, the presenter does not know how to use it and there lies the difficulty.

Likewise with the name badges, someone has spent the time making fantastic name badges and writing a guest list but no one has thought about how they are going to be handed out. Often there are two people at the desk panicking because all the delegates have turned up at once and the queue is getting longer. The solution is quite easy; break the list down into sections. Have 5 different lists sorted alphabetically e.g. surnames beginning with A-F etc. The 2 or more helpers can then quickly process the badges quickly because the lists are short.

So now comes the question of how do you avoid this happening to at your conference? If you are planning on hosting a conference you should do two things:
1. Use a venue that makes sure the seminar is properly planned and that check you know how to use the audio/visual equipment. This probably sounds obvious but you are probably asking “how do I do that?” When choosing an events venue, you will get a good feeling of the level of customer service the venue offers. Do you have your own events planner? Are you dealing with your own event planner or are you getting passed from one person to the next? Do they call you back when they say they are going to etc.?
2. Take the time check yourself

Don’t forget, small details like this really do make the difference between almost a fantastic conference and actually a really good seminar. Book a great conference venue in the city of London or your required location to avoid disappointment.

Merchant Taylors’, the conference venue in the city of London that I represent make sure mistakes like this do not happen which defines itself from other conference venue in the city of London.

I am currently working for Merchant Taylors, an events venue in London based in the heart of the City of London. It is a traditional events venue with absolutely plenty of character that dates back several centuries. There are many excellent function rooms, making it the dream venue in London for events between 10-700 people.