Planning a successful conference

Responsibility for a successful conference has a real impact on your credibility. Conference planning can be daunting whether you are embarking on this for the first time or have undertaken it numerous times, but it needn’t be with careful planning, organisation, and creativity. If you stick to the plan and ensure you have the right mix of attraction mechanisms for your audience you should be onto a winning event that is relevant and engaging and offers ROI that goes beyond the feel-good factor.

conference delegatesKey event planning stages include setting objectives, determining your audience, picking a winning and memorable theme and speakers, and ensuring the learning will transfer to the workplace.

James Chatterley of Event Dynamics is an expert at conference planning and advises, “Many things can make a conference; only a few can break one…and one that can is a bad choice of keynote speaker or facilitator. If you don’t have delegate engagement you run the very real risk of people walking away wondering, “Why did I attend?”

We find TetraMap®’s planning tool Why are we doing this? is a powerful tool for enabling our clients to not only consider all aspects of planning but also how they will achieve an engaging conference that will appeal to all communication preferences. Using the four elements of nature ensures that you consider a broad range of perspective so there is something for everyone.

conference planningTetraMapping the conference planning stages

  • Earth – consider the outputs you want
  • Air – consider the processes to get there
  • Water– consider how to engage your audience
  • Fire – consider the image you want to portray

Many of you will be familiar with the TetraMap of Planning that takes key stakeholders through the interactive, practical, and engaging process Why are we doing this? to create a one-page plan backed up by layers that cover all components of planning.

earthEarth is Firm – here you get clarity and shared understanding on exactly what you want to achieve and avoid wondering “what shall we do for this year’s conference?” You’ll define exactly what you want to be different afterwards, how it will impact your business, and how you will know you’ve been successful

airAir is Clear – systems and processes will create a roadmap with clear steps, milestones, responsibilities and timeframes. Setting a context and knowing how you will get where you need to go is what you develop from an Air perspective including all the details of speakers, venue, drawcards, events, activities, and takeaways. This is where attention to detail will make the difference

waterWater is Calm – here you will identify how to engage all your people and consider the different ways to deliver your message to diverse communication preferences, from your internal team to your conference delegates. You can plan to build momentum before the conference, create involvement during the event and continue the impact afterwards

fireFire is Bright – the Fire perspective adds the excitement, engagement, interaction, stimulation and ultimate success of a memorable conference. Plan how to celebrate and share the wins all the way so your delegates leave with an experience that has a lasting impact on them.


Whatever theme you choose, ensure that it engages and is memorable! Working interdependently with you or your conference organisers, TetraMap® can be a unique planning tool.

In our next article, we’ll show you how TetraMap® can also be your keynote, workshop, or central theme to ensure delegates work collaboratively and productively to do more with less. Linking and threading concepts throughout the conference, TetraMap® will bring depth to any theme or topic. Our facilitators will contribute to your stunning success.

If you’d like to experience the power of efficient, provoking, and effective planning using TetraMap®’s framework Why are we doing this? for your conference or any event. call us today on 09-579-8566 or email me.


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