10 Tips for Getting Started

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As an organizer, you are not only responsible for the details of the event, but also the big picture. Keep in mind these ten tips, and request an IEEE Conference Mentor to help you along the way.

Tip # 1: Set your conference objectives
Before getting caught up in your “to-do” list, develop a vision that includes measurable goals and objectives for tracking your conference success. Think about the purpose behind your event to help reveal your vision. One tool for creating a vision is to submit a survey to past participants asking for feedback on their experience. The information you gather can be used for goal setting and filtered into the details of your event.

Tip #2: Review the IEEE Conference Timeline
A Conference Timeline should be your project management guide throughout your conference lifecycle. Familiarize yourself with the milestones early and assign tasks to your organizing committee, and ideally, create a mechanism for project management tracking.

Tip #3: Create a budget
Every conference needs a budget. Creating a budget helps you meet profitability goals and stay on track with expenses that arise during the planning process. Upon application approval, your budget can be submitted through the IEEE Finance Form, which provides a Business Analyst to your conference along with banking and other financial needs. IEEE can help you maintain your budget as a living document and keep your records up to date. Remember: ABC (always be closing)

Tip #4: Finalize sponsors and complete the IEEE Conference Application
Register your conference with IEEE as soon as sponsors are finalized. Approval of the IEEE Conference Application confirms sponsorship with IEEE and entitles you to complimentary IEEE services. It’s okay if you don’t have all of the details on your conference. It’s better to submit your information early – IEEE MCE can always make updates along the way.

Tip #5: Determine the right location & start looking for a venue
Finding a location is a strategic decision. Aside from logistical arrangements, capacities and ease of access, consider the local audience and partnerships that can be attracted from each location. As soon as you determine possible dates and geographic location for your conference, you can start looking at venue options. Items to consider include the size of the group, the time of year, and the proposed activities. Make a list of “must-have” services, amenities and facilities for your event.

Tip #6: Secure a keynote speaker & build your agenda
A great keynote speaker can be a key attraction boost attendance, set the tone and energize the whole event. Big names always attract more participants. Well-known speakers also help you gain more attention in your marketing efforts, and promote the event with their network. In addition to the keynote, you’ll need to plan an interesting agenda. Structure your technical program in a way that allows each day to build on the previous discussions. Create groupings of talks or topics into tracks or themes for each day. Make sure to account for meals and breaks, and include a mix of activities and time for networking.

Tip #7: Apply to the IEEE Conference Publication Program
IEEE Conferences have the opportunity to request inclusion of their papers in the IEEE Xplore® digital library. Upon completion of the IEEE Publication Form, you are sent instructions on how to prepare content for your participants and for IEEE Xplore, as well as cataloguing information, such as an ISBN. You can also contact us for recommendations on peer review and production support.

Tip #8: Develop a promotional strategy
The success of every conference depends on the level of attendance, which is directly related to the marketing activities involved. There are a wide variety of marketing channels to consider for getting the word out about your conference. Always think about your target market and how the communicate as a base for determining the right mix of communication channels. Check out our Audience Development Toolkit to learn more.

Tip #9: Set up registration
You only get one chance to make a first impression, which is why conference registration is so important. For many participants, sponsors and speakers, the registration process sets the tone for the rest of the conference. IEEE MCE can help with your registration needs.

Tip #10: Plan the logistics
Manpower, talent and experience will impact planning and executing events. Think about whether you have the resources to do it yourself, or if you need to hire help with all or part of the process. Learn more about how IEEE MCE can assist you with some or all of this support.