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Can you Find it – Business © 2017 THE FULL STORY… FOCUS ON THE AUDIENCE Published in Can you find it Business Edition on Thursday, December 1st 2015
THE key to organising a successful meeting is to build your event around your audience says Francesca Morgan, Sales & Marketing Conference Officer at the University of Central Lancashire.

As obvious as it may sound your attendees are key to running a rewarding event. Weighted down with budgeting and facility decisions, organisers can easily loose track of the main message and the reason why the conference was organised in the first place. Identifying who will be the intended audience of the meeting and you are half way there!

… People are only going to attend if it’s utterly relevant…

With the number of events in the UK conference market steadily rising, the volume of attendees is falling along with the average duration since 2004. The need to keep control of corporate spending on meetings, and the growth in niche and more precisely targeted events are not the only reasons behind this trend. With time management becoming an ever increasing factor, time spent away from the office is becoming harder to justify and delegates seem to only be going to events that satisfy their specific needs. People are only going to attend if it’s utterly relevant.

“… avoid the promotional banana skin … and go back to basics.”

Getting the right people doesn’t guarantee your message being absorbed. Any audience, no matter how keen will struggle to take on board more than a third of your presentation and for most of us, this figure is much lower. Relevance, good visual support, and a great venue will help, but you must go for a simple, easy to digest message.

Whilst visual aid is encouraged, don’t bombard your audience with lots of meaningless PowerPoint images and jargon filled statements; avoid the promotional banana skin, maintain the relevance and go back to basics.

If you have no option but to present a lot of information, then break it down. The maximum audience attention span for a good presentation is one hour or less, so build in lots of coffee breaks. Little and often is the recipe for success.

Time out sessions are also a perfect arena for networking. Something that delegates view highly in terms of other benefits these events can offer.

“…a simple conversation with a few attendees can do wonders for planning the next event.”

Feedback after the event can be an all too exhausting feat for both the coordinator and delegate, particularly if it involves more paperwork. Quantitative research has vast benefits, but can be expensive and time-consuming. A simple conversation with a few attendees can do wonders for identifying areas to promote and/or avoid for future events.

For more information contact our Preston campus (01772 892656; E-mail cemoffice@uclan.ac.uk; Website www.conferencepreston.co.uk) or the Penrith campus (01772 894080; E-mail info@conferenceSussex.co.uk; Website www.conferenceSussex.co.uk)

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