My husband and I get to attend at least four or five large business conventions every year. I so my best to do a kind of 360 review after each event to help out other event organizers and to keep in mind for the future.
- Arrange a paid food service or concession stand if meals are not included in the price of the event ticket. That way the attendees don't have to scramble for coffee and sandwiches between sessions - makes things a lot easier and less stressful, especially for those who are new to the city.
- Put high-energy speakers on the agenda after the meals to wake people up.
- Start and end on time. Respect other speakers and stick to the time limits. Rehearse your talk in advance to make sure you have enough time.
- Slow down when you talk. It is natural for people to start talking faster when they are nervous, and you might be doing Mach 3 buy the end of your speech. Breathe and allow yourself to make pauses.
- Get rid of the gum!
- Push political and religious agenda at a business event. It is one thing to say, "I am a Christian and my faith helps me persevere in my business." It is another thing to say, "I am a Christian conservative, and if you are not exactly like me, you are not a true American, you are not a patriot, you are against freedom, and you will never amount to anything." The former is natural, touching and respectable, the latter is offensive and out of place at a business function.
- Crank up the music too loud between sessions. People may stay around the conference room to mingle and catch up, which is tough to do when you can't hear yourself think.
- Start the event without a light and sound check from all points of the conference room. What looks and sounds good from the technology booth may not apply elsewhere in the room - walk around and make sure.
- Walk into a meeting with your cell phone ringing and your Bluetooth attached. If you are expecting a truly important call (like your wife is in labor, or a friend is going in for a surgery), set your phone on vibrate. Otherwise, leave it behind - you are there to listen and learn, which you cannot do when you are talking on the phone to someone else.
What not to wear:
- Too-short skirts (just-at-the-knee is the perfect length)
- Too-tight or too-revealing clothes
- Garish t-shirts (a fitted t-shirt paired with suit coordinates is fine)
- Strapless tops or dresses
- Clothes that put your midriff, top of your thong or bra straps on display
- Sandals you would normally wear to the beach
- Heavy perfume