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Events can be wrecked by uncontrolled speakers who shamelessly overrun their time slots. Tell speakers their time constraints and use whatever mechanisms are appropriate to the event to enforce this rigorously. At an informal event you can use a kitchen timer set to ring when a section of the programme is complete. At more formal events you will need to have a draconian chair with charm and tact who can bring a session to its planned conclusion without cutting a speaker off half-way through a key point.

Again refused, he asked a steward who, trying to be helpful, apologized for the omission and gave him a complete list of all the delegates with their contact details. What did we learn? Make sure the exhibition space is adequate, not just in size, but in shape, ambiance, access, everything. If you provide power or light, do not leave the electricals switched on and ‘live’. Hot spotlights are a hazard, so leave exhibitors to switch them on when they are ready. Ensure adequate porterage so that exhibitors can be assisted with their equipment if necessary.

A networking opportunity at such a time may be the last thing they are looking for. 36 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR ORGANIZING CONFERENCES AND EVENTS • Advertise the sessions in advance publicity. Awareness of this opportunity may well have a beneficial effect on registration. Where possible, include some prompts or questions to start delegates thinking ahead to the sorts of issues where networking may be most valuable or timely. • Consider having a ‘Networking’ notice board. For example, encourage delegates to post messages on this board about matters they believe likeminded delegates may like to debate and address at a networking session.

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