Choosing a location at which to hold the events you're planning for your
business conference can be a challenge in a small town, where the options tend
to be rather limited. Big cities may have multiple venues than can contain 200
booths dedicated to showcasing products, but your local fire hall or high
school gym might not be able to handle it. To help you get around these types
of space constraints and the lack of specialty hosting arenas in small towns,
we present this guide to creating creative conference hosting solutions. It should
help you maximize the success of your conference without having to move it into
Conference Rooms in Disguise
When you're looking for somewhere to hold your gatherings and there are
no hotels with conference rooms to rent out, you're going to have to learn
to pull back the disguises on other buildings. What about that fire hall you
used for your wedding? The local extra storage
warehouse? City Hall? Or the church down the road? The fact is that
all communities have public or private meeting halls, because community is about
people coming together. All you have to do is think of which groups your town
has (the local paper or yellow pages can help) and call them to ask if their
venues are available for rentals.
Divide and Conquer
If there's simply no place big enough to hold all your attendees for your conference, you still don't have to
give up. Lectures or presentations given to the entire group at once is only
one method of getting the information out. Instead of a day-long lecture, break
up the subject into several smaller presentations given at various smaller locations.
The more intimate atmosphere and smaller group sizes will open the possibility
of discussion, and moving around and switching subjects will keep the blood
moving and interest levels high.
Think Outside the Box
It's a common fallacy that business must always be conducted indoors.
When you were a kid, do you remember asking your teacher if you could have class
outside? Well to you and your attendees, it might be a distant memory, but being
outside in nice weather will still awaken the same joyful feelings. Outdoor
conferences in public parks or open-air auditoriums can even tie into your themes,
particularly if you're talking about energy efficiency or green business practices.
Broaden Your Horizons
You can talk about a topic anywhere, so where is it written
that the conference venue has to be located within your town's borders?
If you can find an appropriate space in a neighboring town use it, even if your
accommodations will be in your town. The Olympic Games is hosted by a single city
but events are often parceled out to surrounding towns with rivers or ski hills
or whatever is required for the sport, so there's no reason you can't
do the same as long as the commute times aren't too long.