How long should a conference be?

Posted by Jo Kelly

When planning your corporate conferences you should decide on a number of key areas. A theme, objectives, speakers, location and entertainment are all crucial. However, one overlooked area can be conference length.

So why is getting the length of a conference so crucial? And how do you make sure your conference is long enough? This blog explains.

Why is conference length so important?

The length of time your conference runs for depends on the theme and different topics and speakers you have.

Conferences can last for a single day or be a longer multi-day event. This can be influenced by how broad the topics are that you’ve selected, how many speakers you have, and the budget you’ve allocated to hiring a venue. It’s worth keeping in mind that the longer a conference tends to last, the more it’s likely to cost.

You should also look at what your conference is going to entail. It’s wise to allow enough time for information to be delivered to, and processed by, your delegates. However, it’s important to be careful that your conference doesn’t go on for too long to ensure energy, enthusiasm, and attention levels don’t begin to flag.

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Your conference should be long enough to achieve three key values:

Time to inspire

A conference is usually made up of different presentations, seminars and events. These events should all be carefully managed and at a length that holds attention, so attendees don’t switch off or get bored.

However, you should also ensure speakers, and their events, are given enough time to properly inspire and motivate your delegates.

They should have allocated time to get their point across, but also, importantly, for conference attendees to ask any questions.

See our other conference tips

Time to understand

The message of your conference should also have time to sink in. This means providing time for delegates to discuss what they have heard, and also to give them time to attend multiple talks and events.

Each person can take away something slightly different from a conference, like a skill or new piece of information. You should also ensure that enough time is spent surrounding attendees with the conference’s overall theme and message, like by showing videos and holding seminars and demonstrations. This helps ensure that the key takeaways from your conference are crystal clear.

Time to discuss

Ideas and results can be most effective when they’re discussed. Providing time at your conference for networking allows delegates to share their opinions, like about the ideas and results you’ve given. Your attendees sharing their ideas can also allow them to share their enthusiasm and engagement with one another.

Allowing time for this means key points and pieces of information can be reiterated. It also allows delegates more time to ask questions to speakers and share their ideas, adding a more memorable and personal touch to your event.

A conference can be a balancing act, as you should ensure people remain engaged, informed and enthusiastic. However, this should be considered while giving enough time for discussions and for speakers to get their point across.

By getting this fine balance right, you can provide a conference that hits all the right marks and an event that your delegates will enjoy.

We’d love to help you engage, motivate and inspire your team with our innovative conference and meeting services. To speak to a member of our award-winning team:

Jo has worked at CR Worldwide as Events Operations Director since 2004. She is responsible for scoping and delivering all types of events, for clients of all sizes, globally. She manages the division’s team who organise and execute award-winning events – ranging from one-off sales floor days, corporate hospitality events and incentive travel trips, to annual conferences and partner summits.