It is a discussion between more than two persons on a particular subject or a situation.
Today, the conference industry is big business and the concern of governments and organizations throughout the world. The growth of conference centers and hotels equipped for message is a result of this worldwide interest.
The word ‘Conference’ is used these days to describe an extremely wide variety of meetings which range from United Nations conferences on matters of international importance to staff meetings within a company where half a dozen people may sit round a table to hammer out policies.
Conference is primarily a means of communication, and it follows that the best conference will be one in which communication has been free and from which the desired results have been achieved. The way to measure the success of a conference is by assessing the degree to which the objectives have been achieved.
While conferences are designed to bring people together, the reasons for each event are likely to be very different. In some cases it is to promote good industrial relations, in others to impart information. A very important branch of conference has a scientific basis, while others deal with management problems and various types of intellectual or business discussions. A quite different type of conference is the group generally referred to as sales promotion events.
In recent years there had been an increasing number of conferences and seminars organized on a business footing in which the sponsors choose a subject of current interest and invite all those interested to take part for a fairly large registration fee. The main aim is to attract delegates from home and abroad and to profit financially from the events as distinct from other types of conferences in which the main object is communication and the promotion of mutual understanding.
The basic elements of any conference are similar but the details will vary considerably according to the venue, type of audience, size of event, etc. However, it is possible to discuss most of these events in the same general terms while there will of course be many differences of detail.
The word “conferences” can be regarded ads the generic name for all kinds of meetings which bring more than two persons together to discuss a subject or situation.
Meetings of a business nature are different in as much as they take place in-house, and so most of the tricky elements of conference organizing – choice of venue, securing an audience, detailed planning, budgeting, evaluation and post mortem do not apply.
Conferences which are essentially for learning or training are usually called “seminars”. A “Symposium” is a term often used by organizers of scientific or technical meetings, while “Colloquium” is commonly met in academia. An international event is often termed a “Congress”. In North America they favor the term “Convention” and use it in preference to “Conference”. The title of a conference is not important provided the important details are stated clearly and fully at all times.
Objectives of a Meeting:
It is essential to achieve a consensus on the reasons why the meeting is being held and what the objectives are. There may be a number of different reasons, with a main objective and other subsidiary ones.
The chief reason or deciding to hold a meeting may be any of the following:
1) Part of a regular program of information within a company, organization or community or mutual interest group
2) A special meeting to face an unexpected situation or to discuss new policies or outside intervention.
3) Sales or marketing conference within a company.
External communication by a company or organization
1) Events to interest the outside public, by announcing new discoveries, new developments within the organization, etc
2) Attempts to secure cooperative action on specific projects or policies.
3) For purposes of lobbying national or local government, nationalized industries etc
4) Seeking good publicity by celebrating anniversaries or other landmarks or progress such as opening new premises.
Scientific or medical meetings:
Most scientific and technical bodies hold a regular program of conferences, seminars and meetings to review progress in the particular specialty and to discuss new ideas and to argue about new theories. These meetings are usually held on a national basis but periodically he national bodies together on a regional or world basis.
Numerous meetings take place every year designed for the betterment of mankind. These are usually public meetings organized by special interest groups. These will include conferences organized by national or local government, the churches and voluntary bodies of all kinds.