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Tips for organising a Conference

  • compile a 'How to organise a Conference' checklist indicating deadlines and the name of the person responsible for each task
  • find student helpers from teacher training colleges / universities; reward their work with a free membership, book prizes, free attendance when they are not on duty; this way, the teachers of the future will find out about / get involved in the work of your association
  • advertise your conference well in advance in e.g. IATEFL Issues, IATEFL PAL, and on this website
  • charge higher registration fees for non-members
  • widen the scope/ type of presentations by e.g. including roundtable discussions (these could be organised by SIGs, or could lead to setting up new SIGs)
  • charge a fee for book exhibition space, stands for private insitutions
  • ask participants for feedback
  • hold a Committee Meeting shortly after a Conference to discuss feedback.



Appendix 3: Planning a short conference/event/workshop


a) Consider in advance:


  • links with other SIGs
  • within context of that year

Form of event/workshop

  • plenary
  • group
  • other rooms
  • networking room
  • mobility of furniture

Number of speakers + length of sessions

  • replacement speakers in case of illness/cancellation


  • need to hire?
  • cost involved?

Minimum/Maximum number of participants

  • Minimum needed for the event to break even and a cancellation date by which this number has to be reached
  • Maximum that can comfortably and safely be accommodated


  • size
  • type
  • atmosphere


  • times of breaks
  • availability of tea/coffee
  • costs


  • does host institution have cover?

List of participants with contact details

  • ask for agreement on registration form


b) Liaise regularly with:

Representative of host institution

  • all practical arrangements
  • agreed budget


  • opening and locking up

Catering staff / outside caterers

  • get firm quote based on minimum/maximum numbers
  • contact again with exact numbers nearer the day

SIG administrator

  • update on registrations


  • ask how they want sessions/themselves described in programme
  • ask in advance to write up sessions for future newsletters
  • check equipment needed


c) Send out:

Call for speakers (if applicable)



Information about workshop


  • starting and finishing time
  • times of breaks
  • price: members / non-members -indicate what is included in price
  • maps indicating surroundings, building, rooms
  • train / travel information

Acknowledgements for fees received

  • usually arranged by SIG administrator

Thanks to speakers after the event



d) Have available:

IATEFL + SIG membership information



Badges / name stickers



Latest and past SIG newsletters for sale to non-members



Display material

  • local bookshop may like to have a selling point for materials related to theme of conference


e) Think about:

Announcements/Information about IATEFL and SIG activities to give out at the beginning


Thanks and drawing to a close.


Maintaining list of possible speakers for future events


Keep in contact with new, potentially active SIG members


f) Remember:

To have a clear idea about the break-even point of the workshop



To check your budget with the SIG Administrator and Executive Officer

  • this must be done before the event is advertised

To keep receipts



To keep records



To prepare profit / loss sheet

  • send details to IATEFL office

IATEFL - Darwin College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 70NY, UK

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