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A conference is, by and large, a congregation of people coming together to discuss and share information and ideas around a chosen subject. Usually there are presentations followed by Q&A sessions or discussions. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to categorising an event, which is why the term conference broadly encompasses a whole range of events. In this article, we’ll summarise the different types of conferences and their purpose.
Press conferences are most likely one of the most well known types of ‘conference’ outside of the business. Often spearheaded by a politician, celebrity, sportsperson, the police or renowned figure, they are used as a way to spread important information. The audience at press conferences are mostly made up of journalists and PR professionals whose job it is to broadcast and disseminate the information shared. A press conference usually begins with the key speaker (or speakers) delivering a speech before the floor is opened up to questions.
Annual General Meetings
An Annual General Meeting (or AGM) is a formal gathering of a company’s shareholders. Held every year, at this type of conference the directors of the company will deliver a presentation relating to the company’s performance and plans for the future. Following this, shareholders normally vote on a range of issues laid out in the agenda. They will also elect a new board of directors.
AGM’s are compulsory conferences which must be carried out every year. As a result, these annual gatherings often pull out all the stops to make them as engaging as possible. This includes hiring a dedicated venue and organising food and entertainment for attendees.
Conventions are annual events that usually take place on a large scale. The purpose of a convention is to bring people together with a common passion to enjoy discussions, entertainment and more around a certain topic. Conventions aren’t always business focused. In fact, in recent years a number of fan and enthusiast conventions based around entertainment have become popular. These include comic conventions (such as San Diego Comic Con), technology conventions (such as E3) and science fiction conventions.
Conventions tend to happen over one or more days and are usually open to anyone who would like to attend. To that end, they are more often than not ticket only events.
Product launches are events organised by businesses to build excitement and awareness around a new product. Usually attended by a large audience of influential people within the related industry, the key goal of a product launch is to share information about it and get maximum exposure to the relevant audiences.
At these kinds of events there are usually product demonstrations, speeches, Q&As, and entertainment. Press packs and product samples are also handed out in order to feed the core goal of the event.
There is no black and white definition of what makes a conference and what makes a meeting. Therefore, you may find the following events are also categorised as either/or ‘meetings’ or ‘conferences’:
Each of the above types of events are all individual in their own right. That is, their primary goal differs. And, really, when it comes to planning an event, it is not the category that it falls under that matters. It is, in fact, the core goal.
Having a clear and achievable goal that you would like to achieve through your event is the sole driving force in the planning process. Should you need help and guidance in defining this, or support in planning an event to meet your goal, contact us today. Our team is made up of an ambitious and experienced group of Event Planners with extensive experience in organising some of the biggest and best events to take place here in the UK. We look forward to doing the same for you!