Tips for conference organisers from the IPG [SPONSORED]

Charly Ford

This is a guest post from Charly Salvesen-Ford. Charly is Membership and Events Officer for the IPG (the Independent Publishers Guild). With a publishing background including editorial and digital experience, she also organised and hosted BookMachine events in Oxford until the end of 2014. She continues to write the BookMachine Oxford newsletters and is on the committee of the Oxford Publishing Society.

“It’s difficult to think of a reason not to come to the IPG Annual Spring Conference… it actually does live up to the pre-Conference claim that each year will be bigger and better than the one before.” Andrew Johnston

The IPG is very pleased to have this reputation, and it drives us to organise brilliant Annual Spring Conferences. But what makes our flagship event run as smoothly as it does, and what tips can we give to fellow event organisers? Let’s take a peek.

1. Content is king

“My main problem is that I often want to be in more than one session!” Kathryn Earle

We are a busy industry and we are all constantly juggling projects and watching deadlines. When people take the time to attend our events it is important that they gain useful information to take back to their offices.

It is vital to remember your audience, and the breadth of the industry that they may be involved in. Curate and tailor your content so that it is relevant and inspiring to everyone

2. Experience pays off

“I love the fact that Bridget and her team run everything so efficiently yet are extremely friendly and approachable.” Di Page


This is the IPG’s Chief Executive, Bridget Shine. With ten years of experience at the IPG she knows our members, and the events that they benefit from, better than anybody else. She has encountered all sorts – from the wonderful to the unexpected. Fire alarm at the venue in the middle of the night? That’s water off a duck’s back to Bridget.

Our recommendation is to gain experience and, if you’re just starting out, seek advice from those who have organised events in the past – it’ll certainly help you.

3. Organisation, organisation, organisation

“[2014 was] the best IPG Annual Spring Conference I have attended and very well organised.” Caroline de la Bedoyere

There is a lot to juggle when arranging a conference and it is vital to be organised! A bit of admin along the way saves heaps of time in the long run and will make your life easier.

If you’re organising an event of a reasonable size be sure to delegate, have regular team meetings and write things (i.e. everything) down.

 4. Smile

“The IPG staff are great… I think that is reflected in the general good vibes of the day. Well done all: a victory for indie publishing!” Kristen Harrison

It is not straightforward to arrange a three-day conference with an awards gala dinner halfway through. We expect to sweat a bit, and are always prepared for last-minute dashing around (we also wear comfy shoes).

So do be prepared to work hard right up to – and through – your event. And if any unexpected hurdles arise remember to smile and put on your ‘can-do’ hat, and you’ll find that everything is soon resolved.

At the IPG we love what we do, and we are passionate about providing a great service to our members. There are so many amazing independent publishing companies out there, and they deserve a conference that works as hard as they do.

The 2015 Annual Spring Conference takes place from 4-6 March at the Crowne Plaza, Heythrop Park, Oxfordshire. Tickets are available now. Non-members can contact the IPG for more information:




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