33 Common Mistakes When Organising Franchisee Conferences

by Greg Nathan, founder,
Franchise Relationships Institute

Conferences are costly exercises in terms of time and money. We have seen a lot conferences fail to add the value they could have because of one or more of the following mistakes. We hope these 33 tips help to make your next event the success that you and your franchisees deserve.

  1. Having no clear objectives or outcomes – leads to a disjointed program, a lack of focus on why people are there, and ultimately, a poor return on investment.
  2. Not having an effective planning team – behind every successful conference is a motivated, well organised team clear on their respective responsibilities.
  3. Last minute planning of speakers – makes it hard to get the people you want and places you in a weak negotiating position.
  4. Franchisor team not clear on their role – can result in them just hanging around and not adding value in the sessions or at the event.
  5. Too much talking about operational issues by franchisor executives – can cause franchisees to feel bored, nagged or patronised.
  6. Not asking suppliers for assistance, financial or otherwise – they are often more than happy to sponsor speakers or meals.
  7. Not involving franchisees in the planning – franchisors often assume they know what franchisees want and get it wrong.
  8. Not putting enough thought into making people feel welcome when they arrive or at the start of an event – an audience that is uncomfortable or distracted is unlikely to effectively listen and learn.
  9. Poorly chaired by an internal manager – can create a clumsy or amateurish atmosphere.
  10. Death by Power Point — speakers boring the audience with slide shows that are full of text.
  11. Not getting the right balance — too much serious business or too much clowning around.
  12. Poor management of time – sessions that start late or run over time muck up the agenda and create a culture of indiscipline for the rest of the conference.
  13. Allowing logistics to overshadow people’s needs – self-centred or over bearing conference organisers can inadvertently detract from a conference’s effectiveness and purpose.
  14. Allowing speakers to go over time – causes problems for other speakers and creates a late program.
  15. A high stage too far from the audience – makes it hard for speakers to make an emotional connection with the audience.
  16. Having a stage with less than 40 people – is not needed and creates unnecessary formality.
  17. Having the lectern too far from the screen – people don’t know whether to look at the presenter or the screen.
  18. Sessions going for more than 90 minutes without a break – people get restless and agitated (the mind can only absorb what the bum can endure).
  19. Allowing disgruntled franchisees to interject or dominate sessions – this is a pet hate by other franchisees and can turn a room negative.
  20. Not allowing franchisees enough time to network and interact with each other – this is what they value the most.
  21. Allowing self-serving suppliers or speakers to dominate sessions – they are there to add value to your franchisees, not to sell.
  22. Using a theatre – the high roofs and rigid seating make it hard for speakers and audience to connect, especially if there are empty seats.
  23. Providing too much rich food at lunch-time – can make some people sleepy in sessions.
  24. Long food queues or running out of coffee – this is very annoying especially if the time is tight.
  25. Too many empty chairs – saps the energy from a room and makes the event seem unsuccessful.
  26. Poor acoustics or amplification – people will get agitated or mentally disengage if they can’t hear the presenter clearly.
  27. Not checking to ensure there will be no competing noise from adjoining rooms – there is nothing more distracting than music or noise wafting in from another room.
  28. Room being darkened – there is usually no logical reason for having a dark room, which just makes the room feel heavy and makes it difficult for people to see each other.
  29. Chairs too close together – makes people feel uncomfortable and makes it difficult to concentrate.
  30. Presenter area not adequately lit – makes it harder for the presenter to maintain people’s attention.
  31. Not encouraging moderation regarding alcohol intake on the first evening – people stay up all night drinking and fail to attend subsequent sessions.
  32. Franchisor executives getting drunk – this can lead to a loss of credibility (and the need for apologies later on).
  33. Speakers being too theoretical or abstract – franchisees like a practical, down to earth approach.

We have a range of exciting presentations and interactive sessions that will help make your next franchisee conference a great success. For details contact Jewli Simpson at the Franchise Relationships Institute on 0457 846 675 (outside of Australia +61 7 3510 9000) or email us at info@franchiserelationships.com

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