Conferences

Naturally, there are many situations in business life when people interact face to face: meetings, negotiations, team building events, fairs, or conferences. Every year, New Email Ltd. hosts a large conference on web design. This year, the topic is email design. There are always lots of things to think about when you organise such an event. The following texts will give you some vocabulary related to conference organisation.

First, the New Email conference team – Claire Johns, Jennifer English and Simon Wells – composed this attractive invitation. See the commentaries for some essential parts.

They also had to decide on a suitable venue (i.e. where the conference will take place). The following description of The Dot Com Hotel summarises information which was important for the conference organisers.

 Dot Com Hotel Conference Centre

 General

  • located in a quiet countryside
  • excellent access to major roads
  • short drive from all country airports
  • the latest presentation technology
  • wired and wireless high-speed email and Internet access

 

Room features

  • auditorium/main conference room seating up to 250 people
  • 10 seminar rooms seating up to 12 people
  • small rooms to serve as breakout rooms during seminars

Other facilities

  • indoor swimming pool
  • guest lounge, bar and dining room
  • 150 guest rooms, all en-suite
  • on-site car park with 100 spaces

The conference team also had to compose the agenda/programme of each conference day. Here is an example of what the first morning might look like.

8.00–9.00

Breakfast and Conference Registration

on-site registration: arriving delegates complete their registration details and get
a badge which they must wear during
the conference

9.00–9.30 Welcome Speech

an official welcome of the delegates presented by a representative of the hosting institution

9.30–10.30 Plenary Session

a session/meeting/lecture where all participants meet together

10.30–11.00 Coffee break

always popular

11.00–12.00

Workshops/Seminars A, B, C, D

interactive meetings on specialised subjects,
in smaller groups

Small Talk at a Conference Reception

Conference banquets and/or receptions belong to favourite moments at a conference – and not only for a lot of nice food and drinks. People get a chance to meet one another, in other words to network: form new business contacts and create new business opportunities. This is best done during small talk – a light conversation on casual topics. Let us have a look how this can be done in different situations. Notice some useful phrases.

Situation 1: Petr and Pavol know each other and their relationship is quite informal.

Petr: Hi, Pavol! Long time no see! It must be three years or so!

Pavol: That’s right. It’s good to see you again. You haven’t changed a bit.

Petr: Not really, only my back’s got much worse from sitting behind the comp. It’s rather annoying…

Pavol: Poor you! Let’s go and take a drink to take your mind off it!

Petr: Good idea!

Situation 2: Caroline and Tim meet for the first time. Caroline soon wants to exit.

Tim: Hello, I don’t think we’ve met. My name is Tim Hightech.

Caroline: Hello, Caroline Johns. How are you enjoying the conference? Do you like our location?

Tim: It’s splendid. I’ve never seen a better centre for an IT conference.

Caroline: I’m glad you like it. Well, you don’t mind if I join Mr. Schneider for a minute? We have something to discuss.

Situation 3: Günter and Simon have already met, but they need to make sure first.

Günter: Hello, I think we’ve already met! It must be Simon, isn’t it?

Simon: Hello, Günter. Yeah, I think it was last year in Munich, that XML thing. Anyway, I really enjoyed your session this morning.

Günter: Thanks. I hope it’ll be of some help. Shall we get a drink? What are you having?

Simon: Whatever you’re having is fine.

Günter: Two beers it is then.