10 Tips to Plan a Women-Only Conference

Events where women are the only guests are hot, hot, hot. In Good Company recently had 400 women at their sold-out event. I attended an Empowered Women Succeed event last week where roughly 150 ladies were there. So, what’s the attraction to these conferences? How can event organizers and suppliers need to serve this niche differently?

Empowering Women Conference

Here is what BizBash contributor Robyn Hagan Cain shared about the In Good Company event and I observed at the Empowered Women conference. The overarching idea is that women want and need different meeting environments than their working male counterparts.

Keep These 10 Ideas in Mind

  1. Provide a justification letter on your website.
    No matter who each potential attendee need to convince, whether it’s their boss and/or significant other, you need to provide a template they can use. Here’s a great book recommendation called Face to Face: How to Reclaim the Personal Touch in a Digital World by Susan RoAne filled with great insight about the importance of F2F meetings.
  2. Keep the event to one day with late start and early end.
    Some of your attendees may need to get children on or off the bus. Put the “meat” of your conference in the middle of the day to ensure most women can hear important messaging.
  3. Build out topics based on interests, not sponsorships.
    In Good Company fixated on successful women entrepreneurs, provided a brief bio and a link to each speaker’s Instagram account. With Empowered Women Succeed, 100% of the presenters were sponsors, which puts the event organizer in an awkward position and didn’t necessarily address the most pressing needs of the audience. Comfort can be key to the success of your event
  4. Give attendees comfortable spaces with lots of light and outlets.
    Women want light filled-rooms with comfortable seating where they can recharge themselves and their phones and tablets. If appropriate, place seating outside and encourage networking or other activities (i.e. yoga, meditation) there.
  5. Put plants on tables and raffle them off at the end of the conference.
    According to Janet Sperstad, CMP of Madison Area Technical College, 19% of brainstorming sessions yielded more ideas when a plant was present compared to those with no plants.
  6. Have plenty of water stations.
    At the Empowered Women Success event, every person was given two water bottles, one they could put on their desk and one they could use right there. It has an infused container where plenty of fresh lemons, limes, oranges and cucumbers were available to put in it. I filled mine up several times during the day.
  7. Offer licensed childcare or work with a facility within a mile of the conference.
    Ask the conference center to provide a space for children, much like you see in a grocery store or fitness center. Or give attendees one to four locations close to the center where children are welcome to drop in.
  8. Attract different sponsors and provide unique categories.
    Create a beauty touch-up area, a booth that sells comfortable shoes attendees can try on and order and one that carries healthy, convenient snacks. In addition, instead of ushering in standard sponsorship, do what Ellevate offers: live-streaming, supporters, media and blogger offerings.Instagram photo station
  9. Provide an Instagram photo station.
    Set up one or more iPad rentals where attendees can gather to take photos of themselves, with other attendees and even with their children. Encourage them to search for the event hashtag and share the post on their own social feed.
  10. Provide digital passes.
    Have attendees who can’t make it due to work or family obligations? Record all sessions and for a low-cost, one-time fee allow those who weren’t there and those that want to see the sessions again, to access the material for one year.

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