What is conference?

With the term conference can be understood differently organized meetings of many purposes, but generally it is a meeting of several people (usually experts in specific field or related people) to discuss certain topic. There are also other types of business events such as conventions; symposiums etc., but there are essential differences between all of […]

With the term conference can be understood differently organized meetings of many purposes, but generally it is a meeting of several people (usually experts in specific field or related people) to discuss certain topic. There are also other types of business events such as conventions; symposiums etc., but there are essential differences between all of them. Main differences take the form of size, purpose and other physical parameters. For example, convention is a lot larger and the participants are delegated from larger groups.

As it was mentioned before, there are many types of conferences that differ with the purpose of it. For example there can be academic conferences, business conferences, trade conferences, unconferences etc. In academic conferences scientists and academics meet to present and discuss some research findings. In business conferences representatives and workers of the same company comes together to discuss topics that are related to companies objectives, development and overall work. In trade conferences businessmen, venders and sometimes also members from the public comes together to make connections and present the work. Unconference is a type of conference where similarly thinking people comes together to discuss certain topic for different reasons. If all the other conferences are sponsored by one of the participants’ side and there is one general spokesman, than in unconference there is no hierarchy. Also there can be other purposes for conferences, but these are the most common ones.

Conferences can be divided also by the way of organization. There can be symposiums, seminars, round table discussions, workshops etc. Symposiums are slightly entertaining and include refreshments. They are still businesslike, but held in more informal atmosphere – anyone can speak out their mind any time. Seminars are educational and usually cover one specific topic. There is one main speaker, but others can get involved in discussion, when it is allowed. Round table discussions are for experts in specific field. Also these discussions covers very specific topic, but everyone can freely talk about this topic. There is no main speaker, but there can be a person that controls the discussion, so all participants wouldn’t talk at the same time. Workshops include demonstrations and practical experiences. There is one main speaker and other participants can get involved into discussion and sometimes also in practical demonstrations.

Although most types of the conferences include the discussions and there is no indicative, some planning before it must be done. Organizations at least must highlight the most important themes and questions that must be discussed, otherwise no one will know where to start and what to say. It is important to provide fluent run of the conference. Also lot of technical aspects must be taken into a consideration.

Conferences can be very different in duration. Some lasts only few hours, but some can last for more than one day. In most of the conferences the discussions and results are documented so they could be used later.