The key to a successful conference is pre-conference planning.

You'll need to plan the budget, set registration fees, negotiate contracts with vendors, and plan registration.

Most importantly, you need to plan the technical program and prepare papers for publication.
Choose a location and dates

The conference location and dates can be critical factors when attracting attendees. You may hold the conference at a conference center, hotel, university, or some other location. When planning the venue and location for your conference, consider:

  • Conference budget
  • Meeting and sleeping room requirements
  • Ease of access by public transportation
  • Time of year
  • Dates of similar or competing conferences

light bulbIEEE conference venues should meet accessibility standards for attendees with visible and invisible disabilities.

Negotiate and review contracts

When running a conference, you will negotiate contracts with various service providers, such as hotels, convention centers, meeting-management services, caterers, and transportation companies. Always consider your conference requirements when negotiating a contract. IEEE provides contract templates and guidance to help you with negotiations.

Required Task for Conference OrganizersYou must send all contracts to IEEE Conference Contracts. IEEE reviews and executes all contracts with a value of US$25,000 or greater and will review contracts with a value of less than US$25,000 upon request.

  • If necessary, IEEE Conference Contracts provides feedback and contacts the service provider to renegotiate the contract.
  • When negotiations are complete, IEEE Conference Contracts sends the contract to IEEE Strategic Sourcing (formerly Procurement).
  • If the contract meets IEEE legal requirements, IEEE Strategic Sourcing signs the contract and sends it to the service provider for their signature.
  • After the service provider signs and returns the contract, IEEE Strategic Sourcing sends it to IEEE Conference Contracts, who sends a copy of the contract to the conference organizer.
Prepare conference finances

Required Task for Conference OrganizersEach conference has a finance chair or treasurer, and large or complex conferences may have a finance committee. They are responsible for all the financial operations of the conference. Before the conference begins, they must:

  • Submit a conference budget using the IEEE Financial Reporting Form (online form)
  • Complete the Principles of Business Conduct/Conflict of Interest form
  • Open a conference bank account, or obtain IEEE Conference Finance approval of the conference cash-management plan
  • Request a conference loan, if necessary
  • Comply with indirect or local tax requirements
  • Submit the conference committee list for insurance coverage

Conferences typically submit their budget to IEEE approximately one year before the start of the event. All IEEE financial sponsors must also submit written approval of the conference budget to IEEE Conference Finance.

The finance committee is also responsible for closing the conference finances, including financial reports, audits, and conference closing.

Plan registration

Conferences have to plan for both advance and on-site registration, including managing conference attendance and handling of credit card payments. Many conferences hire a registration service or select an online event-management tool.

If your conference is new, you may not know what registration fees to charge. Fees have to cover the cost of running the conference, attract attendees, and follow IEEE guidelines. Contact IEEE Customer Relationship Management at for help in setting fees. 

Plan the technical program

The technical program chair defines the scope of the technical program and manages the peer-review process. This includes establishing standards for judging the quality of papers and selecting independent reviewers who are knowledgeable in the subject area of the conference.

A well-balanced, high-quality program will attract more attendees and improve the reputation of the sponsoring organization. While most IEEE conferences submit their conference proceedings to the IEEE Xplore Digital Library, conferences cannot claim or guarantee that any papers will be published in IEEE Xplore. IEEE can decline to publish any conference proceedings that do not meet IEEE scope or quality standards.

The technical program committee helps manage the Call for Papers and all issues related to paper submission, review, and selection and the establishment of the final conference program. The committee also manages the presentations delivered at the conference.

Manage the production of conference papers

Conference publications include the final program and conference proceedings. The publications chair is responsible for the production of all material that is published in relation to the conference. The publishing process includes providing authors with formatting instructions, managing all the details of finalizing papers for publication, and submitting them to the IEEE Xplore® Digital Library.

If you plan to have a conference publication included in the IEEE Xplore library, you must request approval and make arrangements with the IEEE Conference Publication Program.

Publicize the conference

It's important to build awareness and interest for your conference. By promoting your conference, you can attract more presenters and attendees and increase the prestige of your conference.

The Publicity & Public Relations Chair manages publicity and public relations for the conference through placements in journals, magazines, newspapers, radio, television, and social media. He or she may also manage the website and help create a crisis-management and communication plan for the conference.

Contingency planning

Before the conference begins, prepare a plan for unexpected events, also known as a contingency plan. Emergencies that might occur include: natural disaster, unexpected illness, injury or death, or political unrest. This plan should include ways to communicate with key personnel and coordination with on-site support resources and local authorities. The plan should be reviewed with all volunteers staffing the conference prior to its start.

Who do you talk to at IEEE?

IEEE is ready to help. If you have questions about starting a new conference or other questions about organizing a conference, contact the IEEE Meetings, Conference and Events Customer Relationship Management (CRM) team at

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