The identification of topics is an ongoing process and you should be constantly on the lookout for ‘hot topics’ by reading as much of the online and offline general and industry-specific business media as possible.

It is also important to sign up to daily and weekly news bulletins, blogs and industry forums on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

You will be on the lookout for news and information relating to:

·        Key developments in technology

·        Changes in legislation and taxation

·        Government policy

·        Financial issues

Once you have an idea for a potential conference subject, you should then spend a few days finding out as much as you can about the subject and saving relevant articles and links into a file.

From this information, you should be able to pinpoint the key issues and the names of around 40 people or companies mentioned in the articles, whom you will be able to call in order to research into the feasibility of holding such an event. In addition, you should also speak to past speakers and delegates from other relevant events.

Following a polite introduction to explain the purpose of your call, you will then ask a series of ‘open questions’ relating to the potential conference subject such as:

“ I am carrying out some research into the feasibility of holding a conference on the subject of Cyber Security, and I understand that your consultancy gives advice to users of encryption devices that can be used by internet users. What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages of this method of security?”

From this research, you should have enough information to base your decision on whether or not there is a need for such an event. You will also be able to write your draft programme.

It is also important to find out if there are already any other events taking place on this subject in your geographical region.

In addition to identifying and researching potential topics in this way. It’s also possible to test potential subjects by including them as sessions in your existing events.

An example of this would be our recent Cyber Security conference, in which we included a session on Automotive Cyber Security. It was clear from the feedback from the delegate questionnaires and from the number of senior executives in attendance from the automotive industry that there was an urgent need for a conference dedicated to Automotive Security.