The Otherways International Research and Consultants Association is a French-based organisation focused on supporting and recognising small and medium sized businesses in Europe and the Middle East (the also have offices in Bahrain). They have annual awards that recognise achievements and excellence in a range of fields and industries. At their 2010 year end award ceremony, they gave their “Platinum Technology Award for Quality & Best Trade Name” award for the Best Conference Organiser in the Middle East to Iran’s Hamayesh Farazan Company.

The reason this interests me is that Hamayesh Farazan was founded and is run by my good friend, Sepehr Tarverdian, based in Tehran. I have been to Iran four times now over the past 18 months, and loved each visit. It is a remarkable country, with wonderful people, and frankly nothing like the international media portrays it.

So, this blog entry is just to say well done to one of the people who helped make 2010 a truly memorable one for me. And anyone wanting to do conferencing or speaking work in Iran, should make contact with Sepehr. He is the best! I did a brief interview with him, as his insights on conferencing in Iran – and elsewhere around the world – are worth listening to. Sepehr will be speaking at the Global Speakers Federation Conference in Cape Town in April, and I’d highly recommend listening to him speak on what conference organisers look for in top class international speakers.

For now, here’s my interview of him:

Firstly, I asked Sepehr about his credentials.

Q: How long have you been running conferences in Iran?
A: 7 year

Q: How many conferences have you run?
A: 32 international one and around 15 national ones.

Q: How many people do you estimate have come to all of your conferences combined, over the years?
A: More than 15000 (Note, I have spoken at a few of Sepehr’s conferences, where he regularly fills some world class conference venues with several hundred high quality delegates at a time).

Q: How many speakers have you worked with?
A: 62 – these are some of the world’s best.

I then wanted to get some insights into what makes a successful conference.

Q: What are the most important success factors for running a good conference? (Give me 3 to 5 of the most important factors that conference organisers need to take into account)
A: 1-Content & Speakers
3- Information Dissimination methods, and tools,
4-a great and talented and passionate team of organizing
5- the timing and season of the conference

Q: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to run a conference in Iran specifically? (what is unique about Iran)
A: The value system, and belief system and culture and market conditions of Iran are very sensitive, and different than many of the world, and an organizer must seriously observe these conditions. (Note: Sepehr has a wonderful email that he sends out to speakers listing 19 important things they should know before traveling to Iran and working as a speaker there. It’s well worth taking all 19 seriously).

Q: What are goals and dreams for 2011?
A: Bringing more and more people to our conferences, by doubling the number of the days of the conferences, and even tripling. Also covering more and more cities in the well as increasing the number of the sponsors.

Thanks for your time, Sepehr, and all the best for 2011.

TomorrowToday Global