Planning an event can be stressful. Making sure you’re on task, on time and haven’t forgotten anything can be a worry in itself.
So avoid the stress by creating the ultimate checklist for all of your events and conferences.
Take as much of the stress out of your upcoming event as possible. There are lots of reasons to do so and lots of ways to do it. Personally, I find the best way to be to write everything down with some kind of time line attached.
It’s simple, easy to read and follow, and can be quick to write down, organise and ultimately mark off. Before you get started planning your event or conference, there’s a few things you need to do and know. Firstly, you need to know why you’re holding the event. And secondly, you need to know who you’re targeting to attend. Once you have the answers to these questions, you can now begin to develop your plan of attack.
The reason why I feel that making a checklist is the most effective way to plan an event is because it allows you the ability to see everything you have to do, based on when they need to be done by. Trust me this helps.
That’s why we’ve assembled the ultimate checklist for all your events and conferences that you have on the horizon. This is a simple skeleton style checklist that can be used and reused whenever you need it, regardless of event.
So here it is, the ultimate checklist for your upcoming events. Just keep in mind that the timing can vary based on size of the event. For example, some events and conferences may take a year to prepare for, while others may take a few months. Use your best judgement and adapt when needed!
Early as possible (9-12 months)
– Check the calendar to see if there are any conflicts that may arise. Look for things such as big sporting matches, rival events and conferences, holidays or any breaks. At this point, you should begin to have an understanding of roughly when your event will be, as well as where.
– Determine where the event will be and where the ‘out-of-town’ guests will be staying. Ensure that it’s close to the event site. Make sure you ask the venue about the possibility for digital signage and any other branding opportunities to be taken on-site.
– Create a website for your event, including the hotel reservation, location, travel information, agenda, etc. Build a registration website with a link to book spots.
Marketing and Advertising
– Create advertising material that will be seen by your target audience
– An essential on the checklist for all your events and conferences if any guests are travelling to get to your event. You may want to consult a travel agent for any possible deals that they could receive or possibly to help them organise their travel.
– Begin to finalise the program schedule. Allow time for short breaks between speakers
– Reach out to possible speakers. Do this via any number of vehicles such as email, LinkedIn, Facebook, phone, etc. Discuss with them their travel arrangements, as they may want to make their own way or to use your help.
Pre-conference meeting with services
– Reach out to catering, facilities, media services or conference services to run through the final details such as menu’s, estimates and suggestions. Keep in mind, the location of your event may have prearranged services.
– Determine the need for any staffing that may be needed throughout the event. Reach out to anyone who could help fill this void. Maybe consider hiring volunteers or students, or the location may have staff on hand to help with this matter.
– Ensure that the program schedule is completely finalised. Allow for breaks in the day for set up, pack up and general breaks for the attendees. Ensure the schedule is updated on the website.
– Draft a conference program
– Update the budget
– Make sure that all digital concerns are taken care of. For example projectors, microphones, video players and anything else that you may need.
Send an email to all invitees notifying them about the event. Also, begin to release marketing materials when they’re needed. From event to event, release times may differ. On all materials, there should be a call-to-action link for registration.
Make sure the website is live and ready to take registration and payment.
– Determine the giveaway items. Look for items that can be branded, which are also relevant to your event.
– Order the gifts
– Finalise guest list
– Event poster
– Confirm staffing and any equipment to be at the event (tables, chairs, whiteboard, etc.)
– Floral arrangements
1 month prior
– Confirm catering, media, facilities and staffing.
2 weeks prior
Letters of confirmation
– Send out the relevant information and a reminder of the event for both attendees and speakers
– Continue light promotion on social media through the relevant channels depending on your target audience’s.
1 week prior
– Get anything that needs to be set up, printed off or organised all sorted. For example, name tags, tote bags, event programs, maps of the location, etc.
– Prepare the check-in process
– One last email as a push notification sent to the attendees. Add social media handles and all branding.
– Pack up the space
– Email a big thank you to everyone involved, from the attendees, speakers, helpers, volunteers and the venue.
Creating an event can be hard, stressful, time consuming, costly, or all of the above. Still, it can be very worth it when done right. Because when it’s done right, it doesn’t have to be all of these things. This is all thanks to effective planning. Planning, for me comes down to creating a checklist for all your events and conferences that ensure you stay on track and on time.
Sure, some of these tips above may be a bit over the top when it comes to certain aspects. Largely because many events and conferences are different. Different sizes, different budges, different planning time. So sure, we’ve allocated a year’s planning time (possibly too much), but it can be adapted to suit your event, regardless of size.
Remember, regardless if you use a checklist for all your events and Conferences, whatever your event, don’t forget to have fun while it’s on.