According to Forbes, event planning was the fifth most stressful profession of 2017. Those who take event management lightly usually realize the scope of their troubles a bit too late.
If you want to stay on budget and on time while meeting the expectations of your corporate team, you have to dot the “i”s and cross the “t”s meticulously. For that, you’ll need all the tools at your disposal. A proper business event checklist is the best one to start with.
Why Do You Need a Business Event Checklist?
The right business event checklist will help you envision your plan from the beginning to the end. It allows you to see the larger picture and operate with a constructive vision. The tool can also help you see gaps in your plan. More importantly, it helps you to budget, schedule, and assign responsibilities.
Setting the Wheels in Motion
You may need more than half a year of sophisticated event planning and management if you want to organize a sizeable event. Before you start, you need a pre-event checklist:
- Set up a corporate meeting
- Pick a planning committee
- Determine the date and location
- Determine the theme and type of event.
- Determine the target audience.
- According to your company’s expectations, establish the goals of the meeting. You can pitch several ideas and review them with your team.
- Gather an event team. You’d want to make sure you have a pair of extra hands when the big day comes. Even if you plan on staying in charge, it might be a good idea to hire some talent from an event management company or find volunteers within your organization.
- Assign each individual their core responsibilities. Write their names next to relevant checklist points.
- Create a financial plan and set a budget.
- Organize a brainstorming session on branding activities.
- Write a guest list. Use event highlights to create invitations.
- Establish an initial blueprint for operational tasks (decorations, equipment, catering, etc.).
Once you have a clearer picture, it’s time to start negotiating with the vendor. Here are a couple of questions you need to answer before.
- How many people do you expect?
- What infrastructure do you need?
- Are there any special permits you need?
- Do you need Wi-Fi?
- Who will be in charge of the A/V equipment?
Once the negotiations start:
- Make sure accessibility is up to par (parking, ramps, bathrooms, etc.).
- Communicate accessibility requirements to your team.
- Review security measures with the vendor.
- Discuss licenses and insurance.
- If overnight stays are an option, negotiate hotel rates.
- Finalize details.
- Book catering, equipment, and entertainment once you’re done negotiating with the vendor.
- Research speakers who have spoken at similar business events.
- Decide on a list of possible speakers.
- Start reaching out.
- Set up a special website or create a landing page on your current website.
- Make sure it’s mobile-optimized.
- Make sure your site infrastructure can handle the traffic.
- Design the website with the registration process in mind.
4 to 6 Months Before
- Determine registration fees (if applicable).
- Set up a registration process.
- Create an invitation tracking document.
- Get sponsor logos (for print).
- Produce tickets, posters, programs.
- Determine VIPs.
- Send invitations.
- Work out the details with the guest speaker (travel and accommodation, bio info, contract, promotion, presentation).
- Develop a draft of the event script.
- Make a final team responsibilities’ review and assign onsite staff tasks.
Ramp up Publicity
- Schedule further email campaigns.
- Consider offering early bird tickets (if applicable).
- Create publicity pieces (blog posts, radio spots, newsletter articles)
- Start printing materials.
- Set up social media pages.
- Promote everything on social media platforms.
- Create teaser videos.
- Order swag.
2 Months Before
- Approve the menu.
- Finalize the event script and schedule.
- Determine communication and signage plan.
- Send reminders.
- Engage attendees through email.
- Confirm the vendor’s commitment.
- Encourage last-minute registration.
One Week Before
- Sign off speech scripts.
- Update the vendor and caterer with the final number of attendees.
- Make sure everyone has the schedule.
- Check the status of shipments.
- Run through staff roles.
- Brief everyone involved.
- Confirm details with speakers and media attendees.
- Make sure you have copies of speeches, presentations, etc.
- Assign practice sessions for everyone in the spotlight.
- Confirm attendance of important personnel.
- Determine photo and interview opportunities.
- Confirm all details with committee members.
The Day Before
- Rehearse what you can (make sure the speaker’s table is close enough to the stage, etc.).
- Ensure all promo items are on site.
- Make sure the signage is in place.
- Make sure all the tables are in place.
- Double-check all the equipment.
- Make sure you have copies of all permits, instructions, keys etc.
- Assist teams and speakers if needed.
- Greet attendees.
Don’t forget to say thank you to everyone involved. Gather all the receipts and documentation. Check-in with the vendor. Make sure nothing was left behind. And, finally, congratulate yourself on a job well done!