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An Event Planning Checklist That Works!

An Event Planning Checklist That Works!

Okay, you’ve landed that contract for your next event, and it’s going to be bigger and better than anything you’ve put together before. You’re excited, nervous, terrified, daunted, and you don’t know where to start. You need an event planning checklist!

Planning an event can be extremely overwhelming, there are just so many little things to think about, remember, and remember to think about! But this is an exciting time, you’re at the drawing board, ready to start fresh!

But it doesn’t need to feel like you’re starting from scratch or free-falling, not sure where to start. With a comprehensive event planning checklist that works, you can be sure to think of everything. 

Time to build your event planning checklist!

Drawing from our many collective years of experience, we’ve put together an event planning checklist for you, to take some of the guesswork out of this process!

The Speaker Exchange’s Event Planning Checklist

14 to 18 months prior to the event:

  • Write your event planning checklist!
  • Establish the objectives and goals of the event.
  • Get your planning committee in place.
  • Begin delegating tasks.
  • Create a preliminary budget.
  • Create a website and marketing plan.
  • Establish logistical parameters such as space requirements and the number of attendees.
  • Set key dates.
  • Venue search/site visits.
  • Finalize contracts with venues and pay deposits.
  • If applicable, determine the theme of the event.
  • Solicit sponsorship.
  • Send an email blast: save the date.
  • Begin planning the event agenda.
  • Seek out and contract ancillary services (transportation, equipment rentals.)
  • Plan special events.
  • Hire decorators, designers.

Looking for the perfect speakers for your next event? Search The Speaker Exchange’s easy, comprehensive speaker database!

10 – 14 months prior to the event:

  • Begin promotion!
  • Launch social media platforms.
  • Establish rates and pricing.
  • Seek out and secure speakers, arrange their transportation and accommodation.
  • Establish a registration platform and website.
  • Be sure your website(s) can handle increasing traffic.
  • Establish satellite events/venues (hotels, secondary spaces, excursions, etc.)

8 – 10 months prior to the event:

  • Open registration for attendees.
  • Review and decide on proposals.
  • Select sessions.
  • Layout program.

4 – 8 months prior to the event:

  • Hire and train event staff.
  • Determine the final print date.
  • Review audio-visual requirements.
  • Finalize speakers and agenda.
  • Keep website updated with new information.
  • Begin your “Day of Master List”

2 – 4 months prior to the event:

  • Plan event logistics with vendors (travel, menus, etc.)
  • Order attendee materials and swag (nametags, t-shirts, notebooks etc.)

6 weeks – 2 months prior to event:

  • Prepare a post-event survey.
  • Finalize decorative details.
  • Email and snail mail reminders to speakers.
  • Choose moderators/facilitators for sessions and outside events.

2 – 6 weeks prior to event:

1 week prior to the event:

  • Event walk-throughs with key personnel.
  • Familiarize personnel with logistical details of venues.
  • Email updates to speakers and other participants.
  • A/V run-throughs.
  • Ensure all A/V requirements are met, troubleshoot equipment.
  • Prepare check-in materials.
  • Prepare gifts for speakers and participants.
  • Close registration, provide final numbers to venues and hotels.
  • Review Master Plan.
  • Collect all presentations on USB sticks.

Day of/during event:

  • Meet and greet.
  • Oversee smooth functioning, cleanliness, and put out fires.

Week following the event:

  • Send post-event surveys.
  • Send thank-you letters to VIPs and speakers.
  • Post-event breakdown meeting with key personnel.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran planner or a brand newbie just starting out, this checklist can help you get organized and take some of the mystique out of the process! 

Happy planning!

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Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

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