Event planning: Getting started

Need to plan an event but don't know where to start? Right here!

Sharon and I are busy planning a conference in October at the moment and are finding ourselves going back to our project plan to measure where we are on it. Are we on schedule? What needs to be shuffled? What priorities have changed?

Project plans are great - they give you a wonderful overview of what's happening, key milestones along the way and help identify potential roadblocks. But how do you make an event project plan?

Start on event day and work backwards.

From there, you can think about when you'll close registrations, when and how you'll evaluate the event, design and print the programme, receive collateral and schwag, open registrations, announce the programme, speakers and MCs, site visit, comms plan, the list goes on...Then there's the structure of the conference itself. What time will you start, when will the breaks be?

If you're a visual person, use massive sheets of paper stuck to the walls or if you're like us, use the whiteboard walls. Personally, I find it very difficult to be creative using a spreadsheet on a screen so taking up physical space lets me think. Try it.

From there, take photos or take down your scribbles and transfer that information into a spreadsheet, or your favourite planning tool.

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