Planning an Event

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*Timing for preparations

*Mobilising human resources for the event

* Budgeting









STEP 1 Identify what type of event/activity you would like to do.

Trade Show, Gospel Rock Show, Trip,

STEP 2 Determine the goals of the event and what you would like to accomplish.

Define your objectives and outcomes of the event or activity.

Identify the target audience and event emphasis: Education, Health, Talk seminar etc


STEP 3 Decide on a date and time for the event or activity. (meet certain factors in environment, especially during vacations,


STEP 4 Consider locations and types of facilities to host event. (GRS), Talk, Sports

Determine the use of space and or seating arrangement and capacity

required for the event or activity.

Decide who will be responsible to secure the facility and be the event



STEP 5 Consider establishing partnerships with other organizations or people to

assist with the execution of the event.

Identify their role when determining key decisions. (Invitations, Participants)


STEP 6 Create an event/program budget.

Identify the sources and amounts of potential revenue and expenses.

Revise for realistic and necessary true cost and revenue updates.


STEP 7 Create an event timeline.

Outline all essential decisions/activities in a time sequential order from the

point of initial consideration to decision being finalized and decisions

being executed.

Document who is responsible for each function.

Communicate the timeline to everyone involved in the planning or

fulfillment of the event. (Event schedule) (Day by day, weekly or monthly)


STEP 8 Determine Key Decisions:


Determine the order of activities that need to occur at the event or activity.


Determine who will perform or execute the agenda items.

Determine if a published program is necessary. If so decide who will

create and print the program.


Presentation(s)/ Speakers

Identify the topics of information to be shared.

Determine if presenters/speakers are needed. If so identify potential

presenters or speakers to invite to participate.

Decide on the time frame for each presentation or speech.

Decide the type of communication that should transpire with the

presenters/speaker, when it should occur and who will be responsible to

execute and follow-up.



Identify what equipment is necessary for the event or activity.

Identify potential sources to secure needed equipment.

Evaluate the cost of the equipment.

Decide who will be responsible for the pick up and return of the




Determine what materials are needed, and identify potential sources to

purchase them.

Decide who will be responsible for purchasing, preparing and storing the




Determine who will receive awards – presenters/speakers.

Decide on awards items and identify sources to purchase them.

Decide who will be responsible for purchasing awards and presenting



Public Relations

Identify the method(s) which will be used to publicize the event or activity.

Decide who will be responsible for the development of invitations, flyers,

press releases, emails, etc.

Decide who will be the contact for public inquires on the event or activity.


Decide who will be responsible to disseminate the types of information on

the event or activity.


Internal Communication

Determine the method of communication to the people within the

organization to inform them, include them and encourage them to

participate. For instance communicating by email, newsletter etc.


STEP 9 Take into consideration these special additions/items if needed:






Clean up


STEP 10 You have planned well and are ready to go. Have a Successful


Event Planning Checklist

Printable Event Scheduling Checklist

6 to 12 Months Ahead

Yes No

Decide event purpose (raise funds, visibility, celebration, etc.)

Choose a theme

Visit potential sites

Research/appoint an event coordinator/manager

Research/select committees/chairpersons

Chairperson forms subcommittees

Get cost estimates (site rental, food, drinks, sound/lights, etc.)

Get recommendations for entertainment; hold auditions

Get bids for entertainment

Get bids for decorations

Get bids for design/printing

Get bids for other major items

Finance committee drafts initial budget

Decide on admission cost

Create sponsorship amounts/levels

List items to be underwritten and possible sources

Research/approach honorees

Compile mailing list (individuals/businesses)

Check proposed date for potential conflicts, finalize date in writing

Get written contracts for site, entertainment, etc.

Develop alternative site (if event is outdoors)

Consider pre-party event for publicity or underwriting

Invite/confirm VIPs

Pick graphic artist; begin invitation design

Create logo for event with graphic artist

Order hold-the-date cards or other event announcements

Set marketing/public relations schedule

Develop press release and calendar listings

Select photographer; arrange for photos of VIPs, chairmen, honorees

Get biographical information on VIPs, celebrities, honorees, chairmen

Investigate need for special permits, licenses, insurance, etc.

3 to 6 Months

Begin monthly committee meetings

Write/send requests for funding or underwriting to major donors, corporations, sponsors

Request logos from corporate sponsors for printing

Review with graphic artist invitations, programs, posters, etc.

Prepare final copy for invitations, return card, posters

Prepare final copy for tickets

Complete mailing lists for invitations

Order invitations, posters, tickets, etc.

Sign contract with entertainment company

Make list of locations for posters

Finalize mailing lists; begin soliciting corporations and major donors

Obtain lists from honorees, VIPs

Obtain radio/TV sponsors, public service announcements, promos

Set menu with caterer for food and beverages

Secure permits and insurance

Get written confirmation of celebrity participation/special needs

Finalize audio/visual contract

Select/order trophies/awards

2 Months Ahead

Hold underwriting or preview party to coincide with mailing of invitations; invite media

Assemble/address invitations (with personal notes when possible)

Mail invitations

Distribute posters

Finalize transportation/hotel accommodations for staff, VIPs, honorees

Obtain contracts for decorations and rental items

Confirm TV/radio participation

Release press announcements about celebrities, VIPs, honorees

Follow up to confirm sponsorships and underwriting

Obtain logos from corporate sponsors for program printing

Review needs for signs at registration, directional, etc.

All major chairpersons to finalize plans

Hold walk-through of event with responsible committees, chairpersons and responsible site staff

members at event site

Review/finalize budget, task sheets and tentative timeline

Start phone follow-up for table sponsors (corporate, VIP, committee)

1 Month Ahead

Phone follow-up of mailing list (ticket sales)

Place newspaper ads, follow up with news media, on-air announcements

Confirm staff for registration, hosting, other

Write to VIPs, celebrities, program participants, confirm participation

Complete list of contents for VIP welcome packets

Get enlarged site plan/room diagram, assign seats/tables

Give estimate of guests expected to caterer/food service

Meet with all outside vendors, consultants to coordinate event

Review script/timeline

Continue phone follow-ups for ticket/table sales

Continue assigning seats; set head table, speaker’s platform

Confirm transportation schedules: airlines, trains, buses, cars, limos

Confirm hotel accommodations

___ ___Prepare transportation and accommodations (include arrival time, flight number, airline, person assigned

___ ___to meet flight)

___ ___Confirm special security needed for VIPs, event

___ ___Prepare welcome packet for VIPs, chairmen, and key staff

___ ___Schedule deliveries of special equipment, rentals

___ ___Confirm setup and tear down times with event site

___ ___Finalize plans with party decorator

___ ___Give caterer revised numbers

___ ___Meet with chairpersons, key staff to finalize any of the above

1 Week Before

___ ___Meet with all committees for last-minute details

___ ___Finish phone follow-ups

___ ___Confirm number attending

___ ___Finish seating/table arrangements

___ ___Hold training session with volunteers; finalize assignments

___ ___Secure two or three volunteers to assist with emergencies

___ ___Finalize registration staff

___ ___Distribute seating chart, assignments to hosts/hostesses

___ ___Schedule pickup or delivery of any rented or loaned equipment

___ ___Double-check arrival time and delivery times with vendors

___ ___Reconfirm event site, hotel, transportation

___ ___Deliver final scripts/ timelines to all program participants

___ ___Finalize catering guarantee, refreshments

___ ___Confirm number of volunteers

___ ___Make follow-up calls to news media for advance and event coverage

___ ___Distribute additional fliers

___ ___Final walk-through with all personnel

___ ___Schedule rehearsals

___ ___Schedule volunteer assignments for day of event

___ ___Establish amount of petty cash needed for tips and emergencies

___ ___Write checks for payments to be made for the day of the event

Day Before Event

___ ___Lay out all clothes that you will need the day of the event

___ ___Recheck all equipment and supplies to be brought to the event

___ ___Have petty cash and vendor checks prepared

Event Day

___ ___Arrive early (with your change of clothes)

___ ___Unpack equipment, supplies and make sure nothing is missing

___ ___Be sure all VIPs are in place and have scripts

___ ___Reconfirm refreshments/meal schedule for volunteers

___ ___Go over all the final details with caterer and setup staff

___ ___Check with volunteers to make sure all tasks are covered

___ ___Setup registration area

___ ___Check sound/light equipment and staging before rehearsal

___ ___Hold final rehearsal

Communication Skills – making oral presentations

The material of your presentation should be concise, to the point and tell an interesting story. In addition to the obvious things like content and visual aids, the following are just as important as the audience will be subconsciously taking them in:

  • Your voicehow you say it is as important as what you say
  • Body language – a subject in its own right and something about which much has been written and said. In essence, your body movements express what your attitudes and thoughts really are. You might like to check out this web page
  • Appearance – first impressions influence the audience’s attitudes to you. Dress appropriately for the occasion.

As with most personal skills oral communication cannot be taught. Instructors can only point the way. So as always, practice is essential, both to improve your skills generally and also to make the best of each individual presentation you make.

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Prepare the structure of the talk carefully and logically, just as you would for a written report. What are:

  • the objectives of the talk?
  • the main points you want to make?

Make a list of these two things as your starting point

Write out the presentation in rough, just like a first draft of a written report. Review the draft. You will find things that are irrelevant or superfluous – delete them. Check the story is consistent and flows smoothly. If there are things you cannot easily express, possibly because of doubt about your understanding, it is better to leave them unsaid.

Never read from a script. It is also unwise to have the talk written out in detail as a prompt sheet – the chances are you will not locate the thing you want to say amongst all the other text. You should know most of what you want to say – if you don’t then you should not be giving the talk! So prepare cue cards which have key words and phrases (and possibly sketches) on them. Postcards are ideal for this. Don’t forget to number the cards in case you drop them.

Remember to mark on your cards the visual aids that go with them so that the right OHP or slide is shown at the right time

Rehearse your presentation – to yourself at first and then in front of some colleagues. The initial rehearsal should consider how the words and the sequence of visual aids go together. How will you make effective use of your visual aids?

Making the presentation

Greet the audience (for example, ‘Good morning, ladies and gentlemen’), and tell them who you are. Good presentations then follow this formula:

  • tell the audience what you are going to tell them,
  • then tell them,
  • at the end tell them what you have told them.

Keep to the time allowed. If you can, keep it short. It’s better to under-run than over-run. As a rule of thumb, allow 2 minutes for each general overhead transparency or Powerpoint slide you use, but longer for any that you want to use for developing specific points. 35mm slides are generally used more sparingly and stay on the screen longer. However, the audience will get bored with something on the screen for more than 5 minutes, especially if you are not actively talking about it. So switch the display off, or replace the slide with some form of ‘wallpaper’ such as a company logo.

Stick to the plan for the presentation, don’t be tempted to digress – you will eat up time and could end up in a dead-end with no escape!

Unless explicitly told not to, leave time for discussion – 5 minutes is sufficient to allow clarification of points. The session chairman may extend this if the questioning becomes interesting.

At the end of your presentation ask if there are any questions – avoid being terse when you do this as the audience may find it intimidating (ie it may come across as any questions? – if there are, it shows you were not paying attention). If questions are slow in coming, you can start things off by asking a question of the audience – so have one prepared.


Speak clearly. Don’t shout or whisper – judge the acoustics of the room.

Don’t rush, or talk deliberately slowly. Be natural – although not conversational.

Deliberately pause at key points – this has the effect of emphasising the importance of a particular point you are making.

Avoid jokes – always disastrous unless you are a natural expert

To make the presentation interesting, change your delivery, but not too obviously, eg:

  • speed
  • pitch of voice

Use your hands to emphasise points but don’t indulge in to much hand waving. People can, over time, develop irritating habits. Ask colleagues occasionally what they think of your style.

Look at the audience as much as possible, but don’t fix on an individual – it can be intimidating. Pitch your presentation towards the back of the audience, especially in larger rooms.

Don’t face the display screen behind you and talk to it. Other annoying habits include:

  • Standing in a position where you obscure the screen. In fact, positively check for anyone in the audience who may be disadvantaged and try to accommodate them.
  • Muttering over a transparency on the OHP projector plate an not realising that you are blocking the projection of the image. It is preferable to point to the screen than the foil on the OHP (apart from the fact that you will probably dazzle yourself with the brightness of the projector)

Avoid moving about too much. Pacing up and down can unnerve the audience, although some animation is desirable.

Keep an eye on the audience’s body language. Know when to stop and also when to cut out a piece of the presentation.

Visual Aids

Visual aids significantly improve the interest of a presentation. However, they must be relevant to what you want to say. A careless design or use of a slide can simply get in the way of the presentation. What you use depends on the type of talk you are giving. Here are some possibilities:

  • Overhead projection transparencies (OHPs)
  • 35mm slides
  • Computer projection (Powerpoint, applications such as Excel, etc)
  • Video, and film,
  • Real objects – either handled from the speaker’s bench or passed around
  • Flip~chart or blackboard – possibly used as a ‘scratch-pad’ to expand on a point

Keep it simple though – a complex set of hardware can result in confusion for speaker and audience. Make sure you know in advance how to operate the equipment and also when you want particular displays to appear. Sometimes a technician will operate the equipment. Arrange beforehand, what is to happen and when and what signals you will use. Edit your slides as carefully as your talk – if a slide is superfluous then leave it out. If you need to use a slide twice, duplicate it. And always check your slides – for typographical errors, consistency of fonts and layout.

Slides and OHPs should contain the minimum information necessary. To do otherwise risks making the slide unreadable or will divert your audience’s attention so that they spend time reading the slide rather than listening to you.

Try to limit words per slide to a maximum of 10. Use a reasonable size font and a typeface which will enlarge well. Typically use a minimum 18pt Times Roman on OHPs, and preferably larger. A guideline is: if you can read the OHP from a distance of 2 metres (without projection) then it’s probably OK

Avoid using a diagram prepared for a technical report in your talk. It will be too detailed and difficult to read.

Use colour on your slides but avoid orange and yellow which do not show up very well when projected. For text only, white or yellow on blue is pleasant to look at and easy to read. Books on presentation techniques often have quite detailed advice on the design of slides. If possible consult an expert such as the Audio Visual Centre

Avoid adding to OHPs with a pen during the talk – it’s messy and the audience will be fascinated by your shaking hand! On this point, this is another good reason for pointing to the screen when explaining a slide rather than pointing to the OHP transparency.

Room lighting should be considered. Too much light near the screen will make it difficult to see the detail. On the other hand, a completely darkened room can send the audience to sleep. Try to avoid having to keep switching lights on and off, but if you do have to do this, know where the light switches are and how to use them.

Finally …,

Enjoy yourself. The audience will be on your side and want to hear what you have to say!


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