Developing the event timeline

A good timeline is essential to keep you on track throughout the process. A timeline can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.

The key is to make sure the timeline includes hard deadlines, i.e. important dates for tasks that that you cant afford to over-run.

The form on the next page provides a sample timeline which will give you some idea of the types of items to include in it.

Your timeline provides you with an overview of the tasks to be completed. You should assign a committee member to each task and have them sign off completed items.

Each area of responsibility, such as registration, will actually be comprised of individual smaller tasks. This section will help you break the larger tasks into comprehensive task lists.

These task lists can then be added to your timeline at a later time. Your sample timeline charts are organized by when you should start planning your timeline and what needs to be done.

Lets take a look at these. They basically explain what tasks have to be done in the specified amount of time.

4 - 6 Months before Event:

  • Target Date: ___/___/___

  • Completion Date: ___/___/___

  • Confirm # of attendees

  • Set budget

  • Site inspections

  • Book venue

  • Book entertainment

  • Book keynote speakers

  • Set preliminary agenda

  • Start collecting phone numbers, e-mails and addresses of participants

  • Decide on theme

  • Hire photographer/videographer

2 - 3 Months Before Event:

Target Date: ___/___/___

Completion, date: ___/___/___

  • Assemble the meeting or event package (the Announcement with registration form, agenda, the Venue and other information participants will need)

  • Send out invitations and/or registration package

  • Confirm speakers and panelists

  • Contact caterers

  • Contact wine & spirits suppliers

  • Contact florist

  • Confirm AV requirements

  • Contact AV and computer specialists

  • Order corporate gifts or other giveaways

1 2 Months Before Event:

TARGET DATE: ___/___/___

COMPLETION DATE: ___/___/___

  • Make sure all contracts are signed

  • Review with legal counsel

  • Review speakers' assignments

  • Review all menus, room setups etc.

  • Review equipment list with participants

  • Start assembling ideas for the registration kits, badges, agendas, vouchers, timetables, leisure activity suggestions

  • Put appropriate literature in each kit

  • Finalize all menus

  • Finalize decor and floral arrangements

1 Month Before Event:

TARGET DATE: ___/___/___

COMPLETION DATE: ___/___/___

  • Rehearse format with the venue, and decide on room setups, podia, etc.

  • Make sure enough electrical outlets are available, as well as the necessary cabling for equipment

  • If you're using a hotel, decide with hotel management what welcome basket will be in each room

  • Alert hotel who your VIPs are

  • Confirm guest list

10 Days Before Event:

TARGET DATE: ___/___/___

COMPLETION DATE: ___/___/___

  • Do a checklist one more time to make sure nothing has slipped through the cracks

  • One more time, do an accurate guest list

  • Prepare seating charts

The Day Before Event:

TARGET DATE: ___/___/___

COMPLETION DATE: ___/___/___

  • Go over checklist again

  • Arrange cash for gratuities, etc.

  • Review duties with staff members or hired help

  • Make sure signage and directions are completed

  • Prepare one-sheet "hot list" of critical phone numbers

  • Confirm any outside vendors (e.g. AV specialist)

  • Assemble all delegate materials

Day 1 of Event:

TARGET DATE: ___/___/___

COMPLETION DATE: ___/___/___

  • Bring your checklists and this Workbook with you

  • Bring your Planner's Tool Kit

  • Have the attendee list, properly alphabetized, ready at

  • the reception table, together with name tags

  • Bring extra name tags

  • Finalize head count for every event

  • Set out table numbers and name tags according to your seating charts

  • Solicit business cards from on-site staff, including cell phone numbers

After the Event Concludes you must:

TARGET DATE: ___/___/___

COMPLETION DATE: ___/___/___

  • Pay the bills

  • Write thank-yous and send gifts

  • Complete your expenditures and match to budget

  • Pay gratuities

Notes: (Here is where you would write down any notes or special points of interest that you would like to add about the event itself)

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