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START 6–12 MONTHS BEFORE
n Determine the purpose or objectives of your event.
Identify key elements. Contact provider of each element to find out how far
in advance you need to make arrangements.
n Pick a theme/content.
Establish your budget. Estimate the number of attendees you can accommodate.
n Choose and book your location.
n Make a concrete plan. Define all action items and deadlines.
n Define your team. Delegate and make your team accountable.
n Research vendors.
n Create a timeline.
n Choose/book your entertainment/activities, if applicable.
n Create back-up plans. Be prepared for the unexpected such as bad weather,
entertainment no shows, equipment problems, and medical emergencies.
Draw up a list of alternate locations.
n Make sure you receive confirmation of your facility arrangements and
confirmation from any speaker(s)/guest(s), if applicable.
n Recruit volunteers.
n Seek out key decision makers whose approval or involvement will be needed
to make this event happen.
n Obtain liability insurance and other required licenses/permits.
n Create your contact list and keep developing this list.
Find the best way to communicate. Communicate clearly and often.
3-6 MONTHS BEFORE
n Order equipment, tables, chairs, platforms, audio-visual/electrical needs,
props/staging, and food/catering.
n Make arrangements for transportation, parking, security, and public toilets, when
n Contact printers if you are professionally printing your agenda/invitations.
n Mail invitations or announcements for those folks requiring significant
n Create your publicity plan. Develop press materials. Contact media requiring long
leads. You may need to start contacting some media even earlier,
e.g. magazines or annual/bi-annual publications.
n Order any giveaways.
n Communicate clearly and often.
1–2 MONTHS BEFORE
n Reconfirm all speaker/entertainer/activity requirements.
n Print and mail invitations or announcements, if not done already.
n Print or create any si