Details Press conferences Action
Agenda: Organizing a press conference Where to hold
your press conference The day of the event Press kits
Buy a book on etiquette, and keep it in your office.
A display is a static presentation, like a large billboard advertisement. It should attract attention so that viewers will approach and review your information up close. Let your materials tell the story and let the display serve as a visual backdrop.
Notice the detail questions listed are categorized alphabetically. Use this organizational strategy to gather your answers. Start a notebook to better plan your event.
Special events can be a great way for you and your organization to grab the attention of elected leaders, the media and the public. Public forums and rallies also present an opportunity to identify new supporters and focus attention on your issue. The most critical component is proper planning and organization. You want to make sure your organization is portrayed in the best possible light. And always remember to invite the press because it will broaden your audience. Only a few people may come to your forum, but thousands more may read the news article or see the story on television.
Details are everything when planning an event. Below are questions for planning any kind of event. Not each item listed will apply to every event, but one overlooked detail can mean the difference between a good event and a great event... or a little headache and a migraine!(Courtesy of Herrle Communications Group)
Audience - Who will be there and why are they attending? Will there be special dignitaries who need special attention and if so, what kind? Will there be people who need special consideration like handicapped facilities? Will people in the audience know each other? Will they need to? Who will take care of introductions?
Big wigs - Are any celebrities coming to your event? Are they politicians or stars? Do they bring an entourage? How many? Will they be asked to sign things? Stay for photo ops? Are they participating in your event or just attending? Do they need a special area to rest ahead of time? Do they require security? Do they know what their role is in your event? Do you know how to properly introduce them and what their titles are?
Catering - What did you choose for the menu? Did you plan enough food for 10 percent more than received RSVPs? Are the prices and quantities in line? Have you considered vegetarians? What about alcohol? What time will the caterer be there to set up? Are they dropping off or serving? If dropping off, what time will they pick up? Is gratuity included in the bill? Are they providing tables and chairs?
How about linens and table skirts? Do you have their pager number in case they're late? Who is taking care of left-overs? Will they go back to the office? Leave with the caterer? Be taken to a food bank? If you're keeping them, did you bring storage bags or foil? Is the event over when the food is gone?
If you're having a speaker at a food function, will they start speaking after people have eaten? While they're eating? Will the places be cleared while your speaker is talking? Will the speaker be served first?
Display - Do you need a display at this event? If so, what kind? Do you need an extra table for it? Have the caterers taken care of that? Does the display table need a skirt? Will there be any materials to go along with the display?
Does the display need to be manned? Do you need chairs? Electricity? How far in advance will you set it up? Take it down? Do you need help bringing it in? Who is helping you? If you're setting it up outdoors, will wind be a factor? Does your display need any security?
Evaluation - When your event is over, how are you going to evaluate its success? Attendance? Media exposure? Financial contributions? Donor cards signed? Commitments made? No damage done? What about the bigger picture? Did you influence public opinion? Get people to change their behavior? Was that an objective?
Are the measurement tools in place? Who is counting attendance or collecting data for you?
Freaks of nature - Have you put any contingency plans in place? Will the weather affect this event? If it's an outdoor event, what will you do in case of rain? Snow? Sun? Do you have a tent? Need a tent? Is it an evening event that requires lighting? Darkness? Moonlight? Will really hot weather affect your event? What about the wind? Do you have provisions to tether things? How much time do you have if you need to move?
Greeting your guests - Who will be the first person to greet the guests? Have you given yourself enough time in setting up so that you can greet and mingle with your guests? Do your guests know each other? Do your guests know how to mingle or are you expecting people to hug the walls?
Will you be ready for the guests that arrive 30 minutes ahead of time... the 'traffic beaters'?
Hang time - Will there be any down time between different elements of your event? Time between a presentation and dinner? Reception and presentation? A meeting and a reception? Will your guests know where to go? Is a change of attire required? Do your guests know this?
Is transportation required? Do they need a map? Are you at risk of losing guests in between events? How will you ensure they all get from event number one to event number two?
If you have return transportation, will your guests know where to be and at what time in order to catch the last bus? What are the options if they miss the bus?
Invitations - Did you send out invitations for this event? If so, how far in advance? Did you ask for RSVPs or Regrets Only? Is the invitation required to attend the event? Was it necessary to include a map with the invitation?
Do the guests need special parking passes? Did you specify a dress code? Is there a cost associated with the event?
How many people responded and are expected at the event? Did you remember to increase the food order by 10 percent more? How important is an accurate head count?
Jerks - What about the people who show up just to complain? How will you handle complaints?
Is there someone assigned to answer questions and point people in the right direction?
What about the high maintenance people at a food function? Will you have a choice of food and beverage?
Are people clear about what's included in the event and what they might have to pay extra for?
Who is going to be in charge of escorting unruly people out of the event? What will you do if they want their money back?
Kids - Are children allowed at this event? If so, what ages? Will crying babies affect your event? Is there a room where noisy, crying or in-need-of-a-diaper-change children can be taken?
If kids are welcome at this event, are there things for them to do? Games or entertainment? Room to run around?
Is the menu suited for children? Do you have any trinkets or toys suitable for children? Is that necessary?
Do you need to arrange for sitters?
Location - Where is your event going to be held? Why have you chosen that location? What kind of parking arrangements must you make? Is it indoors? Is the room large enough? Where are the bathrooms?
Is it outdoors? What if the grass is wet? Is the area clean?
How close can you get your vehicle to the event site for loading and unloading?
Media - Is media attending this event? If so, how do you know? Did they get a news release? Invitation? Media packet? Follow up call? How many of those were necessary? How many were done? Who is greeting them? Escorting them? Is a press parking pass necessary?
Who will be giving interviews? What kind of coverage do you want to get? Will you need to arrange special interviews?
What if they come uninvited?
No shows - Will no shows affect your event? Are the people who are key to the success of your event going to be there for sure? When do you substitute or eliminate? How many no shows can you have without jeopardizing the success of the event?
Out of towners - Are any people coming from out of town? Do they have directions? Are you sure? Do they need hotel reservations? Are you expected to entertain them or pick up their tab?
Do they need to be picked up at the airport? Who will do that?
If they are coming from another part of the country, have you told them what kind of weather to expect?
Public address system - Do you need a PA system for the event? When will it be delivered? How much time will you have to do a sound check? Do you have the name and pager number for the person to call if the microphone doesn't work? Will someone be available to come fix it if there is a problem? How are the acoustics in the room? Will sound from other activities affect the event?
Quantity - Do you have sufficient quantities of everything for this event?
Food and beverage? Paper products? Trinkets and trash? Nametags and pens? Extra pens in case some walk away? Programs and news releases? Staff and volunteers? Tables and chairs?
Do you have extra supplies in your toolbox? Do you HAVE a toolbox?
Are there places to get additional copies and office supplies at the last minute?
Reservations - Are there any special reservations needed for this event? Hotel rooms for out of town people? Who makes those? What about dinner reservations? What about equipment reservations? Autos? Cargo vans? Confirmation numbers? Get these in writing.
Will there be any entertaining associated with this event?
Speech - Are you giving a speech at this event? Is your boss? Is your staff? Are you prepared? Extra copies of notes? If you're using notes do you need a light at the lectern? If you're using visual aides have you checked them to make sure they're in order?
Have you checked that the equipment works? Do you need the room lights up or down? Who will be in charge of this?
Timeline - How far in advance did you start planning your event? How many things were left to the last minute? Did you give yourself enough time to get set up and still be sane when the event starts?
Unforeseen events - What will you do if your speakers don't arrive? Or your guest of honor? What if the food isn't there on time? The facility isn't ready? Do you have all of the necessary pager or cell phone numbers? Is your cell phone charged up? Do important people have your pager number?
Volunteers - Do you need any for your event? Who will train them? Why was this group chosen? Are they presentable and capable of doing the assigned tasks? Do they need constant supervision or are they the kind that can run with the ball?
Wine and beer - Is alcohol being served at this event? Is it allowed? Appropriate? Is it an open bar or cash bar? Do the guests know it? Do they get free drink coupons? Where is the bar situated in relation to the rest of the room? Will a line at the bar create a bottleneck anywhere? Is the bar going to be open during your event? Is the bartender getting paid or working for tips? Will you allow a tip jar? Does the bartender know how to cut someone off if they 're drunk? Do you?
X marks the spot - Is everything for your event in the right place? How are the tables and chairs to be set up? Where should the lectern be placed? Programs on the chairs or passed out? Will you be there sufficiently early to make sure everything is in its correct place? Have you allowed enough room for walkways and crowds?
Yesterday - How many of the last minute details could you have done yesterday? How many of the details could have been done a long time ago? How many things could have been delegated before today?
Zzzz's - Did you get enough sleep last night? Will you get any tonight? Did you give yourself some down time before your next event so that you don't go crazy?
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