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On the day of the event it's important to be as organized and ready as possible so that it's easier to be flexible if anything goes awry. Below are documents to have on hand as well as important tasks to complete to help you with this preparation.
Have paper or digital (saved on an iPad) copies of key event documents for easy reference. Here are a few essentials:
- Detailed program schedule – a detailed list of day-of-event activities in chronological order.
- Show flow – an outline of the lighting, music, audio and video cues
- Contact lists – a list of vendors and staff who will be onsite and their contact information
- Packing list
- Floor plan
- Book of Words – event script
- Vendor contracts and catering (food and beverage) order
- Expected attendance report
- Walk-in registration form – to register any unregistered guests
- Dietary restrictions report
- Payment form (for paid events)
Download a detailed program schedule sample
Download a show flow sample
Download a contact list template
Download a walk-in guest registration template
Onsite event communication
To maintain communication with your event team onsite, consider texting or using radios. Radios work well for large scale events when you are in a big venue or where you have a lot of staff and volunteers involved, as they allow your entire team to hear the broadcasted messages.
Onsite guest registration
Once attendees arrive at the venue, they should know exactly where to go to register.
For a successful guest registration process:
- Have registration open and ready for guests 30 minutes before event start for early arrivals
- Organize the items you have to hand out in a systematic way to keep the registration process fast
- Brief registration staff on other key details they may be asked (coat check, washrooms, prize draw, parking, taxi numbers, etc.)
Meet with the AV lead for a quick onsite briefing and run through before the event.
Tips for a successful AV run through:
- Review the program schedule, show flow and expectations with the AV technician to ensure they are comfortable with the timing of the program and aware of any special AV cues (e.g. pausing a video at a certain time, lighting cues, etc.)
- Test all slideshows, videos, microphones, lighting, music, etc. in the event space to ensure audio levels and sound quality are good
- If displaying Image Magnification (IMAG) with audio, ensure you test that video and sound are in sync by running through every video and slideshow from beginning to end to make sure there are no technical glitches part way through
- Do a sound check with the event speakers, especially if they are not comfortable or are inexperienced with speaking into a microphone, and ask an AV support person to brief the speaker on to how to adjust and speak into the microphone
Meet with the caterer onsite to review the catering set-up and schedule and discuss any dietary needs or special requirements. Check in with the caterers periodically throughout the event to ensure they are performing to your standards and people are being served in a timely manner.
Once the catering/venue staff have completed the event set-up, take some time to do a quality control check to ensure the event has been set-up correctly. Some things to check include:
- Number of tables and chairs
- Stage location
- Correct place settings (cutlery, napkin, menu, etc.)
- Washroom cleanliness
- Location of drop tables and garbage bins
Designate a staff member to meet and brief the photographer/videographer when they arrive onsite. Provide a brief run through of the event timing, review the shot list and test the lighting on the podium.
If you are working with a videographer, ensure you connect them with the AV team. Specify expectations for deliverables following the event (e.g. 20 photos needed for media release within 24 hours following the event).
Greet the speakers when they arrive onsite and provide them with a short briefing to review the speaking program and flow of the event.
Tips for hosting speakers:
- Get any special requirements/requests from your speakers prior to the event (e.g. request for a lapel microphone, dietary restrictions, accessibility requests, etc.)
- Delegate a staff person to host the speakers onsite at the event: greet the speaker when they arrive, make introductions, show them to the greenroom, keep them on schedule, respond to their requests, ensure they have water/food, etc.
- If you have several speakers at your event, book a greenroom to brief and review the program schedule/flow of the event to ensure they are familiar with the event space and staging, including how and when to enter and exit the stage and where to sit or stand while they’re waiting to be invited to the stage to speak
- Offer an opportunity for a sound check, especially if they are in a new venue or are inexperienced with speaking into a microphone
- Ensure there are light refreshments in the greenroom and water at the podium
- Know the location of your emcee, speakers and entertainers at all times so you are able to get in contact with them easily should something change in the programming
- Thank your speakers for their participation in your event, especially if they are volunteering their time. In some instances, you may want to make a formal gift presentation to the guest speaker(s)
Book of Words management
Assign someone to make last minute updates to the Book of Words (script) onsite and ensure each speaker has updated copies. Edits to the Book of Words will be needed if a VIP guest who is acknowledged in the speaking program does not show up or if someone arrives unexpectedly who should be acknowledged in the remarks. Have an extra printed copy of the Book of Words on hand in case one of your speakers forgets their copy.