To ensure you have everything you need on the day of the event, it is best to create a checklist of items to take. A sample checklist which you can modify to suit your needs is available below.
- Set up the registration desk well in advance of the registration time.
- Ensure the desk is long enough to accommodate all name badges and delegates' packs. It is useful to arrange badges alphabetically (where possible) as it makes them quicker to find.
- Provide enough staff to ensure that delegates do not have to queue during the peak registration period.
- Hand out delegate packs and name badges.
- Keep a record of who has arrived and who is still to come.
- Keep speakers' badges separate, and colour-code them to make it clear who the speakers are.
- Provide badge-making facilities at the desk so that badges can be issued on the day if necessary (sometimes a delegate may send a colleague instead).
Check signage and place it at all strategic points to direct and inform delegates.
Signs should include:
- the registration desk
- cloakroom / toilets
- refreshments / lunch
- main conference room and workshops
- 'switch off mobile phone' signs
- reserved signs
- returned questionnaire signs
Audio visual equipment
Arrive at least one hour before delegates to check that the audio visual equipment is set up correctly before speakers and delegates arrive.
Assign a member of staff to show speakers how the audio visual equipment works.
Speakers should be:
- assigned a member of staff to look after them – offering them refreshments and introducing them to key people
- introduced to each other and to the chair
- introduced to the conference manager and to the audio visual assistant to ensure they know where to go if they have any queries
- offered the opportunity to see their slides on screen and to test out the audio visual equipment
- reminded to keep to time.
Welcoming the chair
The chair should be:
- assigned a member of staff to look after them – offering them refreshments and introducing to key speakers
- introduced to the conference manager and to the audio visual organiser to ensure they know where to go if they have any queries
- offered the opportunity to see their slides on screen and to test out the audio visual equipment (if relevant)
- given a copy of the chair's brief and talked through it in detail.
Welcoming the media
- Issue journalists with name badges and media packs on arrival. If appropriate, notify a press officer of their arrival or assign a member of staff to liaise with them.
- Discuss any special arrangements in advance – for example, photographers may like to stage photographs of the key speakers talking at the podium before the event, rather than having to stay for the whole day.
- Reserve some seats for key journalists and leave space at the back of the room for TV crews.
- If you are expecting a large number of media to attend, ensure you have professional press officers to help organise interviews and photo shoots. The ESRC can help with this.
- If necessary, put aside a quiet room for interviews. This must be clearly labelled so that delegates do not disturb the interview.
- Ensure delegates are properly registered and name badges supplied.
- Arrange for a member of staff to stay at the registration desk throughout the morning to handle late arrivals, and another to usher them to their seats between presentations.
- Consider 'reserving' the back row of chairs for latecomers to avoid them having to disrupt the audience when finding seats.
Evaluation is important because:
- You can establish whether you have met your objectives for the conference.
- You can get feedback from your audience on their opinions of how the conference was organised and whether their needs were met. This will help you to decide how to take forward your future programme.
- It can help to identify areas where improvements can be made for future events.
Provide printed evaluation forms in the delegate packs or consider whether to provide a link to an online evaluation form, which can also be emailed to delegates after the event.
If paper forms are provided, the chair should remind people to fill out their form before closing at the end of the day. Staff should be on hand to pick up the forms on the delegates' way out. Alternatively, a clearly signed box for the return of the forms should be made available from exit points.
Collate evaluation forms within a week of the event. Send each speaker details of how they performed, together with a personalised thank you letter.