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Running a conference - on the day

On the day of the conference work your way through a checklist to ensure everything runs smoothly. Learn more in this step by FutureLearn.

The video above does not have any audio. It’s a visual to get us thinking about the realities on the day!

You arrive at the venue, most likely the day before or early in the morning. One of your first jobs is to check that everything is set up as requested and all resources that were couriered have arrived. Refer to the checklist items in Step 1.10.

Procedures required on the day

All of the below stages need to be set up. Set up time should be scheduled.

  • Welcoming speakers and attendees
  • Registration
  • Cash management
  • Traffic flow
  • Contingency plans should problems occur
  • Late changes to the program
  • Selection and training of the registration team
  • Volunteers, rosters, and training
  • Displays of sponsorship material

Trusty checklists

Once again it’s checklists that will get you through this stage.

  • Double check the availability of all equipment, materials, and supplies at the venue
  • Running sheets, delegate lists, and registration work desk list
  • Confirm arrival and safe storage of registration equipment and materials to the venue
  • Develop a system for tracking materials and equipment for use at the venue
  • Make a final check of name tags
  • Confirm arrangements for supplies
  • Confirm registration requirements with the venue the day before the conference
  • Double check delegates’ and guests’ details
  • Check allocation of space for support materials, promotional displays, or exhibitors
  • Makeup delegates’ kits. The kit could include program, writing pad with the conference logo, advertising and/or samples from sponsors.
  • Complete a final check of all conference details, for example, room set-ups and equipment availability
  • Ensure clear signage is erected (always ask if the venue has any restrictions regarding signage)
  • Arrange to meet audio-visual and venue support staff
  • Check the set-up of the registration area to ensure a smooth and speedy flow of registration, including checklists for equipment and materials required.

First impressions

Conference delegates should have a positive experience when registering, and this feeling should stay with them during the whole conference.

Registration desk staff need to be briefed clearly so they are calm, composed, and confident. Be upfront in advance about the dress code for volunteers and staff.

Welcoming keynote speakers

If there are keynote speakers or honored guests politicians, celebrities, or big names in the field someone should be assigned to make sure that they have what they need, get to the right places at the right times, understand what’s expected of them, get meals, get introduced to people, etc.

A room is often set aside for the speakers to use as a retreat or for preparation.

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Event Management for Conferences: the Basics

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