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Event planning checklist: tracking and timelines

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Size matters when it comes to planning events.

The consensus among administrative assistants is that for smaller events, you can go solo.

But for larger ones, it takes a committee, a nod from management and a zinger of a spreadsheet for keeping tasks and timelines on track.

According to one assistant, Amanda, the benefits of working with a committee are two-fold: “I used to do the big stuff by myself, but it was too much work. Plus, when you get a few viewpoints, you often come up with ideas you wouldn’t have thought of on your own.”

Establish budget

  • Expenses (create separate line items for speaker fees, entertainment, meals, beverages, etc.)
  • Income (create separate line items for registration fees, contributions, other financing)

Establish meeting content

  • Programs
  • Speakers and presenters
  • Entertainment
  • Tentative agenda

Select venue if off-site

  • Establish venue contact person
  • Tax-exempt certificates if applicable
  • Meeting rooms (create separate line items for square feet needed, lighting, desired amenities)
  • Specify ADA accessibility needs
  • Accessibility/local transportation
  • Parking: free or rate
  • Appearance: Rate inside from 1-5 (with 5=best) and outside from 1-5
  • Business services available (fax, voice mail, etc.)
  • Renovations planned during event
  • Other events at the venue during event

Food and beverage

  • In-house or outside catering
  • Caterer contact information
  • Format of each meal
  • Select menus
  • Special dietary needs
  • Obtain menu costs
  • Establish ticket system for meals and beverages
  • Additional service personnel


  • Decorations
  • Plates and flatware
  • Napkins
  • Tablecloth
  • Glasses or cups


  • Table arrangements
  • Flip charts, pens, etc.
  • Audio-visual needs (LCD projectors, laptop, DVD player, etc.)
  • Audio-visual contact information
  • Presentations sent to AV person in advance?
  • Signage and decorations


  • Determine security requirements for VIPs, meals and outside functions
  • Medical emergency plan
  • Names and phone numbers for local police, fire departments and hospitals


  • Airport greetings
  • VIP protocol
  • Host committees
  • Welcoming ceremony
  • Name tags


  • Budget tracking system
  • Master account billing
  • Individual billing
  • Gratuities
  • Final billing
  • Budget vs. actual expenses recap

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