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Your checklist is key to a successful conference
The Key to a Smooth-Running Conference: Your Checklist!
Organising a conference, whether it’s for 25 people or 2,500 people is a big undertaking. Being organised is the most important aspect of any conference or event. But, how can you be organised enough to manage all of the elements on time?

The answer is the humble checklist – it really is as simple as that! But the conference checklist isn’t just a quick list of to do items, scribbled on a sheet of A4 and posted on your pin board. The conference checklist is a sophisticated document that allows you to see at a glance what tasks are complete, pending and coming up, and helps you manage your time effectively to produce a spectacular end result that will impress your attendees and your boss!

Why is the Checklist a Key Element in Your Conference’s Success?

When you’re implementing multiple items all with deadlines due at different times, how do you know which task to tackle first?

Planning out the whole conference from day one of preparation right through to follow-ups and thankyous is much easier when you use a checklist.

With a list of items in front of you, it’s easy to crystallise your thoughts and plan effective timing for each task. It also creates a visual plan of how your preparations are travelling. And, there is a significant reduction in the possibility of things going wrong – something you want to avoid at all costs.

Creating a checklist also highlights all the elements of what’s needed for the success of the conference. As you use the compilation of your checklist as a tool for planning your conference, it helps you identify small but important tasks that can be easily overlooked.

How Do You Create an Effective Checklist?

Whether a checklist is effective depends on a few different elements. You need to categorise a large checklist into different, meaningful sections; it needs to give you a clear picture of whether items are actioned, to be actioned or not yet needed; it needs to address every aspect of your conference; generic checklists should be all-encompassing and able to be cut back to your specific needs.

First, you need to be clear on your conference goals (such as your market, number of people and theme). Then you can plan how to get to your end goals. A white board or large sheet of paper where you can draw out visually the different aspects of your conference allows you to put the different elements into the right section. Using Avery® Label Pads means you can quickly see your tasks at a big-picture level and can move them around so that they are in the relevant section of your list. Once you’re satisfied you’ve included all your elements you can transfer your visual list to a document such as a Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheet with separate tabs for each section, combined with tasks in Microsoft Outlook®.

There are also several online tools that you can use to manage your project such as Basecamp, Backpack, or the more basic The Ta-Da List. What you use will depend on how you work and what your budget is, as many of these online tools have a nominal monthly fee.

Having a physical, printed checklist may also work better for you and may make you feel more in control of how the preparations are progressing. If you do have a paper-based checklist, make sure that you create easily identifiable sections such as budgets, receipts, invoices, venue information, guest list, catering, speakers and any other sections that are relevant to your particular conference. Keep your list in a durable folder that you can keep organised in sections. Avery IndexMaker™ Dividers are the ideal way to keep everything totally organised and easy to find. Adding handy pockets using Avery PocketTabs™ is a great way to keep receipts and other information together that may not come to you in an electronic format.

If you’re looking for resources to give you a kick-start with your checklist, has a fantastic template to download for free.

How Detailed Should Your Checklist Be?

When you’re organising a conference you should never leave anything to chance. A checklist can never be too detailed. By including every step for each aspect of your conference, and providing a timeline as well as items that are reliant on each other you won’t be faced with difficult situations such as insufficient space, not enough catering, incorrect AV equipment for speakers and a multitude of other disasters. The more detailed your list is, the smoother and more seamless your conference will be.

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