Last minute hitches and hiccups are the feature of many, if not all, events. An event agenda needs to be flexible enough to accommodate unscheduled changes. By building in margin into the event agenda you can give yourself some much needed breathing space.
With the right amount of forethought no-one will know anything other than the event is running on time and on plan!
1.Beware of overpacking your agenda. Include an extra 15 minutes more than you think each session may need. This will help with speakers who over-run, and delayed starts.
2. Reserve some space for latecomers. Rope off a designated row or set a couple of extra tables near the entrance. This will ensure late attendees won’t disrupt the session or be embarrassed by their late arrival.
3. ….and some space for early arrivals. Keen beans will arrive early to get the front row spots or seats near the door. Allocate space for them too.
4. And let’s not forget unexpected guests. Set one or two extra tables near the door and mark them as reserved. Some attendees and dinner guests may show up without having RSVP’d. Avoid a scramble for extra chairs and tables by having a section reserved for your surprise participants.
5. Make an easy transition with food. Providing an informal arrival lunch is a nice way to build some extra time into the event agenda. A buffet is the perfect way to accommodate staggered arrivals.
6. Allow attendees to arrive, relax and settle. Start your agenda early to mid afternoon on day one. This gives attendees plenty of time to arrive and organise themselves before the event starts.
7. Keep the start of your event agenda flexible. Rather than beginning with a general session or keynote speech, launch the meeting or conference with structured networking, cracker barrel sessions, brainstorming, or unconference sessions in breakout rooms.
8. ….and the same for the end of the event agenda. Before the closing keynote, schedule another session in breakout rooms for brainstorming, networking or strategising.