by Martha Cooke | March 01, 2004

The following checklist was compiled with the assistance of Deidre Underwood, director of business theater at ME Productions, 2000 S.W. 30th Ave. Pembroke Park, Fla. 33009; (954) 458-4000;


  • Make a clear list of the goals and objectives of the meeting (motivation, education, branding, etc.).
  • Determine a length of time for the session to run and a budget for the event that incorporates speaker fee/honorarium, theming/decor, A/V and other production such as filming or audiotaping.

  • Does your preferred site offer a convenient location that will be easy for your attendees to reach? 
  • Will the site negotiate with you to accommodate your event’s budget? 
  • Does the site convey the impression (celebratory, scholarly, etc.) you want the meeting to convey?
  • Be sure to negotiate production needs in tandem with sleeping rooms and food and beverage amounts. 
  • If a third-party production company (not affiliated with the site) is being used and if it is at all possible, bring the production company in before the contract is signed to see the space and make sure it suits the needs of your group.
  • Is the room large enough to accommodate rear-screen projection, if necessary?
  • Will the room hold your group comfortably in your preferred seating configuration? Be sure to take into account space needed for a stage, backdrops and/or production equipment.
  • Does the room have enough and adequately spaced rigging points to hold up necessary lighting and backdrop elements?
  • How much time is needed for load-in, setup and rehearsals? Make sure the contract gives you exclusive use of the space during those periods. 
  • Will you have ready access to the loading dock and freight elevators?
  • Is the power supply adequate for your production needs? What is the site protocol if a generator is needed, and how are fees and charges for that assessed?
  • Does the area around the room provide enough space for breakouts, if necessary? If doing postsession breakouts, reserve those rooms at the same time as you book the general session room.

  • Tie the theme into all visual elements of the presentation, from invitations to staging to website graphics.
  • If the venue has a special draw or unique attributes, consider incorporating them into the event. 
  • Find out what A/V needs speakers and presenters have; for example, wireless mikes for audience Q&A, a TelePrompTer, screens and a tape/DVD player for video playback.
  • Ask speakers/presenters if they will be using any other special effects, and check with the facility to make sure the use of these effects is approved. (Live animals and pyrotechnic displays, for example, often require approval from additional authorities.)
  • Spend time choosing music that fits the tone of the event. 
  • Consider using specialty linens to enhance the theme, and/or incorporating the company logo into place cards, programs or centerpieces.
  • If more than one presenter will be using PowerPoint presentations, give them all uniform guidelines so their presentations are consistent in layout and style.
  • NOTES: