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Event agendas and schedules 

Create the perfect schedule for your event

Confidently organising a successful event requires a well-thought-out event schedule. Read on and learn how to create a great schedule for your event in this article.


Why it’s important to create a detailed event schedule?

When deciding on your event’s schedule, time pressure is probably at the top of your mind. And you probably wonder about how you can optimize your processes to make them more efficient and save time? 

Your event schedule plays a key role in determining whether all the different trades involved in putting on your event dovetail together nicely – and this in turn determines whether participants will find your event worthwhile. The more detailed and forward-looking your event schedule is, the more efficient and satisfying your event will be.


How to proceed with your event schedule

An event schedule comprises several key components. Here is an example:

Delivery & set-up (for example 1-2 days before the start of the event)

  • Setting up technology, decoration, seating
  • Setting up catering 
  • Preparing event rooms & checkrooms 

Rehearsals & run-throughs (e.g. the day before the event begins)

  • Sound check
  • Technical check
  • Run-through and rehearse individual program items

Director's meetings and guidance (in good time before the start of the event and on an ongoing basis if necessary)

  • Guided tour for guests
  • Team management and those responsible for the trades involved
  • Adapting stage directions where required 

Participant registration (depends on the number of participants; allow enough time to avoid delays and frustration)

Running the event

  • Welcome 
  • Presentation program items 
  • Breaks (e.g. coffee, lunch)
  • Networking and exchange 
  • Farewell and conclusion 

Dismantling and cleaning up (directly after the event and the day after for example)

Signing off venue by provider (the day after the event for example)

When drawing up your event schedule, ensure you carry out key tasks in a logical sequence so that the individual trades can follow on from one another. Of course, the catering can be set up while the video technology is being installed – but you will need to have the technology in place before you can do a run-through. 

So, maintain an overview of setting up and dismantling the event from the first to the last step. Remain flexible, but confident and structured. A joint meeting between the management team and the various trades ensures that the event schedule can be discussed on a point-by-point basis. It also allows you to check whether you have thought of everything together and clarify any unresolved questions and concerns.


Creating an event schedule

Build some flexibility into the time slots that comprise your event schedule. The catering might come late, the stage lighting might fail, a speaker might postpone due to a personal emergency, or a World Café discussion might prove so popular that it over runs. Buffer times spare your nerves and those of all participants and organizers. Almost no event takes place without delays or unforeseen events. Take this into account when planning your event.


Consider resource management when planning your event

When it comes to resource management, you need to plan carefully. Check at an early stage how much staff, technology and event materials are available – and how you can best and most practically use them for the program items on the event schedule. 

It is best to set up a conference office or back office so that you can coordinate things as effectively as possible. Employees should not only know their tasks and schedules (preferably also those of others) but should also have a central point of contact in the back office. It is particularly important for external service providers to have a place they can seek out intuitively when they have questions or concerns.


Create an event schedule: scheduling rehearsals and tests

Don’t forget to build in sufficient time for rehearsals and technology testing into your schedule. Technical equipment, presentations and processes need to be checked to ensure the interact properly together. Test runs and rehearsals should not be seen as necessary evils but as safety nets that foster confidence build on shared experiences among the performers and improve delivery speed. They allow you to eliminate points of friction and technical inconsistencies in advance – and even deal with sudden failures more quickly.



Emergency planning - in case something goes wrong during the event

What do you do if the sound or lights fail? How do you deal with rowdy participants? If things go wrong in terms of planning or procedures, employees must know immediately what to do or whom to contact. Designate a main contact person who can be reached immediately by phone (in an emergency - for larger events, this is the project management team). 

It is also advisable to communicate procedures to cope with unforeseen situations in the director's meeting or during the final rehearsal.  Having an emergency plan calms and helps all those involved to implement your plan B on an ad hoc basis.



Documenting and evaluating your event schedule

Documenting and evaluating your event schedule in detail makes it easier to learn from your experiences and plan future events more effectively. You might ask, for instance, where did lack of time cause an issue, and in what areas did the trades involved have insufficient time? Also, identify opportunities for improvement and bring the team together to obtain a complete evaluation of the trades involved. 


Continue to step 5: The follow-up

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Download our checklist for event planning

Do you need a precise and detailed checklist so that you have all the important points of your event planning at a glance? 

No problem! The Cologne Convention Bureau is at your side to help you plan your event successfully and confidently. Our checklist is available for you to download - so that your event is guaranteed to be an enriching experience.