With You All the Way

by Sharron Campbell,

Certified Meeting Professional, 30 years experience

How to Create an Effective Checklist for Overall Event


Creating a thorough Overall Event Checklist is the first thing to do before taking any other action in the planning and coordinating process for a meeting, function or event.  It will serve as the launching pad for getting everything off to a well organized start.  It will also be the starting point for setting timelines and assigning responsibility for all tasks to be accomplished from beginning to end of the planning and production process.

An Overall Event Checklist will remind you of all major tasks that need to be done, and an Overall Event Timeline will remind you of the start date and deadline to keep each major task running smoothly, on time, well-integrated with other tasks.

Once the Overall Event Checklist is drafted (it will remain a work in progress as changes in the program occur), you will quickly see the scope of the entire project and be able to identify areas where additional staff and other resources will be needed to get the job done perfectly and on time. 

Start by listing all the major tasks to be completed before the date of your meeting or event is to begin.  Then break each major task into sub-tasks, add more detail and pencil in assignments that could be given to other staff members or volunteer teams as illustrated in the audio visual example below.  Each team, once assigned, would then break down their area of responsibility into even more detail and create their own checklist to follow.


 Assigned to

 Sub-tasks Confirm program format with Program Committee

 Team A

  Contact each speaker to verify type of presentation and AV equipment required

 Team B

  Verify meeting room capacities will accommodate all AV setup and broadband width is adequate for all type of presentations

 Team C

  Begin research and get referrals of AV companies in the area  

 Team D

  And so on …

 Team E

Each individual person or team assigned a component of the overall program should have the freedom to work independently, but the framework needs to be in place for them to communicate back to you regularly on their progress.  After all, if the team assigned to any one component of the planning process runs into problems that cause delays, it will affect the capability of other teams to perform their tasks effectively.  

It’s only as good as you make it -
Be thorough!  Regardless of how much or how little advance notice you have been given to plan an upcoming meeting or function of any type, large or small, a thorough checklist that you refer to on a weekly or even daily basis is a must.  As you move through the tasks, you will discover items that need to be added or moved to a different category, so view it as a work in progress.   

A head start, a time saver, very often a lifesaver -
Once an Overall Event Checklist for multiple functions of an event has been created and saved on file, it will be available whenever it’s time to begin planning a new conference or function.  It can easily be revised to apply to the new set of circumstances without having to “reinvent the wheel.”  It will be especially valuable to you when one of those dreaded, last-minute meetings is scheduled and your entire planning process has to be compressed and accelerated. Although it takes time to create, in the long run you will find it a huge time saver.  

The checklist samples provided by Planning Helper are incomplete and meant for use as guidelines to help you create checklists of your own that will apply to the unique needs of your meeting, event or function.

Sample Overall Event Checklist.PDF
Sample Overall Event Checklist.DOC

Next step, use the checklist to create a Timeline -
Assign completion dates to each major task and work backwards to a start date that will give you ample time to complete the task on time.
 bluebullet How to create an Overall Timeline for the full event
 bluebullet Booking Preparation Tools to use as guidelines
 bluebullet Back to Before Booking Anything-Overview
 bluebullet Back to Booking Guidelines Step-by-Step
 bluebullet View all Planning Helper Topics about meetings, events, social functions