by Annette Naif
When planning and producing an event your event team is expected to have answers ready for any questions attendees may have. Prior to an event, it’s important that all of the event team be given any information that could help them answer any questions that may be asked by attendees. As with any helpful checklist, you may need to tweak some of the questions below to pertain to your specific event, but for the most part, these can be applied to most events and will help you be more prepared and look professional.
Where’s the restroom? This is probably the most common question – and well why shouldn’t it be? Make sure you know exactly where ALL of the restrooms are. Restrooms near the event space are more likely to be congested so it is always good to recommend an alternate restroom if there is one available. Although it may not be appropriate for every event, signage may be helpful.
What is the WiFi code? It is the world we live in and most people do not want to pay for it if WiFi is available. Be sure to have the WiFi network name as well as the password available for your guests. This is especially important for business and professional events as many attendees will need to keep tabs on what is going on back at the office. It may be helpful to print this information in the event program or provide the access information on branded 3 x 5 cards and put them on out all the tables ahead of time.
Is there a hashtag for the event? If there is an official #hashtag being used to promote the event you will want to provide the information to your attendees. If you have an emcee it can be helpful to have them announce promoting the event via social media by using the #hashtag (another good reason to provide WiFi information). This way everyone is getting the same information and guests are more likely to post.
What’s in the food? This information can usually be answered by the caterer but it is also good if you have a general idea of what is or is not in the food. At the very least, you should be able to suggest a vegan, vegetarian, dairy or gluten free dish if there is one being offered for those with dietary restrictions or allergies.
Is there a smoking area? Most venues today are non-smoking but may have a designated smoking area outdoors. If not, it should be clearly noted that the entire facility and surrounding property are a non-smoking area.
Is there a place that I can charge my phone? Be sure that you are able to locate any available power outlets that attendees can use for charging their electronics. Although guests will be welcome to charge their devices, if you do not have security at the event make sure it is known that you are not responsible for any lost or damaged items left unattended. You will be busy enough as it is running around making sure everything is going smoothly; therefore, you cannot be responsible or liable for the property of others. Another great solution is to offer cell phone charging stations like Power Tower or Go Charge. These have become very popular at events.
Is there some place private that I can breastfeed (yes we have been asked this)? There won’t be too many people at your event that this applies to; however, it may come up especially if the attendees are mostly women. Most venues will have a private or handicapped restroom that could be a great space to offer or you can arrange for a private room a head of time. Be sure the space has a chair, table and access to an electric plug in case the mother needs to plug in a breast pump.
Who sponsored this, that, or the other thing? It is extremely important that all event sponsors are adequately recognized and thanked for their participation. If it is not listed in print or posted on signage throughout the event guests may ask who sponsored various elements or activities at the event. It is super important that you are able to identify the correct sponsors as they are usually a very big part of financing the event. Make sure that their support does not go unnoticed.
What restaurants are nearby? If food is not served at the event and the attendees are expect to go out to eat, they will inevitably ask for local restaurants in the area. Having a list prepared ahead of time at the registration desk or provided in a their handouts or workbook will save time and show that you are prepared.
What time does this, that, or the other thing start? If there is no official event program available to attendees, you and your staff should be able to answer questions regarding what time various segments and activities are scheduled to start and how long they are going to last. With some events, especially longer events, some attendees may not be able to be present for the entire event and may only want to attend certain parts of the event. To avoid this, I always recommend to my clients that an agenda for the day be provided ahead of time to the attendees so you don’t get these types of questions throughout the event.
Is there a medic/emergency response team on site? As we know, every event is different and some may or may not require an emergency response team on site. If there is, be sure that everyone is well aware of where they are located and instructed to visit them if they have any emergency concerns. If your event does not have a team on site, it may help attendees to feel more comfortable if you can supply them with phone numbers for the local authorities. The chances that there is going to be a medical emergency are low for the most part; however, as with many things at an event, you can never be sure. If it comes up, ensure your guests that you are more than capable of contacting the proper authorities in case of an emergency.
Although you can’t always predict what questions or concerns will arise at an event, this list is a general guide you can apply to the majority of events. Before any event you should try to put yourself in the mindset of a typical attendee and what questions you might ask the event team while at the event. More important, make sure your entire team is knowledgeable so that all of the responsibility does not fall on you. Do whatever you can to be prepared!
WE’D LOVE FOR YOU TO SHARE THIS IN YOUR NEWSLETTER OR WEBSITE BUT PLEASE INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING COMPLETE INFORMATION: Event Planning Expert, Entrepreneur, and Coach, Annette Naif, Owner & Creative Director of Forté Events NYC and publisher of the E-Zine, “Forté Today.”
About Forté Events:
Forté Events is a strategic event design and production firm specializing in corporate, non-profit, and social events worldwide. Based in Colorado Springs, CO, and New York City this company produce events worldwide from Fortune 500 clients to families and charities. Forté Events specializes in helping clients attain their goals, realize return on investment, and achieve the most unique, creative experiences.
About Annette Naif:
Since 1986 Annette Naif has been designing and producing custom events. Helping clients create their unique signature style that translates into a memorable experience has been Annette’s passion from the beginning. Annette spent a number of years producing events for Sebastian International followed by 15 years in the motion picture industry where she helped coordinate numerous productions for film and episodic television programs. Since then she’s been running her own event design company, coaching other event planners and now leads the New York City branch of Forté Events.