Monday, August 1, 2011

Tips for Presentations: Make an Event Checklist

One of my goals this year is to cut wasteful spending (sound familiar?), and those cuts include book promotion. I don't do many "free" events like I did last year for my book, where I end up spending big bucks on hotels or drive all day to get there. I have a set price for a fairly simple demo event that's under 100 miles away and if I'm really interested in the venue. If the the event is under 10 miles away, I'll do it free of charge, with the requirement that I sell my own books.

Recently I agreed to do an event at the Slow Roots Food and Music Festival and I had agreed to do the event before going over details. It's a learning experience, I know, and in the early days that followed, I ferreted out details from the hosts. As I requested items, including a fee, my friend Kathy Gehrt suggested writing a post on an event checklist.

So here's one of those useful tip posts to help navigate the waters of event ambiguity.

Here are five tips for your event checklist:

1. Ask a lot of questions
  • Who (is your contact? Get email, phone, best time for contact?)
  • What (lecture, talk, demo, class, how long, what is the line-up?)
  • Where (how far, parking, unloading, general set-up--inside, outside)
  • When (when are the biggest crowds most likely? check calendar, write it down)
  • How (many other presenters?)
2. Check the organization's web page. Try and imagine that you are at the event. Make a list of things the presenter needs to do to meet your needs. For example--at the Slow Roots Festival I need a two burner set-up, a handwashing station and an assistant.

3. Mention fees long before the event; have a handy list of what you charge.

4. Know the things that are most important for your event.
  • Projector
  • Stove, burners, kitchen equipment, assistants
  • Props and books for show and tell presentation
  • Parking arrangements at the event, unloading, prep time and place
5. Make a list of what you need early on. That way, if you need additional items from the hosts, you can ask well before the event and you can be more relaxed the day of the event because you took the time to get organized early.

The less ambiguity and murky details you can clear away before the event, the smoother your presentation will go.

1 comment:

  1. I can lend you a handwashing station, if you have to come up with one.