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Entries in conferences (4)


7 things to include in your event staff brief

We all are aware the only way to a smooth event is with a well briefed team.  Guest writer Madre Visser of London shares some helpful tips below for briefing your events team.  Thank you Madre!

Staff Entrance and Meeting Points

Provide staff with the exact meeting point or staff entrance for a venue or event. Some hotels have hundreds of employees and will often have a separate staff entrance. If you require staff to enter through the assigned staff entrance it is essential to let them know.

Some events may take place at a large venue or site, so staff will need specific direction. It is useful to highlight the best transport links for the event location, distinct landmarks or even exact walking instructions. This minimises the risk of staff getting lost or spending a long time finding the venue which may cause them to be late. 

  1. On-site contact

Sometimes it may be that the person who booked the staff is different to the person who will be managing them on site. Therefore it is important to provide the name and number of an on-site contact so that the staffing provider can relay information across to exactly the right person. The on-site contact would need to be alerted in the event of staff members running late, sickness of staff members or sending additional staff.


  1. What is the event

For staff to build a clear picture of their day ahead you should provide them with details about the event. Include the details such as number of guests attending, the style of service that will be followed, and what the event is in aid of. Knowing what the event is can allow for staff to realise the profile of the clients and the level of service that will be expected. If your event is very high profile and needs to be kept a secret, you need to let the agency staff know about any confidentiality clauses. They will then ask the staff not to share anything on social media prior to your event.


  1. Event Schedule

From a staff member’s point of view, it’s really useful to know what the schedule of an event is so that staff know where to be and at what time. It also gives them the opportunity to gage how long they have to complete tasks. This in turn improves the independent working and efficiency of staff members and reduces your need to keep prompting them on what tasks to complete next.


  1. Staff Uniform

If you want your event to look really professional, uniformity and presentation of staff are a great aspect to consider. From head to toe you can decide how staff should present themselves. The obvious points to consider are trousers or skirt, black shirt or white shirt, branded clothing, does the venue have a uniform scheme that should be followed. Points which are often overlooked regarding female staff include how female staff wear their hair, their level of make-up, jewellery, perfumes. When considering male staff, think about their facial hair, jewellery and aftershave. The level of presentation of staff will really impact on the overall quality of the event.


  1. Break Policy

Staff are legally entitled to have a 20 minute break for every 6 hours they work. These breaks are an opportunity for staff to have some time out and to recharge their batteries in preparation for the next few hours of working. So staff are prepared, it is also good to know whether a meal will be provided during their break or if they should bring their own food to eat. Staff feel appreciated when they are clear about their break and meal entitlements. Providing meals proves to increase staff productivity as they feel valued. The staff should also be informed beforehand as to whether their break will be paid or unpaid.


  1. Health and Safety

Staff can be requested to work at some obscure events where they may be expected to carry out unusual tasks. In these situations health and safety documentation may need to be given to the staff. This is vital so staff know what regulations to follow in order to ensure their safety.


Tick all of these boxes and you can be sure to avoid staffing-related issues at your event!


Name Tags

We get a lot of questions about name tags, both production and etiquette.  A recent reader asked, should we list Mr. and Mrs./Ms. on the name tags?

We think you can leave off the person's salutation, unless they are a Dr. or a military officer.  We expect to see Dr. First Name Last name.  For a PhD, list this after the persons name.

As a rule of thumb, make the first name (and the word Dr. in those cases) much larger than all other copy.  The last name can be slightly smaller, followed by the name of the company a couple spaces below.

I tend to leave off titles b/c there are so many different ways to list a title (Sr. Manager, Products vs. Sr. Product Manager vs. Senior Manager).  Who knows their preference? You are sure to get them incorrect on a few, and possibly offend an attendee.

Lastly, if this is a nice event expect the ladies will appreciate magnet backed name tags, rather than pins.

Happy planning.  (if you want more name tag tips simply type name tags in the search box on the left column).


Simple Cost Savings: Staff Meals

Event planners are always trying to shave the conference budgets, and in this economy every penny counts.

A small, but often frivolous expense can be found by reviewing a summary of your room service tab - you may find you have more than one Room Service Foodie on payroll. Staff, often exhausted, and vendors or speakers who are given permission to order food can create very large bills without meaning to do so. You've been there before - all you want to do is go back to your room at the end of a 16 hour day - not visit the hotel restaurant for 45 minutes.

Three simple solutions come to mind to lower this cost. A classy option is to provide generous gift baskets (or a "supply kits") that include crackers, cheese, fruit, granola bars, water bottles, and maybe wine in the rooms of those who are "on the tab".

Another option, provide your vendors/AV teams with the same meal as your four hundred guests. You can do this before the event starts or set up a staff room with several options, perhaps set as a buffet, in a pleasant "private room." They'll probably enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and the option to stop in that room for a quick bite/drink before heading up to bed.

You can also add your own health bars and candy to the staff break room, as well as provide plenty of pitchers of water (rather than $$ bottles) to save a few more dollars.

If you have 10-50 on staff, these little measures add up. Have other ideas? Please SHARE them on the new SHARE Section. Avoir.


Case Study: Simple Steps to a Greener Conference

Emily Holweck recently helped produce a three-day developers conference for one thousand attendees with a strong social and environmental conscience. In her heart, she does believe in the “Green Movement” therefore producing an event that produces less impact on the environment aligns her personal beliefs with work objectives. And there are a lot of other advantages to Going Green, including financial. Below is a short recap of the simple measures here team took to make a big impact. Thanks for sharing these great tips Emily.

This conference team came up with a very unique speaker gift. "When you organize a conference, you have to give a present to the speakers. The two last years, we gave a vase and also a candle holder.  It was a nice present BUT still it's very difficult to meet the taste of everybody."

"So we decided in 2008 to give money to the project SchoolsForAfrica.com on the behalf of each speaker. For each presentation, we gave $35 to the UNICEF Fund and we had...140 presentations ($4,900) and $15,000 from our sponsors. The speakers received a nice certificate, printed on a quality paper about the donation and they were very happy. They felt it was not a "crappy" present. We gave funding to build three schools in Malawi and changed the fate of thousand of kids. For Øredev, during Øredev, many speakers are coming by plane and I am thinking to give them a certificate that says we bought half a ton of CO2 for their trip. It's about the same amount of money."

The conference planners made simple choices to lessen the impact on the earth. For instance, "plates made of fallen banana leaves were a huge hit! Women loved it because they are beautiful. It was much nicer than ugly plastic or paper plates. We had cutlery and glasses made of cornstarch, after lunch and dinner, we could send everything to the compost! Of course, the best is to use real plates and not to throw anything but the reality of our work makes it impossible."

The conference also served organic food and coffee. “It's what goes through my body! So it's good for me.” Good for attendees. Good for the environment.

Collateral and Attendee Gifts were reused when possible. "We have a basic profile blue and white and each year, we have a different graphic theme. We use the graphic theme for what is printed on paper and Internet and cannott be re-used the year after. We use the basic profile (logo) for what we want to re-use the year after (branded products). We don't print any date on profile (collateral) products, so we can re-use them the year after. In 2006, we printed too many T-shirts and then in 2007, we had them and could not give them away... I think I still have them."

"We don't have give bad quality give aways. First because it's not good for our brand to be seen on poor quality products. Secondly it goes to the trash the day after the conference. We try to have useful give away. It's just a way of thinking quality!"

If you would like to contact Emily about other ways they made their conference more environmentally friendly or want to learn more about their experience with UNICEF she would be happy to talk with you at: .  Thanks for sharing your tips Emily and good luck at next year's event.