About the rake of organizing IT events

    In this article, I would like to talk not only about the preparation and conduct of the presentation, but also about the organization of events in general. Many of us, at least once in our lives, need to organize an event of one scale or another, be it a meeting, a master class, a seminar or a presentation. The so-called event management firmly entered my life with the beginning of my career in an IT company : organizing events 3-5 times a year (from meetings of interface designers to seminars on digital libraries ), I compiled a checklist of the things that are necessary for this. I want to share it with the hawkers and help those in need not to step on the rake that is often found in this difficult but fascinating field of activity.

    In a compressed form, it looks like this:
    • Decide who our speakers and potential participants are, and also what, where and when the first will tell the second
    • Comprehensively and clearly write about the event on your site
    • Announce the event in the media and social networks, invite customers and partners
    • Open registration of participants in advance
    • Get presenter presentations and abstracts in advance
    • Provide stable Internet, sound, light, software and other equipment
    • Capture talks and discussions on video
    • Organize leisure activities after the event
    • After the event, write a letter of thanks to the participants and speakers
    • To familiarize with the materials of the event of those who could not take part in it
    • Create a detailed event report
    • Collect feedback and take into account all the mistakes in organizing the next event
    For details, tips and examples - under cat.

    Thanks in advance for the additions! I’ll add the most relevant to the article indicating authorship - you see, we’ll compile a universal guide for event organizers.

    Upd: supplemented the article with tips from the comments! Thanks for the help AndreiYemelianov , RGaifutdinov , mivanova , ollystar , Cancel , verbinka , mujaji .


    Many of the points may be captainly obvious, but experience shows that each of them is far from always taken into account. But at the same time, the fulfillment of these simple rules makes life easier for the organizers, speakers and participants. Many points may be missed, as the organization of events is a vast topic. And, I think, you should not focus on the specifics of each event, depending on a thousand and one criteria (fee, region, subject, number of participants, etc.).

    We need a plan!

    • Answer yourself the following questions: whom and why do I want to collect? What do they want to hear? Who can tell this clearly and interestingly? And if there are several target groups for which the event is designed, will it be interesting for one group to hear information for another? Be prepared that these questions can be asked by potential participants.
    • Think carefully about the date and time of the event. How many, for example, programmers will be at the first reports of the event, which starts at 9:00? How many people will come to you on a difficult day, Monday? Will working people want to spend their legal weekend on an event? Will those who come on business trips listen to reports in the summer, or put down travel stamps and immediately go for a walk?
    • If you plan to make the event paid, but do not know how to do it, here is the most simplified scheme
    • Check for events on similar topics these days. There is always a chance that they can be appointed after the announcement of the date of your event (intentionally or not), but there will be no excess reinsurance.
    • The choice of venue draws on a separate article. The main thing is that the map of the passage to it should not resemble a maze.

    Universal tips

    • Do not be afraid and do not be lazy to question and clarify - by negotiating rental of premises, booking accommodation for guests, discussing the composition and duration of reports with speakers and in all other cases. Due to misunderstandings and misunderstandings, many things can go awry. So, for example, once the landlord confused the time of the event and sent the installers of the equipment an hour later than necessary. Therefore, be sure to have an agreement with you (for coffee breaks, rental of premises, equipment). I usually play it safe and still print out correspondence with contractors by e-mail - it will be easier to confirm my case if something goes wrong.
    • Delegate the tasks of the organizing committee for large volumes of work: if you plan, for example, 200+ participants, then let two different people communicate with the participants and speakers.
    • By the way, regarding the organization of the to-do list: before the to-do sheet, you can draw a mindmap, since organizing an event in a hierarchy is more difficult ( verbinka advises ).
    • Think over bonuses and draws: to leave an event not only with a store of knowledge, but also with something useful is always pleasant. Both flash drive mugs and gift software licenses can be used (relevant for soft startups). We often ask participants to fill out questionnaires (with questions about how good and interesting it was, what else I would like to know and who to hear) and raffle prizes by drawing out random profiles.
    • Be prepared for unexpected questions. “Here you have four different hotels to choose from for your reservation, but what is the most beautiful view from the window?” - these are still flowers.
    • A lot of participants and speakers after the events ask for a list of participants with contact phones and e-mail. It’s logical that this is not worth doing: people who have provided their personal data will not say thank you.

    Declare Yourself

    • Announce the event as widely as possible. It offers thematic media, forums and blogs, news sites, Habrahabr, all social networks and thematic groups (communities) in them, microblogging and much more.
    • If the event is organized by a company, then sending out on a client base will be effective (we use our CRM system for this). True, as a result, there will still be dissatisfied people who will say, “Well, you had something interesting, but I didn’t know anything, so you didn’t say something” :-)
    • If you are engaged in a personal invitation of participants - for example, through MyKrug - remember the common truth: you need to invite those to whom your invitation may be necessary and interesting.

    We work with participants

    • The organizing committee of the event should be transparent (it should be clear who organizes it and why) and is accessible (the more communication options, the better - mail, phone, Skype, etc.).
    • I venture to fall into the field of usability, but: do not force people to search for information about the event on your site for a long and painful time. Save their time by hanging, for example, a nice banner on the main page of the site. The mobile version of the event website will also be useful (advises mujaji ).
    • Save your time - do, in addition to the basic information, something like a FAQ for the participants (and speakers, by the way) - is it possible to be late for the start, who will book the hotel, what is included in the handout, will they give a diploma for the participant, etc. True, this is an option for those who are able to read: in many cases, they will still call you and say “but you didn’t indicate”, even if it is indicated in very large letters. But be that as it may: “read on the site - everything is written there” - this is not the answer. Remember that the appearance of a new member is in your interests, even if for this you need to repeat the same thing for the hundredth time.
    • If you are constantly making any changes in the process of event preparation (the program is being approved, new speakers appear, the venue of the event is changing) - firstly, be sure to inform about it, and secondly, in ways convenient for people (sending by e-mail , updating news in a VKontakte meeting, etc.).
    • Open registration for the event in advance. If you have planned participants from other cities, remember - they need to approve a business trip with their superiors, allocate a budget for it and settle a lot of other things. For our events, for example, we open registration 2-6 months before the start.
    • If the event is large enough (300 or more participants), electronic accreditation saves from crowds of participants at the reception. It will be easier to work with badges, register participants without prior registration, keep a record of visitors, print photos on badges, etc. True, in this case, you need to take care of extra computers and a printer for printing badges (advises mujaji ).
    • When drawing up the registration form, do not forget about the item “How did you find out about the event”. Is it social networks, e-mail newsletter, or the most powerful weapon - word of mouth? In the future, this will help to choose the most effective channels for disseminating information about the event.
    • If you have time, a day or two before the start, ring the list of registered participants with a question whether they will be present tomorrow. According to my observations, the actual participants are, at best, 85% of those registered. Therefore, for example, you can safely put fewer chairs in the hall (so as not to spoil the impression with empty seats) and order / buy fewer products for a coffee break.
    • Carefully consider registering for the event - after all, this will be the very first impression of the participants. There will be no queues if several people are involved in registration. Do not forget about the handout (booklets, program and badges). By the way, about the badges: the font should be large and readable, and the organizers' badges should be highlighted in a different color (if there is no uniform).
    • If the event is more or less large-scale, try to negotiate with the hotels to provide discounts for your participants. Including if you rent a conference room at the hotel (advises mivanova ).
    • Take care of the leisure of the participants after the event - it’s not a secret to anyone that many come for communication on the sidelines after the official part. A variety of options can be used - from tea with cakes at the venue to a trip to the bar with the aim of sharing impressions of what you hear and see.
    • Prepare a program for nonresident / foreign participants. The organization of the tour, of course, depends on the budget and format of the event, but at least you need to be prepared to answer the question of what is interesting to see in the city in a short period of time.

    We work with speakers

    • As practice shows, an event moderator is needed and important. He must, firstly, strictly monitor compliance with the regulations, and secondly, direct the discussion from offtopic to the right track. And if there is no discussion, initiate it by asking the speaker several previously thought out questions. It follows that the moderator needs to be well versed in the subject area of ​​the event. Perhaps moderators will facilitate the work not only on the podium: listeners will feel more confident if a person who is ready to support the discussion will be present in the hall too (advised by RGaifutdinov and ollystar ).
    • The report grid may be shifted due to a large number of questions for the speaker and technical problems. Therefore, when compiling a program, it is better to take with time the reports and, accordingly, the lease of the hall.
    • It is highly advisable to get presentations and abstracts from speakers (whether they are invited speakers or employees of your company) in advance. Firstly, these materials can be adjusted if they deviate somewhat from the main theme of the event. Secondly, abstracts can be posted on the website or blog for discussion by future participants - this will help speakers make the report more interesting and informative.
    • New speakers, advises ollystar , it is better to choose from those speakers that you yourself saw live. Or, as an option, you can almost always find their performances on YouTube.
    • Give speakers the most complete information about the conditions of the event. What specialists and from which companies will be among the students? How much time is given for a speech and how much is for questions? What are the technical specifications of the projector in the hall?
    • If you are holding an event from the company and there are inexperienced speakers among your speakers, make them give a talk (it would be nice to do it more than once or twice) in front of a small friendly audience of colleagues and answer possible questions. On the night before the conference, do whatever you want to get enough sleep (including bedding) and have a fresh head and clear consciousness.
    • If you plan to publish a collection of abstracts of papers, you need the work of proofreaders / editors / translators, as well as checking the materials for uniqueness (advises AndreiYemelianov ).

    Technical stuff

    • In the context of Habrahabr, we are talking specifically about IT and near-IT events, which (ideally, but not always in practice) should have an impeccable technical side. At a minimum, working laptops, projectors and the Internet. And do not forget to check the sockets and take extension cords with you, recalls Cancel .
    • Internet - a) should be; b) should work stably. Firstly, speakers often need it when demonstrating web projects. Secondly, to the participants - many people want to be in touch 24/7, during the report look for additional information, share their impressions on social networks (do not forget to come up with a hashtag) and conduct a full-fledged broadcast (as, for example, a participant in our GUI Meetup did ) . If there are additional screens, you can run twijector.com with a hashtag, there will be an interactive broadcast. And then, where, without a check in place of the event and a bow on Instagram? :-)
    • Always have in your hands the coordinates of people who can quickly help with air conditioning, light, sound and video. It is very good if they will be in the hall. Check your rooms and your equipment 10 times, do not let the rooms be too hot or too cold (advises ollystar ).
    • A very useful thing is a clicker (remote for switching slides), it will be easier for the speaker not to be distracted and not to lose the expression and liveliness of the report (advises RGaifutdinov ).
    • Shoot all the speeches and all discussions in the video. This is a great help for organizers and speakers (to know what interests people), for participants (an opportunity to refresh interesting questions when they get back to work), and, of course, for those who could not participate.
    • It’s even embarrassing to talk about it, but: if you demonstrate any of your own development, everything should work without errors. When in the middle of the report the presented software crashes with execution, words like “an ideal tool for everyday work” or “help optimize processes” look unconvincing.


    • Write a detailed report on the event for the site and send out a press release to the media.
    • Write a letter to the participants and speakers with thanks for participating in the event. Do not forget about the links to the event report, photos, videos, speaker presentations and other event materials.
    • Ask participants to write a couple of lines with reviews. True, there will most likely be no criticism (in my memory only one participant - hello, junk ! - sent a critical, but constructive letter, since he was involved in organizing events). For feedback you can safely go to social networks and monitor opinions there.
    • Write a letter to those who registered for the event, but could not take part: links to the event report and videos will be useful.
    • If in the future you need to provide detailed information about the event (to current and potential sponsors, speakers), I highly recommend compiling a report that is somewhat similar to the annual report of the company. There should be a full description of the event, its program, information about the speakers, the composition of the participants (companies, geography, positions, areas of activity), handouts, and, of course, the budget.
    All further work should be coordinated with the purpose of the event (selling seminar - the sales department enters the game, presentation of the software - user reviews go to project managers and the developer, and so on).

    Question to the organizers: What are the main to do you brought to yourself when organizing events?

    Question to the participants: what makes you most happy / annoying when participating in events? What is missing?

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