If you are the lead person overseeing an event it’s important to recognize that room set up can make or break your event. And the place to start in order to ensure a successful set up is with solid communication.

Solid communication requires great listening skills, lots of note taking, attention to body language and verbal tones, accepting and providing constructive feedback, and continued pursuit of the best.

Let me ask you, have you ever been around an event where you walked into the room and the setup was wrong, not ready in time, or perhaps a few pieces were missing? In order to make sure this doesn’t happen at your event, good communication is a must.

There are several people involved in planning and executing an event.

Here is the communication chain:
Event Chair → Event Manager → Key Venue Contact → Banquet Manager → Service Staff

As you can imagine, with this many people involved, details can get lost in the shuffle and it is the little details that make the client’s event…well…their own!

If you want the right set up communication needs to happen all the way through.

1. Create a standard “event checklist” – this is a great tool to use when meeting with your planning group. This checklist will make sure that the details get captured every time and can be used for all events. This list will differ a bit from event to event but should include a series of “questions” that the event chair can discuss with the event manager and then easily pass along to the venue. Example: name of event, date, location, timelines, number of guests, budget, A/V requirements, setup, speakers, travel arrangements, and so on.

2. At the venue, a Banquet Event Order (BEO) will be created. The details from the above checklist will be passed on to the venue from the event chair and event manager. The BEO is what the banquet manager will use on the day of to execute the event. If something isn’t on the BEO, it’s not going to take place at the event.

3. The floor plan is an important piece of information that needs to be accurate to guarantee proper set up. Sometimes several drafts are done up – make sure the setup is taken from the most current version

Along with following the BEO and floor plan, here are some other tips to ensure a great room set up that will be appreciated by the event chair and the attendees:

• Tables should be set up so that guests and staff can move around them freely.

• Linens and chair covers should be clean with the linens evenly placed on the table (not longer on one side than the other). Make sure it looks good from all angles (I prefer when the linens go to the ground and cover all legs).

• Table number cards should face the entrance of the room with easy sightlines so that guests can find their tables quickly.

• Having an experienced staff person set up a “sample table or setting” to ensure consistency.

• Chairs should “kiss” the table cloth and not be pushed in so that they compromise the flow and the look of the linens.

• Floors and carpets should always be vacuumed before guests arrive – no one wants to see what the last event had for dinner.

• Once the room is completely set, have a few staff do a visual “once over” of the room making sure nothing was forgotten and that everything is tidy, as well as a final check against your checklist, the BEO, and the floor plan

In most cases an event chair has worked on an event for a very long time. They want to know that when they walk in the room that everyone had been “listening” and that all the details were executed exactly how they had hoped – perhaps even exceeding their expectations.

When all is said and done, we all want a satisfied event chair willing to volunteer their time again.

Solid communication will keep your event chairs happy and returning year after year.