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We've received proposals from a few venues, now they need to be sorted out. Which venue enables you to meet the objectives that you had in mind? which has the space for flexibility? If you will have staging needs and the event or conference has complex elements then discuss with your technical producer. This could save a lot of mis steps in the end.

To regress a bit, part of the ultimate selection, along with the technical producer's input is going back to the books.

Recently I queried the online listserv members in the MECO Group giving them a scenario of 300 people schoolroom style. what would be the space requirements. The answers varied widely. There were also suggestions as to where to find the right answer.

This is a critical event planning step.

There are several online space calculators to use, as well as resources from PCMA, The Convention Industry Council and MPI.

I recommend using one  of those to guide you. MPI's meeting Calculator is a little device that can be purchased at the MPI Bookstore. it's something that can be kept in your desk, purse or briefcase so you always have it. PCMA's "Professional. Meeting Management" book, has an entire chapter mon room setups and guidelines for space. The Convention Industry Council's Manual has an easy to read chart of "Function Room Setup Requirements."

It would not be easy to recommend one over the other, as they each have their merits. the books can be purchased at the PCMA or CIC Websites.

You could also Google "meeting room space specifications" and several sites will be suggested. One that seems quite good is

http://www.hotelplanner.com/Common/Popups/SpaceCalculator.cfm, suggested by  Gerald Howard, a MeCo member. it looks like a winner, too.

Honestly, there are so many other things to consider to be sure that. You've selected the right venue for your event, but I'd need to write a book, not a blog.

Let's assume that now you've selected a venue,  and therefore a date, let's consider two things. one is a timeline from now to the day of the event and two is the content and flow.

The timeline can begin with weekly benchmarks and as you ae closer to the event, possibly daily.

The Event Timeline should begin with the first vendor to arrive, continue to the beginning of the event, then the event minute by minute, the end and finally vendor load out.

Let's assume this is lunch event for 300 and there is a keynote speaker and 3 awards to be given, at least this is what we're told.

Why not query some of your colleagues, create a committee to get input. As so many use social media, create or have someone create a Facebook page just for your event. Create buzz through this. Ask your fans for feedback.You could discover some very creative ideas for those awards, help you narrow down keynote and speaker. In addition, you'll be building interest in the event and therefore attendance

There's much more, but that's for the next blog, where we'll talk about finding speakers and entertainment.

You'll note that I haven't discussed venue contracts. This is a huge topic and if you're new to this, get a professional who specializes in contracts and/or a lawyer that specializes in the hospitality industry.

So many people think that event planning is a glamorous industry and that anyone can plan or produce a meeting or an event because the really good professionals do such a good job that it looks easy. As you can see there's a lot more than calling a restaurant and making a dinner reservation!