How to Plan and Run an Event

Venue Search

The agency that we use to assist us in finding venues nationwide is Brief2event. They are also able to book accommodation for delegates at competitive rates.

Our contact there is Becky Jefferey


tel: 01202 400850


We try to use university facilities wherever possible as venue hire tends to be very low.


When searching for a venue we bear in mind the following factors:

Check list for site visit

  • Rate based on DDR (daily delegate rate) or venue hire?
  • Capacity of rooms (e.g. theatre, classroom, boardroom, cabaret) 
  • Audio Visual equipment – what is included, (screen, projector, lectern, microphones – hand held, roving, lapel, etc) can it be recorded? How much for additional equipment?
  • Catering – what is included (3 x tea and coffee break? Lunch?)
  • Exhibition/catering space – is there room for all delegates? Will exhibitors have exposure to delegates i.e are the catering stations near the exhibition stands?
  • Where is the main conference room in comparison to break out rooms/catering/registration?
  • Health & Safety – any first aiders on site?
  • Fire exits
  • No. of toilets
  • Natural day light
  • Access (lift/stairs?)
  • Location – near good transport links?
  • Does the venue and rooms being booked have wi-fi so attendees can create online buzz whilst at your event. 



We add all our events to the website and provide: date, start and end time, location (with map), price, booking details, social media links.

If you have an event on a particular topic that is similar to one of ours and would like us to promote it alongside our marketing activity then please contact the Head of Membership Communities. To find out what events we are running and when, refer to the IoF website.



It is anticipated that a fully automated booking system, linked to the IoF database, will be rolled out in the latter part of 2012/early 2013. Currently, however, IoF is able to set up an Eventbrite booking facility for Groups to manage their event bookings online. Groups wishing to use this facility should contact the Head of Membership Communities.

We suggest that you implement T&Cs for your events to prevent people from being able to cancel their booking close to the event.

Regional venues and local knowledge

We have created a venue bank template so that you can input your venues from your search for future reference.



We recommend that when you have secured a speaker you send out a speaker confirmation email to all speakers and receive confirmation back.

Approximately 4 weeks before the event we email speaker confirmation 2 confirming the title and time of their session and request presentations, biographies and photos and set a deadline for when we need these by.

We also request that speakers arrive in the break before their session so they have time to look over their presentation and to provide us with their mobile phone number so that we are able to contact them on the day of the event.

Finally we send them a copy of the up-to-date programme and a map and directions to the venue.



Where possible we provisionally hold a venue for as long as possible before signing a contract. Before signing the contract it is important to read the cancellation policy and T&Cs and be aware of minimum numbers. Where necessary we negotiate the T&Cs by reducing the minimum numbers and extending the cancellation notice period. It is important to take note of the last date that the contract can be cancelled before incurring a charge. At the point at which this date is approaching we monitor bookings and make a decision as to whether the event should be cancelled.

If we decide to cancel an event within the time period that a charge will be incurred we will negotiate with the venue to see if it is possible to transfer the booking to another date.

If accommodation is included in the venue booking it is important that the date at which final numbers need to be confirmed is as late as possible. We try to negotiate this to 2 weeks prior to the event.


Health and Safety

We strongly advise that a risk assessment form is completed before each event. It is important when using suppliers, such as Audio Visual companies, that you ask for a copy of their health and safety documents and public liability. If, for example, an exhibitor is providing food on their stand, you will need to ask them to sign a waiver.


We also advise that you distribute Health and Safety Guidelines to all staff attending the event.


Delegate Communication

A Booking Confirmation is sent out via email after each booking is made. We then send Joining instructions out to all delegates two weeks prior to the event. After the event we send a thank you email and send out the presentations from the conference.


Creating an ‘IoF’ experience

We try to ensure that we get the right level of brand presence in the run up to and during all events. We have developed our branding so that each ‘branch’ of the IoF (such as Events, Membership, Academy) can be identified by a different colour without taking away from the IoF’s current identity.

Events will now be identified by the colour green. You can find out more information from our branding guidelines.

To ensure that we have an IoF presence at our events we have various types of branded collateral. At conferences we have 2 generic IoF conference pop up stands (1x in the entrance to the venue and 1x on the stage behind the lectern). We also have an Academy pop up stand that is set up by the Academy stand in the catering area. We also have a table cloth for the registration area, top table and IoF stand.

If you would like to order any pop up stands or table cloths please contact the Head of Membership Communities.

At every conference we have an IoF stand. On the stand we have literature about IoF Membership, Academy and future IoF events. If you would like to send any literature to be added to the stand please contact the Head of Membership communities.

We have an IoF powerpoint slide that we use as a holding slide at the start of the conference and during the breaks. If we have a sponsor we also add their logo to the slide.



We use 90 x 60 croc and pin badges and have branded badge paper made to print on to. Please contact the Head of Membership Communities if you would like to order some badge paper.

We use font size 12 to ensure that names can be read easily. On the badge we provide the following information: Name, Job title, Organisation and delegate type (Speaker, Sponsor, Exhibitor, Delegate, IoF Member).


Delegate packs (conferences)

Our conference delegate pack consists of a brief description of the event, schedule of the day and speaker biographies. If there are exhibitors/sponsors at the event we add in a exhibitor/sponsor listing. At the end we suggest you add in a Personal Learning Summary.


Evaluation form

It is important to receive feedback from all events to help with the planning of future events. We are currently in the process of reviewing our evaluation process however at the moment we use paper evaluation forms and manually collate the data.


Speaker scores

To work out speaker scores we use the below formula:

The below table shows the average score for a speaker where there are 20 evaluation forms. Two delegates have scored the speaker as poor, four people have scored the speaker as OK, four people have scored the speaker as good and ten people have people have scored the speaker as Excellent.



Poor = 1

OK = 2

Good = 3

Excellent = 4


No. of scores per rating





2 + 4 +4 + 10 = 20

No of scores x rating

2 x 1 = 2

4 x 2 = 8

4 x 3 = 12

10 x 4 = 40

2 + 8 + 12 + 40 = 62






62/20 = 3.1


Delegate List

We print delegate lists for all events. Delegate lists are set out with name, surname, job title and organisation. The list is sorted alphabetically by surname.

Again IoF branding guidelines must be followed on all printed materials. All text should be Verdana.


Social Media

Promote your event using social media

Social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are great tools to help spread the word about your event. They're free to use and can help you reach large networks of people who may be interested in your event quickly.

Ways to use social media to promote your event:

1. Create event listings on LinkedIn and Facebook

To increase awareness of your event, create free event listings on LinkedIn and/or Facebook. Although attendees will still have to purchase tickets on your website, it’s a good way to let attendees share that they’re attending and see who else is going to your event.

2. Select a hashtag for the event that is uniquely yours

A Twitter hashtag helps unite the people talking about your event. To avoid confusion, choose a hashtag that is uniquely yours by researching hashtags on Twitter’s internal search engine, which is available at Throughout the day encourage people to share their experience of the event on social media. 

3. Create a template of tweets for speakers & sponsors

Make it easy for your speakers and sponsors to tweet about your event. After confirming their participation, send them a list of suggested tweets to use. Be sure to include your event’s official hashtag and suggested link to your registration page in each tweet.

4. Create public Twitter lists of your speakers, sponsors & attendees

Help attendees find each other and acknowledge both your speakers and sponsors by creating public Twitter lists. This also makes it easy for non-attendees to follow along.

5. Create a LinkedIn group or sub-group for your event’s attendees

Encourage attendees to network ahead of the event through a LinkedIn group or sub-group. Plan to use the group to get feedback for what they’d like to see at the event, to take questions for the moderator and to follow up after the event.

On the day:

We recommend that you confirm with the venue the day before the event that all your items have arrived.

Arrive in plenty of time. We follow the below check list:

  • Set up badges in alphabetical order
  • Set up pop up stands and table cloths
  • Make sure expo stands are in a good location near catering points
  • Count the number of chairs
  • Put out evaluation forms
  • Check the temperature of the room
  • Check break timings with venue staff
  • Load presentations
  • Sound check
  • Welcome speakers – tick off as arrive
  • Welcome sponsors/exhibitors and show to stand
  • Mark off no shows against delegate list


Post event:

After the event we send out an email to all delegates that attended to say thank you and provide them with a link to the presentations from the day.