Dear Darla: A Guide To Great Events

Dear Darla

D-Tails: Fact Finding Fundamentals… for planning any meeting or event.

Dear Darla

Dear Darla,
I’m an executive admin with a million details already on my workday plate. Now they want me to plan a really important meeting for next quarter, and I have no idea where to start. I feel like I need some super powers to pull this off!
Doubtful in Downtown

Dear Doubtful,
Fear not! You need not be Wonder Woman to plan a magnificent meeting! We all know that D-tails are important but delving into D-tails without proper preparation would be like hitting ‘send’ before you type a text message. Sure, your recipient’s phone will ping in anticipation, but disappointingly (and frustratingly) there will be no substance there.

So, let’s take a step back, and start with proper preliminaries. Sticking with our text analogy; you want to have a few questions answered before you send a text, like “to whom am I writing?” “What do I want to say?” “What is the best way to say it?” “Is now the right time to send this?” “Do I expect a reply?” “Are there any typos?” and so forth…all this should occur before a single thumb hits the virtual keypad on your phone. Planning a great meeting or event requires the same process before a ‘guaranteed-to-make-a great-event’ checklist can be created.

No matter how experienced (or inexperienced) a planner you may be you must begin at the beginning with a host of questions. Once those are answered you will have created a kind of road map. Only then, with your destination now clearly D-fined, you can D-velop your D-tailed Checklist to get you there. But, first things first.


Q for U:

  1. What are the meeting (event) goals and objectives?
    1. Product Launch?
    2. Sales Kickoff?
    3. Team Building?
    4. Global Conference?
  2. What is the budget?
    1. Will there be registration fees?
    2. Travel costs?
    3. Speaker or entertainment fee?
  3. What are possible dates/Times?
    1. Year?
    2. Month?
    3. Week?
    4. Day?
    5. Hours? All day? Morning? Lunch? Evening?
  4. How much space do I need?
    1. Who is attending?
    2. How many?
  5. What type of space do I need?
    1. Do I need General Session space? (refer to #1)
    2. Breakout space (Refer to #1)
    3. Inside? Outside? (Refer to #1)
    4. Classroom? (Refer to #1)
  6. Related to #5:
    1. Do I need A/V equipment? If so, what kind and how much?
    2. Is parking a factor?
    3. In house or remote?
    4. Is travel a factor?


  7. Will I need to provide food and/or beverages?
    1. How many meals need to be provided?
    2. What type of beverage service is needed?
  8. Will there be speakers, presenters or entertainment?
    1. Who is mandatory?
    2. Who is discretionary?
    3. Budget?
  9. Which top 2 or 3 venues meet all my criteria?
    1. Can the basics be determined from website or phone call?
    2. Can a preliminary proposal be requested to narrow down options?
  10. Do I have all the information I need to put together a comprehensive D-tail list?
    1. Any other info that is needed?
    2. Any other unique challenges for this event that should be considered?

Armed with answers to the above questions, next month we will delve into steps for taking your hard won information and generating an effective D-tailed checklist, that will ensure your meeting comes together smoothly and your attendees are D-lighted!!!

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”
Darla-ism #172