Planning Your Next Tech Event on a Budget

Planning a tech event requires a great deal of effort and forethought, but there are ways to make the task more manageable.  Creating a checklist for your particular event can make the process less intimidating.  By separating the preparation steps, you can either handle them one at a time or make progress in several steps simultaneously.  As your planning begins, focus on the big picture and leave the details for later.  It can be helpful to ask yourself the major questions that you will face at the beginning stages of event preparation.

Where is your event taking place? This is one of the first questions that will demand your attention as you plan your tech event.  If the location is not yet established, you should begin scouting the possibilities as soon as you can.  Finding the best setting can be difficult because you will need to have a rough idea of what your event will look like.  Will there be presentations or speeches?  Will participants need to split off into smaller groups?  How many people will attend?  The good news is that location scouting can give you a good idea of how your event will eventually turn out.  The location should have the space you need for people, equipment, and presentations.  Other considerations include price, cleanliness, and the proximity of restaurants and hotels.

One of the most important aspects of a tech event is, of course, technology.  It may also involve a good chunk of your budget.  Well in advance of the event, you should think about the types of equipment that will be necessary.  The final count may require input from presenters or attendees.  A lecture hall or auditorium is an example of a typical location.  For this example, basic equipment would include computers, a projector, a screen, microphones, and an audio deck.  Of course, these items come with an array of options, so you should pin down the exact equipment that you need.  Should your microphones be wireless?  What speaker size will be needed so everyone can hear?

Keep in mind that your event location may provide some of the equipment you need.  Other technology can easily be rented online.  If your event is being planned on a tight budget, online rental is the clear choice.  Online companies provide the best rates and are a great alternative to purchasing any necessary technology.  Computers, projectors, and audiovisual equipment are readily available for short or long term rentals.  Rental equipment can arrive as soon as the following day, or even the same day in major cities.  Again, it is wise to plan ahead, but this can be extremely handy in emergency situations.  A final tech check may reveal a problem or equipment may break down right before your event.  The availability of last minute rental equipment and the rental company’s support staff can be life savers.

As your tech event draws near, return to the location once you have final numbers on attendees, presentations, and equipment.  At this point, you want to visualize the event and plan how everything will take place.  Test any of the equipment that is available.  Think about ways to make the area comfortable, especially if attendees will be seated for a long period of time.

Check for cleanliness and accessibility, thinking particularly of any attendees who will need special accommodations.  If any presenters have expressed interest in seeing the location before the event, this would also be a good time for that.  Attend to any final details or decisions that were delayed.

At your event, try to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.  You should remain ready to handle problems that may arise, but remember that your planning should give you the satisfaction that you did everything possible to make your tech event a great one.

Author Bio: Vern Marker is a writer for a Rent a Computer company and frequently blogs about anything tech related.  When Vern is not writing, he loves to travel the world.  Follow him on Twitter@VernMarker.