With You All the Way

by Sharron Campbell,

Certified Meeting Professional, 30 years experience

Writing specifications of set-up needs for meetings and events 

Checklists, Timelines, Contracts, Invoices -
To pull everything together, refer to the checklists and timelines you have been using throughout your planning process, the contracts that have been signed, and the earlier space specifications that were created.  It will be extremely helpful if you also have copies of contracts, invoices and banquet event orders from similar events your organization produced in the past for easy reference when you are ready to begin preparing your detailed setup specifications. 

Final Function Specifications -
A preliminary set of meeting and function specifications giving a general outline of your program and the space needed for it should have been prepared and distributed during the site selection process.   If so, you have a tremendous head start already and that is a very good thing!  You can use much of the same information and possibly the same format when finalizing the detailed setup specifications for distribution to your vendors and service providers within the final 30 days before your event.

If the program is uncomplicated and does not require multiple setups throughout each day, the specs may be contained in a one- or two-page version.  But, if the program is complex with multiple setups and changes in various rooms or space during the course of any day, it is recommended that specs for each activity be created on separate pages for more clarity and easier reference.  Functions specifications for large conferences and conventions can fill a binder that is often referred to as an "Operations Manual" or something just as significant!  It can be a lifesaver to have it on hand with signed copies of function specs and banquet event orders when you are on-site.   

Include in your specs -

Main Heading -

  • Name of the group
  • Title of Meeting, Conference, Event, Function
  • Day / Date / Year
  • Number of attendees expected

Sub-headings with start-end times for each area to be setup such as - 

  • Seating type and placement
  • Electrical requirements
  • Equipment needs
  • Telephone hookup 
  • Electrical requirements 
  • Audio Visual requirements
  • Food and beverage station setup
  • Banner and signage placements
  • Guest comfort (lighting, temperature, noise control)

Attach an informal diagram of your proposed layout -

Notes section - 

  • Special requests
  • Questions still pending 
  • Items or concerns for discussion
  • Reference to attached setup diagrams
  • Room or space temperature, lighting, noise
  • Menu items to be submitted separately
  • Vendor list for access purposes

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 bluebullet  Sample function specifications with diagram of meeting room set-up (PDF)
 bluebullet  Seating type illustrations
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