Conference planning


Borrow your event décor!

The Fulton Engineering Dean’s office events team has linens and décor items available for loan to others in Engineering.

Engineering Events Inventory



When engaging speakers, artists or performers for an ASU event, the committee must complete one of the following before the event:

Additional information and detailed steps are available in ASU’s Engaging Speakers, Artists and Performers how-to guide.

The committee may recruit the relevant speakers or may choose to call for papers to be presented. If the committee is recruiting the speakers, research who has spoken on the topic of choice or at similar events. Compile a list of potential speakers, make sure to include some that will draw crowds to the conference.

If looking for speakers within the university, but you are not sure where to turn, contact Media Relations at the Office of Public Affairs. They keep a list of ASU faculty and staff members from across ASU that are available as speakers.

Determine what kinds of payment or honorarium can be offered to the speakers and what part of the travel cost is available in the budget. Establish if the committee is booking and paying for flights, meals and hotel or if speakers are going to be reimbursed for these and if so, communicate the maximum amount that will be reimbursed. Be sure to include all the expected events that the committee is planning for the speaker, including lecture, receptions, any meals with deans, faculty and students, student sessions, book signings, media interviews, etc. Include information on any recording or livestreaming on the internet. Ask speakers to complete a release form before recording starts. It is easiest to do this in the very beginning when you confirm the speakers, so they are not surprised by the request. 

You will need to coordinate local travel to/from the hotel, to/from meals and around campus, so plan this out in detail in advance. The keynote speakers should be escorted everywhere by a knowledgeable and professional representative. Be careful not to pack their schedule too full, provide plenty of bottled water throughout the day (a stocked cooler in the golf cart is a good idea) and check in with them regularly to see if they need anything.

If calling for papers, the committee needs to develop the submissions process and set up selection criteria and define the format you are seeking, (abstracts, extended abstracts or papers). Make sure to include clear directions in the submission process on expectation including anti-plagiarism statements and copyrights.

When speakers are confirmed, check the original plan against the lineup. Are the topics covering all the goals in the agenda? Collect bios and photos of the speakers for the website. Confirm all AV needs including sound and video. Check if the presenter needs something more than just the usual projector, screen and sound system. Gather information on the presenters for meals and other planning-related information. Let presenters know if they are expected to register for the conference through the registration site or if you are going to collect their information and add it into the system.

Example of information to provide speakers

  • Date and time.
  • Location with address and directions to the conference event they are expected to speak at and attend.
  • Parking information.
  • The contact person and cell phone number for the person assigned to meet the speaker when they arrive.
  • Detailed itinerary including time, order of speakers and where they can rest before and after the talk.
  • The emcee who will introduce them.
  • How long they are expected to present.
  • The cue that they will get if they need to wrap up or if they are going over their allowed time.
  • How long they need to be present at the event (the whole event or just during the presentations).
  • List of available audiovisual equipment in the room.
  • Any special equipment or audiovisual needs.
  • Whether or not a question and answer series is expected.
  • Location of nearest restrooms to the presenter’s room.

Registration (online)

Stova is the approved platform for registrations for events and conferences by ASU. If you do not already have an Stova account, you will need to first start by submitting a request for an account.

This is a very important part of the gathering of information about the attendees. Cover all aspects of registration when finalizing the registration site, including questions on dietary needs and a cancellation policy. Include questions on an emergency contact for each attendee so if something should happen during the conference you have someone to notify and/or ask questions to assist an attendee medically if needed. Include info for attendees with accessibility requirements and list a contact for questions for those who may need it. Include a photo release in your registration.

Stova has a selection of questions to include in the registration as well as options to customize questions for the conference. Think about having a special rate for speakers, sponsors or special guests by using a promo code. Consider asking the attendees if they want the conference welcome package or not. This helps to order only as many as are needed to avoid wasting money on items that the attendees will not be interested in.

For registered participants’ confirmation, consider including a map, transportation options and schedule of events.

Poster sessions

If the conference has a poster session, have clear information on size and shape (horizontal/vertical) posters that are accepted. This will help manage the size of the poster display wall.

Plan ahead on how to mount the posters. Most attendees traveling to the conference will bring their posters in rolled up tubes. Therefore, it is not ideal to hang posters on easels as there is no hard backing on the posters.
Consider renting poster display boards — they will create a nicer look and they are much easier to organize than utilizing easels. Keep in mind that displays may be reused at other conferences, so avoid utilizing display boards that puncture holes in the posters to hang them.

Poster sessions may take much more space than anticipated because the poster session walls need certain space around them for egress and safety. Make sure to map out the space and determine early on the plan for hanging up the posters and how much space the poster walls need.

See Poster Stands/Convention and Trade-show Supplies under Rentals in the vendor list for ideas on companies that offer poster display boards.

Map out the poster session by subject or other category that makes sense to the topics displayed. Assign each attendee a number. When the poster session wall has been set up, add the numbers according to the assigned locations. Set up a check-in table by the poster session area where attendees can check in. Assign volunteers to help those displaying posters locate their assigned spot during the setup time.

Trade show or exhibits

Many conferences feature an exhibition area or convention floor where sponsors and vendors rent space to promote their products. For this you need a large space that can accommodate multiple sponsors and vendors. Determine how many can be accommodated in the space you selected. Choose the sizes of each area if they are not all the same size. Define what is included in each exhibit area, such as pipe and drape, set number of tables with skirting and chairs, etc. Create a good diagram to determine how best to arrange the booths while keeping plenty of space for people to maneuver.

Those showcasing at the exhibit will pay a fee for the space and equipment. The more prominent the location, the higher the fee that can be charged for the space. Exhibitors also pay for additional tables, electric access, audiovisual equipment or other equipment not included in the standard package. These upgrades can be marked up to provide more revenue for the conference, if needed. Provide security to ensure the safety of materials located in the exhibit hall.

Provide the exhibitors with the following at registration:

  • Exhibitor badges.
  • Map of the conference exhibit hall with booth numbers listed and nearest
  • restrooms and food vendors.
  • Manuals for exhibit booth set-up and tear-down times.
  • List of on-site vendors available to assist with exhibit rentals and services.