10 tips for planning a successful event at HEC Montréal

Planning an event can be a long, drawn-out process with a few hurdles along the way. These tips will help you approach it with confidence.

Set specific objectives

Why do you want to plan an event? Plan a meeting with the main stakeholders.

  • You will identify the fundamental objective of the event and define the strategies, format, etc.
  • You will discuss the available budget.
  • You will determine if the activity draws interest in the media.

Define the target audience and the themes

We do not use the same language when addressing staff or faculty, students, and external clients. See which audiences to reach, and whether they can be brought together.

Also define the event theme:

  • A good topic and title are often the key to success.
  • Do not choose a trendy theme that is already being addressed at many other conferences.
  • Try to discern which topics are likely to become more prominent.

Choose the right date for the event

It is important to choose the right date that can work for the greatest number of people.

  • Do members of the school’s Executive Committee need to attend? Contact their administrative offices right away to make sure they are available.
  • Make sure that a similar activity is not being held at HEC Montréal around the same time.
  • Avoid planning an event on the weekend. HEC Montréal’s services are reduced and there are significant additional fees.

Periods and dates to exclude or avoid:

  • Mondays and Fridays (these days are not ideal for organizing an event)
  • Exam periods, school breaks, reading week, and holidays. See the academic calendar
  • Dates of major sporting events (NHL series, Superbowl, Grey Cup, etc.)
  • Dates of main religious holidays.

Reserve the room(s) you need as soon as possible

Form a planning team

You may need to form a team to help plan the event.

  • Choose the team members. Inform them about the expectations and the event planning.
  • Create a control list to follow all the event planning steps. Include all your needs: speakers, room layout, graphic production, writing, media, publicity, food service, decorations, coat check, etc.
  • Divvy up the tasks. Only assign one person to each task.
  • Designate one person to coordinate service requests (room layout, audiovisual, catering, etc.).
  • Plan regular meetings to track progress on the tasks.
  • Prepare a document showing who is doing what on the day of the event. This will keep you from forgetting anything.

Carefully plan the logistics

Depending on the level of importance of the event:

  • Plan a meeting with all persons involved in the event to discuss the preliminary arrangements.
  • Hold individual meetings with the heads of the main services that will contribute to the activity: Coop HEC Montréal, Audiovisual Department, Office of Communications and Government Relations, etc.
  • Outline your preparations so that you can make decisions as early as possible.
  • Make sure your team has enough time to write speeches and presentations, have them translated, send out invitations, etc. Make sure the related fees are within your budget.
  • Make sure that special guests or members or media are not forgotten or left out. If a dignitary is attending an activity, you must advise the Office of Communications and Government Relations by emailing communications@hec.ca. A member of the Executive Committee will come say hello to them.
  • You or the members of your team must be on site early enough to make sure everything is in place and make any necessary changes.

Make a budget

Make sure to plan for fees for some HEC Montréal services. Contact the providers to get more information before making a request.

There may also be external fees.

  • Coop HEC Montréal: catering service and prepaid parking spots
  • Writing, translation, interpretation
  • News wire
  • Photography
  • Furniture or decoration rental
  • Hosting
  • Travel expenses

Work on your invitations

  • It is best to send invitations by email.
  • Always use the “Bcc” address field to keep recipient addresses confidential.
  • If possible, use the contact management tools to follow up on invitations.

When to send invitations

  • For an international event: 2 years in advance
  • For an event outside HEC Montréal: 1 month in advance
  • For an internal event: 2 to 3 weeks in advance

Plan for these things

  • Ask for a confirmation of attendance.
  • Send out a reminder 1 week before the event and another the day before.
  • If you want to provide food, add the following note: Please inform us of any food allergies.

Hold a rehearsal if necessary

Hold it a few days before the event to go over the final technical details with the main participants.

  • Check to make sure the main participants who have confirmed their attendance know their role and what time they will be presenting.
  • Make sure you have all the necessary material: badges, guest list, coat check tickets, etc.
  • Test the presentations, videos, and internet links.

Conduct a post-event review

  • Put a feedback form online or send it to the attendees.
  • Send PDFs of presentations given during the event.
  • Publish photos or videos from the event on your social media platforms. During the activity, you will have asked participants to sign a form consenting to the use and publication of their image. You also will have placed a visible notice in the entrance of the room where the event was held.
  • Write an email thanking everyone who worked on the event.
  • Conduct a post-mortem of the activity with the planning committee. This report should contain all the information needed to improve your event management in the future. Notify the services involved in the activity if the comments concern them.

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