How To Create an Attractive Event Agenda for Your Attendees

How To Create an Attractive Event Agenda for Your Attendees

Event Planning
September 21, 2022

Written by:

Mike Khorev

Creating an event agenda can be a daunting task, especially for first-timers that don’t know where to start.

However, having a well-written event agenda is one of the key factors in ensuring an event’s success. It will especially help in event logistics to keep your resource usage on track. On the other hand, it can also help event planners in ensuring optimal attendee experience.

So, how can you do it?

Here in this article, we will discuss all you need to know about how to create an attractive event agenda.

Event Agenda: What To Include

The key to creating a perfect event agenda is to find the right balance between being informative and engaging. It shouldn’t overwhelm attendees and team members with too many unnecessary details.

Overall, make sure to only include the information that will add value to the attendee’s experience, and not more.

Remember that if they need more information, they can visit your website or social profiles. So, you don’t have to include too much information on the agenda and make it too cluttered.

When planning an event agenda, it’s crucial to consider diversity between different activities to keep attendees engaged throughout the whole schedule. Thus, the event agenda should consist of different types of activities, including:

  • Knowledge sessions: like keynote speaking sessions, seminars, webinars, and so on.
  • Networking dynamics:  networking opportunities like gala dinners, cocktail parties, 1-on-1 networking sessions on virtual events, and so on.
  • Breaks:  pretty self-explanatory, include breaks between events to give attendees a chance to recharge.
  • Social activities: board games, interactive Q&A, quizzes, home tours during virtual events, etc.
  • Workshops: a relatively long and interactive activity session 
  • Entertainment: band, singer, comedy shows, etc.

The actual event agenda can vary depending on the unique nuances surrounding your event. However, any ideal event agenda should include:

1. Top-level event details: name, date, venue 

Pretty self-explanatory; make sure your event’s name and date are easily noticeable on the event program.

  • If it’s an in-person event, include the venue name and address.
  • If it’s a virtual event, communicate this fact clearly in the event program. Include a QR code or other means the attendees can join the virtual event platform.

Typically these pieces of information should have the largest font and should be emphasized on the front page (if the program has multiple pages.)

2. Company information

At the very least, you should let your attendees know the company/event organizer behind the event and include your company’s website and social profiles. Depending on the type of event you’re hosting and the space available on the program, you can add your company’s vision of the event, its objectives, and other relevant information.

3. Photos and images

It’s no secret that visuals speak much louder than words, and with the limited space you have on the event program, you’ll have to choose the photos and images you’d like to include carefully.

Make sure the photos, images, and infographics you include are high quality, attractive, and aligned well with your event’s theme and overall aesthetics. With the fact that photos and images will play a great part in determining the overall tone of your event, you should pay extra attention to this imagery department.

4. Event schedule

Depending on the amount of space available on the event program, you may be able to squeeze in your event’s full schedule or just a shortened version of it.

Either way, make sure the event agenda is polished and attractive and structure it well by day (if it’s a multi-day event), session, and timing. Make sure it’s easy to understand and engaging for your audience.

This should be the most important part of your event program, so make sure you invest enough time and resources to polish this part.

 5. Description of sessions and activities

Depending on the space available, you can add a brief description of each activity/session at the event, including breakout sessions. The purpose of this section is to help your attendees choose which activity to attend and to set their expectations for each activity they’d participate in. 

6. Map of your venue

This is not a must-have item in your event program, and if your program has limited space for a map or if you are hosting a virtual event, by all means, you can skip this.

However, if your event is going to span multiple rooms in the venue, then adding a map to your event program can be a nice addition. Of course, you’ll still need to plaster printed maps on various parts of the venue, but this map on the event program can provide more convenience for your attendees, knowing that they have access to the map at all times.

Make sure the map is easy to understand and well-designed, and you can label or color-code the different rooms as needed. 

7. Sponsors, VIPS, and key partners

If you have spare space in your program’s layout, you can add logos of your sponsors and partners, as well as mention the VIPs who are going to attend the event. 

8. Contact information

Add an emergency phone number on the event program, as well as other relevant contact information. This way, your attendees can easily access this contact information whenever they are in any emergency, including unexpected accidents and medical emergencies during the event. 

9. FAQs

Another optional section that you can add if you still have spare space and can help ease the burden of your event staff. Including a FAQ section allows them not to waste valuable time answering repetitive questions. 

Consider adding a FAQ section if your event is relatively complex, especially if you’ve received a lot of questions during registrations. If you decide to add a FAQ section, however, only include questions that will help your attendees during their attendance to make sure this section is relevant.

How to Make Your Event Agenda Attractive

1. Be mindful of your time frames

Overall, make sure to only include the information that will add value to the attendee’s experience, and not more.

Remember that if they need more information, they can visit your website or social profiles. So, you don’t have to include too much information on the agenda and make it too cluttered.

When planning an event agenda, it’s crucial to consider diversity between different activities to keep attendees engaged throughout the whole schedule. Thus, the event agenda should consist of different types of activities, including:

  • Knowledge sessions: like keynote speaking sessions, seminars, webinars, and so on.
  • Networking dynamics:  networking opportunities like gala dinners, cocktail parties, 1-on-1 networking sessions on virtual events, and so on.
  • Breaks:  pretty self-explanatory, include breaks between events to give attendees a chance to recharge.
  • Social activities: board games, interactive Q&A, quizzes, home tours during virtual events, etc.
  • Workshops: a relatively long and interactive activity session 
  • Entertainment: band, singer, comedy shows, etc.

The actual event agenda can vary depending on the unique nuances surrounding your event. However, any ideal event agenda should include:

1. Top-level event details: name, date, venue 

Pretty self-explanatory; make sure your event’s name and date are easily noticeable on the event program.

  • If it’s an in-person event, include the venue name and address.
  • If it’s a virtual event, communicate this fact clearly in the event program. Include a QR code or other means the attendees can join the virtual event platform.

Typically these pieces of information should have the largest font and should be emphasized on the front page (if the program has multiple pages.)

2. Company information

At the very least, you should let your attendees know the company/event organizer behind the event and include your company’s website and social profiles. Depending on the type of event you’re hosting and the space available on the program, you can add your company’s vision of the event, its objectives, and other relevant information.

3. Photos and images

It’s no secret that visuals speak much louder than words, and with the limited space you have on the event program, you’ll have to choose the photos and images you’d like to include carefully.

Make sure the photos, images, and infographics you include are high quality, attractive, and aligned well with your event’s theme and overall aesthetics. With the fact that photos and images will play a great part in determining the overall tone of your event, you should pay extra attention to this imagery department.

4. Event schedule

Depending on the amount of space available on the event program, you may be able to squeeze in your event’s full schedule or just a shortened version of it.

Either way, make sure the event agenda is polished and attractive and structure it well by day (if it’s a multi-day event), session, and timing. Make sure it’s easy to understand and engaging for your audience.

This should be the most important part of your event program, so make sure you invest enough time and resources to polish this part.

 5. Description of sessions and activities

Depending on the space available, you can add a brief description of each activity/session at the event, including breakout sessions. The purpose of this section is to help your attendees choose which activity to attend and to set their expectations for each activity they’d participate in. 

6. Map of your venue

This is not a must-have item in your event program, and if your program has limited space for a map or if you are hosting a virtual event, by all means, you can skip this.

However, if your event is going to span multiple rooms in the venue, then adding a map to your event program can be a nice addition. Of course, you’ll still need to plaster printed maps on various parts of the venue, but this map on the event program can provide more convenience for your attendees, knowing that they have access to the map at all times.

Make sure the map is easy to understand and well-designed, and you can label or color-code the different rooms as needed. 

7. Sponsors, VIPS, and key partners

If you have spare space in your program’s layout, you can add logos of your sponsors and partners, as well as mention the VIPs who are going to attend the event. 

8. Contact information

Add an emergency phone number on the event program, as well as other relevant contact information. This way, your attendees can easily access this contact information whenever they are in any emergency, including unexpected accidents and medical emergencies during the event. 

9. FAQs

Another optional section that you can add if you still have spare space and can help ease the burden of your event staff. Including a FAQ section allows them not to waste valuable time answering repetitive questions. 

Consider adding a FAQ section if your event is relatively complex, especially if you’ve received a lot of questions during registrations. If you decide to add a FAQ section, however, only include questions that will help your attendees during their attendance to make sure this section is relevant.

How to Make Your Event Agenda Attractive

1. Be mindful of your time frames

Ultimately an event agenda is about how to fit all the activities and sessions of your event into the available time frame while ensuring optimal attendee experience.

Ultimately an event agenda is about how to fit all the activities and sessions of your event into the available time frame while ensuring optimal attendee experience.

For example, if it’s a multi-day event and you’ve organized a networking party until 11 p.m. on the first day, don’t schedule something too intense at 7 a.m. the day after.

When planning any activity, be mindful of finding the right balance between making the most of the available time and ensuring an optimal experience for your guests.

2. Keep it simple

In general, only include activities that are:

  • Absolutely necessary in achieving the event’s objectives (for the event organizer, sponsors, partners, etc.), or
  • Adding more value for your attendees

Avoid packing too many activities, and focus on quality over quantity.

While it might be tempting to invite as many high-profile speakers and talents as you can and keep the event jam-packed with interesting sessions, it can be counterproductive.

Keeping the schedule too busy may stress your audience and may cause them to perceive your event as cluttered and disorganized (even if that isn’t actually the case.)

Keeping the schedule simple and minimalistic is even more important when creating a virtual event agenda, where your attendees will be stuck within their homes. It’s better to include just a few engaging activities and a lot of breaks rather than having too many boring activities.

3. Alternate and keep things interesting

While it’s best not to have too many activities on your agenda, it’s still important to design different types of event dynamics and keep things diversified.

For example, don’t schedule two back-to-back keynote speaking sessions, but alternate it with a TED-style presentation or a fireside chat to keep things interesting. In general, you should change things up every 30 to 50 minutes to keep things interesting and prevent your attendees from getting bored or distracted.

Keep your schedule well-structured and simple while diversifying the session formats. When creating a virtual event agenda, also take potential distractions they’ll have into account when planning your activities, like adding activities that would require them to use items at their homes.

4. Include enough breaks and social activities

Still with the mission of keeping things simple but diversified. Make sure to schedule enough breaks and social activities like games, guided tours, and so on.

Pay attention to your attendees’ energy levels and potential distractions.  leverage these breaks to give them a chance to recharge. As a general rule of thumb, you should include formal break sessions every 90 minutes to keep your attendees refreshed.

Also, provide enough networking opportunities in between sessions to give them a chance to connect with others.

5. Make sure information is available

Another important thing that is often neglected when planning an event agenda. Make sure your attendees can easily access all the information necessary for them to participate in and enjoy the activities on the agenda.

Make sure the timing of each activity is clear and easy to find. If activities are hosted in different rooms, make sure the information is prominent.

Make sure the event agenda is well optimized to minimize confusion and questions.

6. Consider including parallel activities

Offering parallel activities can be a great way to offer diversity without sacrificing minimalism. This way, you can offer more activity options to your audience but not risk cluttering your agenda.

Parallel activities are, simply put, you over different activities happening at the same time that the attendees can choose from

You can then allow attendees to choose which activities they wish to participate in during the registration process. You can easily set up registration for your activities on Eventtia by following this guide.

Creating an Attractive Event Agenda: Step-By-Step Guide

Here’s your guide to creating an attractive and easy-to-follow event agenda:

1. Identify and stick to your event goal

In the end, an effective event agenda is one that helps the event organizer or the company hosting the event in achieving their event goal(s). So, identifying your event goal early can significantly help with the design of your event agenda.

Consider:

  • What are your event goals? (educating your attendees, building brand awareness, launching a new product, fundraising, etc.)
  • Who is your target audience? (demographics, psychographics, behavior, preferences)
  • If it’s a for-profit event, how much profit do you expect? Or, how much donation do you expect? (for fundraising)

For example, if your event’s main objective is to generate leads and your target audience’s preference is to network more, then you should plan more breakout sessions and cocktail parties on the event agenda.

2. Outreach talents and speakers early

One of the key challenges in planning an event agenda is the fact that you would depend on external parties: your speakers or talents unless it’s going to be a fully in-house event with in-house speakers.

So, as early as possible when planning your event agenda, create a shortlist of the key speakers, talents, presenters, and entertainers you’d like to participate in your event. Identify your priorities, and start reaching out to them ASAP. Remember that high-profile speakers are in-demand, and it’s likely you’ll end up planning the event’s date based on their availability.

3. Consider local factors that may affect your schedule

When planning an in-person event agenda, take factors like local traffic, public transport schedules, rush hour trends, and local constructions that may affect your attendees’ arrival time. Adjust your schedule accordingly based on these factors.

Also, consider local events that may interfere with your agenda: sports events, annual music festivals, and other activities that may cause traffic jams or packed public transportation in the area. You might want to adjust your agenda to avoid these local events.

4. Plan your logistics

Once you’ve identified all the important details, plan the top-level logistics of your event: 

When planning the logistics for your event agenda, take into account both your team members’ and attendees’ needs. A successful agenda is one that suits the needs and preferences of both.

Once you’ve figured out the basic logistics, reach out to your speakers. Check whether the draft schedule can fit their needs. 

Consider:

  • Communicate the time restrictions to the speaker and talents, so they can prepare their materials accordingly.
  • Devise a signal they should watch for when their allotted time is almost over (i.e., 10 minutes before.)
  • Have a set cutoff point (i.e., 10 minutes after the allotted ++schedule.) Clearly ommunicate to the speaker that you’ll have to stick to this limit.
  • Provide a visible timer for the speaker
  • Designate a moderator to offer a ten-minute warning or five-minute warning to the speaker
  • Devise an emergency plan for speakers that don’t notice your cues. For example, to let the moderator take the stage and thank them.

5. Use pre-event surveys to help you finalize the details

A pre-event survey can help you identify what attendees value in your event. This allows you to adjust the final details of your agenda to cater to them.

Let your attendees know that their answers will play an important part in building the final schedule, and they’ll also feel more valued.

You can include the following question:

  • Which speakers are you most interested in? (helps you in scheduling speakers based on interests)
  • What are you hoping to achieve from this event? 
  • What are you hoping to learn at this event?
  • How long are you willing to spend in a session? 
  • What activities would you like to spend time on between sessions?

With Eventtia, you can easily create and distribute pre-event surveys to help you create an attractive event agenda that caters to your attendees’ needs and preferences. After the event, you can also send a post-event survey to gain feedback about the effectiveness of your agenda.

6. Fine-tune the length of each session

Planning session lengths can be a tricky thing to do when planning both in-person and virtual event agenda: when sessions are too long, attendees may get bored and be distracted. Too short, and your speakers may not be able to get their point across.

While each session’s length should be unique, here are some general pointers you can use:

  • Keep opening speeches short, not more than 5 minutes long
  • Each keynote speech should be between 60 and 90 minutes
  • Breakout sessions should be between 30 and 60 minutes
  • Workshops, training sessions, and product presentations should be between 60 to 120 minutes. While you should generally avoid overly long sessions, it’s acceptable for workshops as long as you can keep them interesting.
  • Panel discussions between 60 and 90 minutes

Conclusion

Planning an event agenda is ultimately about finding the right balance between the effective allocation of time and ensuring optimal engagement for your attendees.An event management solution like Eventtia also offers a built-in agenda builder tool, making it easy for you to plan your event agenda while keeping every other detail of the event in check, including allowing attendees to register for specific breakout sessions or activities to ensure optimal engagement.

Talk with one of our event planning experts to learn how Eventtia can simplify your events.

Mike Khorev
MikeKhorev

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