Tagorganization

Event Planning Rule 6 – Organize Yourself

Rule 6. Organize yourself.

Event organizer is a misleading name. It’s their event and they should have it together and be the expert on their own event. But, they often offload that work on to the person supporting them.

This means you have to be organized, whether the people you’re working for are or not. It’s your job to make everything work. It’s your job to assure success as much as possible. It doesn’t matter if you’re planned and scheduled if you don’t have the information you need.

If you write down the information but leave it behind, it can’t help you. If you need a specific link and don’t have it, it’s as good as never scheduling it.

A practice I adopted early on in event planning was coming up with a list of questions. My first reply when was this list. It gave me everything I need to know to be successful. Some of them were basic. What is this event? Where is it? What time? How many people are you anticipating attending in the room and online?

Are we recording this session? Do you need Closed Captioning? Will there be a sign language interpreter present? What about a photographer?

And others were just for me. Is this date and time firm? Do you have a slide deck? If not, when will it be available?

Asking questions finds weakness in plans. Once we find the weakness in the plans, we can plan around them and be successful.

Organizational Notes

Time

Rushing leads to disorganization which leads to forgetting which leads to failure. Always arrive early. The quiet time before an event starts is for you to prepare yourself and organize your space. Organization is about making time to be successful.

I was always the first person to an event. I had time to get my computer and camera setup. I verify the links I need and content (slides, videos, audio) were available and working. The extra time is for troubleshooting. Links break and computers crash. Time is the different between success and failure.

I open the slides and go through them all one last time. I open the video and play it straight through. I listen to the audio over the sound system in the room. I had already done all this before. But everyday is a new day and failure always possible.

Space

Setup what you need where you can get to it. I setup my notebook and post-it notes so I could see everything without flipping pages. I like using a notebook because it gave me space for new notes or updating what I thought I knew.

If I was in a conference room in front of a laptop, I kept it all on my lap but still had it open and available if I needed it.

Having the information does you no good if you can’t find it when you need it.

Herding USB Keys

I’ve worked in tech support for nearly a decade and I’ve collect a number of USB keys. They range in size from a hearty 32GB to a miniscule 128MB. They’re all useful and all have their place.

The challenge becomes how to tell them apart at a glance and know what they work in.

I’ve come up with two methods to ease the madness.

First, label the physical devices. Use a sharpie for a permanent name or size. If you tend to reuse them, put a piece of scotch tape on it and use that as a label.

The USB Keys from top down are:
GParted on 512MB drive.
Windows XP installer on 2GB drive.
Windows Easy Transfer on 128MB drive.
YUMI created collection of bootable software on 2GB drive.
Windows 7 install on 4GB drive.

Second, I name each drive with the amount of storage and what platform is works on.

Some drives, I have formatted for the Mac only since that’s all I use them on. Some I have formatted as FAT32 which works in everything. While others I’ve experimented with ExFAT which allows for cross compatibility (Mac to Windows) and larger than 4GB file sizes (like NTFS) but isn’t natively supported in Windows XP.

These are the little tricks I use to keep my collection of USB keys a little more sanely. I hope it helps you too if you have the same problem. If there is interest in the geeky IT setup I’ve crafted for myself over the years I’ll share more of it. Even if there isn’t I may do so anyway.

Let me know if you’ve enjoyed this post. Leave a comment or find me on Twitter.

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