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FEATURES OF A GOOD EVENT OVERVIEW & CHECKLIST

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  FEATURES OF A GOOD EVENT: OVERVIEW & CHECKLIST


INTRODUCTION

This document has been prepared as an aide-memoire for event organising committees and
others who organise CPD events, such as CPD Coordinators and Regional Society
Secretaries. Its aim is to gather together in one place a checklist of items which an organiser
or Organising Committee may wish to have in mind as its event develops. Also available is a
document covering effective delivery of CPD events.

Taken as a whole, the items listed below provide the organiser with the opportunity to conduct
a strategic review of the plans as they take shape, to ensure that the content, presentation
and administration closely match the needs of the target audience.

The checklist below gives equal weight to all the items suggested. However, from the many
questionnaires received each year giving feedback on the events the professions runs, some
features regularly receive particular comment and, as such, are worthy of particular note.

• The level at which a session (in a large convention) or programme (of a one-day meeting)
  is pitched should be very clearly described. Both the speaker/s and the audience should
  think they are attending the same event!

• The type of session should be suited to its purpose eg a room in which 60 people are
  seated theatre-style is unsuitable for an interactive workshop discussion.

• Material which needs to be assimilated should be sent out a sufficient time in advance to
  allow those who wish to read it the opportunity to do so. This is a particular bugbear of
  participants and is mentioned frequently. In order for it to be sent out in time, it needs to
  be provided in time by the author/working party.

• Also, where slides/bullet points only are available they should be handed out prior to the
  presentation rather than after it. This enables the audience to see what is recorded and
  what they need to note down for themselves.

• The type of sessions which consistently score well are those in which material is
  presented which is either new and thought provoking eg original research presented by a
  working party, or in which more familiar material has been given a new slant eg the results
  of a survey on a particular topic giving the collected views of, say, a number of life offices.
  Other sessions/events which are popular are those which go into some depth on a
  technical subject resulting in the participants having learnt a new tool or gained a greater
  understanding of a difficult technique. Less popular are presentations which skate thinly
  over a wide range of material, not getting to grips with any of it.

• Presenters are chosen primarily because of their expertise in the subject matter. As such
  their presentation skills differ widely. However, basic competence in presentation such as
  facing the audience rather than talking to the screen, speaking clearly not mumbling and, if
  overhead transparencies are used, not putting too much information on one slide should
  be achievable by all those asked to speak. Regrettably this is not yet the case.




                                           1                                           Feb 2005
CHECKLIST OF FEATURES OF A GOOD EVENT:
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PURPOSE

• Participants like to know in advance what the purpose of the event is.

• Participants will come to learn, to inform and to network.

• Many like to feel that they have been able to contribute actively rather than be a passive
  observer.

• The purpose of an event is likely to be linked to some key themes which need to be
  evident.

• The overall aim of the event may have several sub aims which will be realised through
  different sessions. Thus the purpose of bringing people together could include:

        -       To educate.
        -       To train.
        -       To inform on technical issues.
        -       To inform on environmental issues, eg taxation, legislation.
        -       To disseminate and further research.
        -       To consult.
        -       To exchange views.

•       Organisers and participants need a shared understanding of purpose.

PROMOTION
The brochure and other promotion for the event should explain clearly:

        -       Purpose.
        -       Breadth of sessions.
        -       Depth of sessions.
        -       Target audience overall and for sessions.
        -       Types of delivery.
        -       Size of audience for sessions.
        -       Facilities.
        -       Timing.
        -       Cost.

STRUCTURE OF EVENT
A good event has:

        -       Variety of types of sessions all with clear purpose.
        -       Variety of themes with relevant sessions. (Conferences in particular.)
        -       Sufficient time for networking but limited dead-time.
        -       Opportunities for all participants to be involved.
        -       Material available in advance to stimulate pre-event thinking by
                participants.
        -       No unnecessary repetition, eg sessions distinct, limited
                reporting back.
        -       Links to previous events.




                                          2                                          Feb 2005
FACILITIES
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A good event has:

       -       Appropriate accommodation to meet aims.
       -       Good support services on site.
       -       Appropriate facilities for chosen methods of delivery.
       -       Accessible location.
       -       Good administration before, during and after conference.
       -       Perception of value for money.

PRESENTERS
       -       Able to deliver a good session.
       -       Need not always be actuaries.
       -       Fully briefed on purpose of session and participants.

PARTICIPANTS
       -       Some continuity from previous events.
       -       Include support from Practice Board.
       -       Be prepared to contribute.

MANAGEMENT
       -       Active planning committee.
       -       Committee involved before, during and after event with good handover
               to next planning committee.
       -       Post evaluation of event in organising committee.
       -       Post evaluation of event in CPD Committee and Practice Board.
       -       Support from Practice Board through attendance.




This document was updated in February 2005 by the CPD Committee, Secretary Helen
Gregson, heleng@actuaries.org.uk.




                                         3                                      Feb 2005

				
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