Thanks to Sara Burns for sharing this one.
The True Event Planning Timeline...Proceed With Caution
Weeks 52 to 8 before conference = Do nothing, because no one mentioned it to the events planning team.
Weeks 8 to 6 before= attempt frantically to get some guideline from your client as to number of attendees, acceptable locations, budget, flow, agenda, gifts, speakers, print collateral, invitations, registration....
* source 10 locations in the northeast, then 10 on the west coast, then 5 in Chicago as your client changes their mind.
* bug the chain of command to sign off on the meeting so that you can actually book one of the 92 locations who now have your specs.
* Develop your ability to say key phrases like "Of course I can check New York for this December - you're ok with a $550 room rate, right?" without flinching.
Weeks 6 to 4 before = repeat above
* give up on your client making decisions about the speakers because they're focused on the design of the invitation and the $3 giveaway.
* automatically hit "delete" on the 324 emails that come to you from potential attendees asking when they can register, because you have nowhere near enough information to setup your online registration.
Weeks 4 to 2 before = change your diet and sleep habits radically (you are now the sole reason that the Starbucks employees across the street got a bonus this month) because you are working 18 - 20 hour days.
* to avoid those pesky phone calls, work early in the morning and late at night as much as possible, since you have no answers for the hotel on when you'll have the contract signed or the deposit paid, much less rooming lists and beos; your creative group wants your head for asking for (500) 300 page spiral bound books of presentations produced in 3 days, since that's approximately how much lead time the presenters will give you; your tchotchke vendor calling to say that there's no way that they can produce and ship in time the 700 logo-d replicas of the Brooklyn Bridge and yak-wool slippers that your client's committee finally decided on.
Week 2 to 1 before = your coworkers will find you alternating between a weeping, huddled mass under your desk and bounding around the office with the optimism and energy of Superman, because you have finally gotten to the point where it's going to happen or it's not.
Less than 1 week before = a strange calm decends; you're either feeling back in control and relaxed that you've got everything handled and a contingency plan in place, or you've mixed up your sleeping pill with your No-Doz.