The opening game of the 21st World Cup kicked off yesterday with hosts Russia taking on The Green Falcons, Saudi Arabia. 

Despite the negative press and poor form the host nation took into their first game (the lowest ranked of all 32 teams), they couldn't have hoped for more! 

With a 5-0 demolition of their opponents, the Russians well and truly turned the heads of their skeptics. 

All too often when hosting a conference, seminar, or roundtable, organisers place their focus and resource getting the marquee event perfected. 

Whilst of course this is important, and I'm sure the final in Moscow will be quite the spectacle, first impressions and the opening act can be just as, if not more, crucial to success.

I have curated a list of the small details and things to consider for making sure your event runs smoothly.

Ahead of the Event:

  • Now you might not have 9 years worth of preparation time as the World Cup hosts had, but planning is essential 
  • Depending on whether the event is free or paid for you will want to oversubscribe, as there will always be dropouts 
  • To counter against no-shows, you can send an email a few days before the event giving guests the option to easily unsubscribe so that someone on the waiting list can take their place (scarcity being one of the weapons of influence also makes your event more desirable for those that are attending!) 
  • Make sure timings are clear and communicated effectively to all guests and everyone involved - allow for a buffer time, often networking, before the event gets underway 
  • Sell your assets - if you have an experienced panel, are addressing an exciting topic, or publishing a bit of research make sure everyone knows and have registered
  • Set expectations - nothing worse than being at an event expecting one thing and getting something else
  • Vet your speakers to ensure quality, consistency, and subject-matter expertise 


  • Does the venue suit the event you are hosting? 
  • Consider how you can maximise the space - do you need furniture, places for people to sit, an area for networking?
  • Go through the user experience from arrival through to departure
  • If there is someone signing guests in, make sure that they know where to send them next - it can get messy if card access is required to enter or exit the venue
  • When a guest arrives, it is often helpful to ask: "who are you here to see?" and you can introduce or point them in the right direction
  • If you are moving guests between areas at the venue, from say networking to a panel discussion, work out the transition, how this will be announced, and any logistics involved ahead of time


  • Is the location clear? Check on Google Maps to make sure the address returns the correct result 
  • Check the route from the closest public transport to make sure guests will be able to find your venue easily
  • Have a banner or sign at the entrance of the event to avoid confusion 


  • Going to keep this one brief, but provide variety (do not just take into consideration your/your peers' preferences) 
  • Think practically, what are you going to drink out of/eat with?
  • Order enough