How to guide: Events

This page contains information on how to organise an event, from the initial stages to the post-event activity.

Before any action is taken with planning an event, you need to carefully consider the purpose of your event, your audience and their needs. This section is based around general event management; for specific event requirements, please check to see if your event is listed or contact a member of the Marketing team.

  1. The first step with any event is to organise the basics: who, what, when and where. Make sure you have the necessary speakers or guests invited and have organised an agreed date, time and venue.
  2. After this, make sure you have a web page describing the event, including the date, time and venue of the event, as well as a short description of the event and, if necessary, a concise biography of the speaker.
  3. Make sure you have an agreed budget, including an amount set aside for overspend and unforeseen circumstances.
  4. Do you need to record expected numbers before your event? Then consider asking attendees to register for an event beforehand; this can be simply done via an online registration page linked on your web page.
  5. If you intend to order catering, make sure the catering company are approved by the University (external caterers need to pass allergy criteria; for this, please contact Venue Birmingham). If you have a Allow for a few extra numbers or late registrations when booking catering, as you will need to confirm final numbers approximately three working days before the event.
  6. Promotion of an event ensures a good attendance rate; allow a minimum of six weeks for full exposure. For further details, please see the ‘Promotion’ section of this guide.
  7. If you would like to give your attendees a brochure, guide or other written information, prepare a brief or copy for printing in advance, as the printing service may have a long lead time.
  8. During the event, you may need to be on hand to manage the event and to oversee any last minute details. For example, ensuring external speakers have parking permits on campus or security have been notified about the event.

Top tips

  • Remember the average drop-out rate for registered guests at an event is approximately 20%. Although not all those registered may have come, but prepare as if they were.
  • When ordering catering, it is better to overestimate than to underestimate.
  • Allow time for your catering to be set-up and in place before the arrival of guests at your event.
  • Confirm attendee numbers with catering suppliers approximately three days before the event.
  • When organising an event that will involve catering, ask attendees for dietary requirements and ensure the right food goes to the right person.
  • Make sure there is a webpage associated with your event; this will make digital promotion much easier.
  • If you are inviting an external speaker, please follow the guidelines in the ‘Visiting Speakers procedures 2015’.

Event Promotion


The College of Social Sciences Marketing Team can assist with a wide range of promotional activities, depending on the audience you wish to target.

  • External – social media; the database of public sector workers for targeted external invites; alumni invites (via the Alumni team); the University website, including banners
  • Internal – posters around campus; Buzz and Buzz Bitesize; Weekly Events Newsletter, distributed to all Social Sciences staff

If you wish to use these channels or discuss the promotion of your event, please contact the College’s Communication team:


Specific events

The following sections will provide advice on how to plan specific events, as they may have individual needs.

Discovery Days

Discovery Days in the College of Social Sciences are a joint venture with the College of Arts and Law. On the day, the school pupils attending will be given a pack containing a notepad, a bottle of water, some food and a guide to university. The teachers will also be provided with a pack, including information about courses from the School of Education.

If you have been invited to give a talk at a Discovery Day, there are several key points to remember. Firstly, as the audience is normally approximately 15 years old, they may get restless in a traditional lecture; interactive elements have been proven to be effective in the past. Secondly, you are likely to have one or two school groups in your talk. This means your audience will be between 10 and 30 people. Thirdly, your topic may need confirmation in advance, in order to formalise the programme for schools. If you have any questions, please contact the member of Marketing staff associated with your Discovery Day.

Recruitment-based events

This type of event is aimed at prospective students. In this instance, please discuss the event with the relevant Marketing Officer before proceeding.

Community Day

Community Day is a centrally-organised project designed to invite the local community on to campus and involve them in the research of the University. Most events are aimed at engaging families and young people; if you have an idea you think would work well at Community Day, please contact the College’s Communication team (


An Inaugural Lecture, the appointment of an academic to the post of Professor, is a major milestone in any scholar’s career. As such, the member of Professional Services who plans the event may want reassurance. When the process of organising an Inaugural Lecture is started, a member of the Marketing team should send the School representative a step-by-step guide, a copy of the inaugural checklist for academics, and an example introduction for the Pro-Vice-Chancellor. If you have any queries relating to these documents, please contact the College’s Communication team (, or the Head of College’s Personal Assistant.


Professional Services