Are you planning an event and looking for a checklist to ensure you have thought of everything for your stages? After reading this article you will feel more comfortable ensuring that you have all stage considerations covered for your next event.

Today’s blog features a PRE-event checklist that you can refer to as you plan your stages. Make sure to bookmark it as a resource to refer back to once you begin your planning!


stage design for events

Pre-Show Organizing

* Determine your stages:

Event related, Kitchen, diy, Sponsored custom stage


  • Choose how many stages you want at your event, taking into consideration estimated attendance, visitor interest in trends i.e. kitchen/cooking stages, diy stages or other, and how you will utilize these stages to improve traffic and overall attendee satisfaction.


  • Decide on headliner personalities that will solidify the theme of your event and are well-known enough to drive traffic.


  • Choose presenters that have a large social media following to utilize their PR element and increase chatter about your event


  • The right social media savvy presenters may be better than well-known and expensive presenters as they are looking to build their following as well and will be willing and helpful.

 social media personalities enhance events

  • Decide on budget and determine allocation between
  • ----locally “famous” presenters typically with relationships with various local media (getting you much more media coverage)


 headliner draws traffic at events

  • ----and national headliners that everyone “oohs and ahs” over that entice visitors to come to your event just to see them.



  • Place stages strategically on your event floor plan to drive traffic and improve overall traffic flow
  • Place stages in corners or locations where you want to drive traffic
  • Use relevant and strong presenters on those stages
  • Use stages to direct, block and/or redirect traffic to your needs
  • Stages can bring traffic to areas you are concerned with—to companies, features, or sponsored areas that need traffic to be successful


 *Develop stage schedules


  • Scheduled presenters should begin 1-2 hours after the event starts to ensure people have arrived and are ready to sit and watch a stage presentation
  • Schedule up until 2 hours before event closes so last presentation ends one hour before your event closes. This can be tricky as you do want activity up until the end of the event.
  • Schedule a presenter every hour, on the hour during these event open times
  • With a presenter scheduled each hour the audience will linger between... to see who is next.
  • Your emcee (we will talk about later) can interact with the audience teasing them for next presenter.
  • It is much easier to increase the audience than it is to start from scratch. (Nobody likes to be the first to sit)
  • With butts already seated in the audience others will stop to see what is going on

***Creating momentum throughout the day will help each presenter.

one lonely person in audience at an event


half filled audience at event 




full audience at event


  • Have your headliner contracted for 2x/day presentations
  • Schedule your presenters with 1. a main headliner first who easily draws an audience. 2. The next hour schedule your secondary headliner or a well-know local speaker. 3. Your third scheduled can be a local interesting act not as well known.
***This will help that 3rd and not so well known presenter have an audience.
  • Rinse and repeat... this 3 hour cycle.


*Search for and contract with presenters that relate to your event 

  • You might be responsible for sourcing all of your presenters or you may have a PR person who does this for you. Work with that person for headliners and ideas for “other” stages.
  • Choose headliner(s) based on budget, availability and relevance
  • Determine budget for relevant headliners that will drive traffic and that you know your local market will resonate with

yippee resonating with speaker at event

  • Decide if it’s more economicable (yes, I made up that word) to book one big headliner or two: 1-- somewhat “big” and 1-- just on the outskirts of becoming “big”
  • Or if you want to go for it and book one “BIG” headliner and the rest local presenters
  • Bloggers can be a good source for presenting

                  * if they are just starting out and are working at growing their audience.
                  * some are already doing their own thing and don’t find the relevance or necessity of growing their audience from this avenue
                  * some are much too “what’s in it for me” not realizing it could definitely be a Win- Win situation.
                  * We have found that the research and pursuing of bloggers for stage schedules to be too time consuming with little to no success. YOU may find a different result which is why it is included here.

  • Local presenters. What is meant by that?
* The Garden Guy who writes the weekly article in your local newspaper may be a good presenter.
* The Food Dude may want a segment on your cooking stage or the publicity for his rag by being a judge in a Kitchen stage cook off.
* That cute weather girl on channel ? loves to make diy crafts—tie in her station to the event to give them publicity while benefiting you
* Your exhibitors. e.g. the Kitchen Store owner who can demonstrate how to rip out a countertop and install a marble one with concrete sink in under 15 minutes

    ********Determine what interests your visitors and develop stages and presenters based on that**********

    * Contract with each presenter


    • This goes without saying.
    • With expectations spelled out and each party signing off to it, your planning will go much more smoothly
    • Include a cancellation clause to motivate follow-through and eliminate cancelling for weak reasons. (We’ve found that $500 for local presenters works—this should cover all pre-event ads and publicity that have already been run. If not, you should UP that amount to cover it-- as they received it).
    • Include items you want the presenter to perform:
       inclusion in ___ # of email blasts sent to their followers
    *     ___# of mentions on fb, instagram, twitter
       Posting of your event’s logo or event information and how many times and where
       Website link sharing, promoting each other
    • What you will do for them:
    *      Include information about how much you will pay them when you will pay them initial deposits and deadlines when they’ll receive payment in full
    *      include their bio and information on your website with link
    *      add an option for ticket buyers to send money to presenter’s favorite charity
        referrals and recommendations if you are happy with their performance
    *      Ask them! And make them happy as well. 


    * Preparing presenters:

    You will want to communicate with each presenter so they are fully aware of what you expect from them.

    • Powerpoints?
    • Pictures. LOTS of pictures! Lots and LOTS of pictures!
    • Length of presentation. Should be somewhere between 30-45 minutes allowing 10-20 minutes for q&a. Ending with at least 5 minutes to set up next presenter.
    • Advise presenter that there will be a separate table or area for autographs and meet n greet away from the stage so the presentations can continue
    • Demonstrations-- live presentations creating something is the best attention grabber/engager and seat filler, gets the best positive response, and surveys will reflect your visitor approval
    • To bring props that identify them or their brand, or help in their presentation
    • Materials needed for each demo or diy project
    • Prep the presenter to give away each project they finish on stage
    • Keep record of who won what and share that on social media and in your post show reports
    • Question and Answer session
    • Be finished by 5 minutes to the hour so the next presenter can get set up and on stage


    * Needed equipment

    Communicate with your presenters about what equipment they need to bring.

    • Are they showing pictures? Before and afters! Bring those pictures on a usb
    • Take aways (business cards or swag) with the presenter’s information/brand info—this allows visitors to keep in contact with those presenters they really liked and related to.
    • Handouts. One-off pdf’s with the information relevant to the presentation. This will help visitors remember “how to” and not require them to take notes during the presentation. This can be a recipe or 5-10 steps to complete this same project.
    • Are you providing the laptop? Or should they bring theirs?
    • Note: it is much smoother to transition between presenters if you provide the laptop and the equipment is already set up. Each presenter then brings a disk, usb or what they use to transport their information
    • This also ensures the speakers and sound will be consistent
    • Demonstrations are the most effective and interesting forms of presentations.
    • Encourage your presenters to create something, demo something, cook something, etc.
    • Get a list of what materials they will need for each presentation and be on the same page of who is supplying what.
    • It may be easier for you to provide these materials for your headliner as they are traveling


    * Ordering A/V equipment
    • Order equipment that you don’t have on hand:
    • Computer/laptop
    • Microphones: handheld, lapel or headset. Headset works best as it is handsfree and the mic is directly in front of the speaker’s mouth. Lapel can be tricky with static and difficulty of placement.
    • Speakers: make sure they are placed correctly to eliminate feedback and static, and to ensure volume is correct from various locations in the audience

    sound setup for event stages

    riser height for stage setup at events
    • Risers and physical stage: at least one riser off the floor to give the presenter some height to be seen in the back. Finish it with carpet for a professional look. Decorate with relevant elements: landscaping, banners, etc

    • Chairs/benches: folding chairs for a more formal look.

    folding chairs at event stage

    benches for stage seating at event

    • Signage: Presenters, Title of presentation and Days/Times


    *** TEST ALL equipment before the show starts.


    * Set up interviews
    • Radio, tv and news articles.
    • Remember that articles in newspapers and magazines have deadlines months before your event


    Tune in to next week’s blog where you’ll benefit
    from next steps
    in the sequence of
    S(t)AGE Advice



    Stage Advice for During your EventStage Advice for AFTER your EventStage Advice Checklist planning stages at your event


    Back to blog


    Good to hear from you! Thanks for the feedback. Yes! Check us out here at:
    Free 30 minute consult to help you get started with your small business. Sign up now.

    The Benchmaster

    This is more like it- now add in something about consulting with these interested event organizers!!


    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.