10.0 Conducting the Meeting

10.1 Registration

10.1.1 Times of Operation

Typical times of operation for the registration desk are:

  • 2 to 8 P.M. on the first day (usually Thursday);
  • 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. on the second day; and
  • 8:30 A.M. to 9:30 A.M. on the third day.

10.1.2 Registration Desk Setup

Planning and organization for the registration desk is important and is not a trivial task. The following supplies should be on hand during registration:

  • computer,
  • printer,
  • two reams of paper,
  • blank badges for on-site registrants,
  • new (blank) overhead projector transparencies for printers,
  • tape,
  • scissors,
  • cardboard and large markers for last minute meeting signs,
  • stapler,
  • pens and pencils, and
  • phone book and maps.

Items for sale should be placed out of sight with a sample and a sign indicating the price placed on the registration desk. Any items on the registration desk may "walk off."

The pre-registration area should be separated from the "unpaid" registration area.

The registration desk should be set up on the morning of the first day (usually Thursday) to allow a couple of hours to organize a system and train volunteers.

A cash box with a lock should be at the registration desk with approximately $150 in cash in various bill sizes. When the registration desk is closed, all cash should be placed in the hotel safe. Students and vendors usually pay in cash using $5, $10, and $20 bills.

Discourage cash payments. If cash payments are made, have a preprinted receipt system established with a carbon copy. This is very important.

10.1.2 Registration Process

An efficiently run registration desk makes an excellent first impression on those arriving at the meeting. To ensure such efficiency, each of the following things should be done:

  • The desks or tables should be arranged to provide a logical flow;
  • Conspicuous signing should be provided to direct persons to the appropriate station; and
  • The registration personnel should be properly trained for their task(s) and should be friendly and courteous at all times. Specially trained individuals should be assigned to the unpaid registration area.
  • At least two to three individuals should be at the registration desk through noon of the second day (usually Friday). Afterwards, only one or two individuals are typically necessary.
  • A computer, printer, and trained individual should be available at the registration at least until noon of the second day (usually Friday) to make vendor badges and registrant badges for late arrivals.

Receipts should be included in the pre-paid registration packages.

Be prepared for members who will arrive assuming they are prepaid. This will occur due to lost mail or problems with finance departments not issuing checks in a timely manner. Have a policy established for this situation.

Be prepared to make copies for speakers and committees.

The typical registration sequence might be as follows:

(1a) Pick up registration form. Persons who have not pre-registered would pick up a form here and fill it out. The form should be self-explanatory to the greatest practical extent, especially with respect to event prices.

(1b) Pick up ticket/name tag packet. Persons who have pre-registered will start here. If also prepaid, this step will complete the registration process except for picking up miscellaneous information at the last station.

(2) Pay cashier. The cashier should check the registration form, especially with respect to the accuracy of the total fee. A sign should be posted to advise check writers as to whom checks should be made payable.

(3) Pick up event tickets. In the case of nonpreregistered individuals, the cashier will pass down the registration form, which will be placed between the person responsible for issuing the event tickets and the person who types the name tags. (This will allow the name tag to be typed while the tickets are being issued.) A meeting program will be given to each registrant along with the event tickets.

(4) Pick up name tags and special ribbons. Name tags for members and affiliates generally include the person’s name, their employer, and city. Example:

Jane Doe
ABC Consulting Engineering
Anycity, Texas

Name tags for student members generally include the student's name, the university, and city. Example:

John Doe
Texas A&M University
College Station, Texas

Name tags for spouses and children generally include only the person’s name and city.

Special ribbons are generally provided to identify TexITE and District Officers (e.g., "Officer"); speakers and moderators (e.g., "Speaker"); and members of the LAC (e.g., "Host"). Officers and LAC members will typically pre-register, but many of the speakers may register at the meeting. An alphabetized list of all speakers and moderators should be prepared in advance to assist in identifying those persons who should be given a "Speaker" ribbon. (Also, since it can be assumed that they will be attending, their name tags with "Speaker" ribbons can be prepared in advance.)

(5) Pick Up Other Information. The Convention Bureau typically provides such items as a city map, tour and sightseeing information, a restaurant guide, etc. Usually, these items are pre-packaged in a plastic bag which may also include a small gift or souvenir. If these items were not given out at the same station where the tickets and meeting program were issued, they should be placed on a table just beyond the name tag station.

10.1.3 Greeting Special Guests

Especially just prior to the Kick-Off Luncheon, a number of special guests (Mayor, City Manager, etc.) will likely be arriving. An LAC member who will recognize each such special guest should be on hand to greet them as they arrive.

10.1.4 Bulletin Board

The meeting bulletin board needs to be located in the registration area. It should have designated areas for each of the following:

  • "Position Available" and "Position Wanted" announcements
  • Messages for meeting registrants
  • Meeting information (committee meeting locations and times, etc.)

The HPG generally posts a listing of sponsoring members in their exhibit space and/or near the registration desk.

10.1.5 Emergency Messages

The hotel switchboard and front desk should be advised as to which LAC member to contact in the event an emergency message is received for a meeting attendee. The designated LAC member should post the message on the meeting bulletin board and attempt to find the person.

10.2 Sports Events

The LAC should designate one of its members to be present at the start of the golf tournament and any other sporting event. That person should ensure that the necessary arrangements have been made with the sports facility and that the participating TexITE members get signed in and underway. Unless playing, it is usually not necessary for the LAC member to stay after the event is underway. (One of the participants can be designated to collect the score cards and either compile the results or bring the score cards to the LAC at the hotel.)

10.3 Technical Sessions

10.3.1 Pre-Session Checklist

The Vice President is responsible for planning the technical program and arranging for speakers and moderators. The Vice President will also coordinate with the speakers regarding their specific visual aids needs and advise the LAC accordingly. A slide projector and an overhead projector are typically provided for each technical session.

The LAC should designate one of its members to check each technical session meeting room prior to the start of each session. Items to be checked include:

  • Are the required visual aids properly set up and fully operational? If a slide projector is being used, is its remote control placed at or beside the lectern?
  • Are the microphone and lectern light working properly?
  • Are the room lights and light controls working properly?
  • Is the room too hot or too cool?

The designated LAC member should know which hotel staff member to contact, as well as the best way to contact that hotel staff member, in the event any of the hotel’s facilities or equipment require attention. Also, it is desirable to have a spare projector bulb and/or a spare carousel project on hand "just in case."

10.3.2 Visual Aids Operation

Most speakers will operate their visual aids themselves or bring an assistant to help. The LAC representative should be familiar with the operation of each item of visual aids equipment in case a speaker encounters difficulty.

10.3.3 Head Count

The LAC representative should count the number of persons in attendance at each session.

10.4 Meal Functions

10.4.1 Deciding How Many Meals to Guarantee

As much as one week before the function, the LAC will have to guarantee payment for some number of meals. Deciding what this number should be is not an exact science. If total attendance (including complimentary meals) is expected to be 150 and the hotel will serve up to 110% of the guaranteed number, the LAC might opt to guarantee only 136 meals. Therefore, all 150 expected attendees can be accommodated yet the cost to the meeting budget will be minimized in the event attendance turns out to be less than expected. On the other hand, the hotel may not be able to accommodate additional meals if actual attendance exceeds 150.

Therefore, the LAC might instead opt to guarantee all 150 meals to ensure that the hotel will be prepared to serve at least 165.

There is no exact formula for determining the number of meals to guarantee. Ultimately, the LAC has to use its best judgment and hope for the best.

10.4.2 Pre-Event Facilities Check

The LAC should designate one of its members to check out the room prior to the event. This individual should verify that the head table is properly arranged and that the name placards (if used) are placed in the proper order. Also, a quick count should be made to verify that enough places have been set for the agreed-upon number of meals. The following additional items should be checked:

  • Are the microphone and lectern light working properly?
  • Are the room lights and light controls working properly?
  • Is the room too hot or too cool?

The designated LAC member should know which hotel staff member to contact in the event any of the hotel's facilities or equipment require attention.

10.4.3 Overbooking the Kick-Off Luncheon

On the second day, usually Friday, if the number of Kick-Off Lunches is higher than the caterer can provide, be prepared to have a policy in place to accommodate late arrivals. For example, prepare a waiting list, and at noon, allow those on the list to replace pre-paid registrants who have not arrived.

10.4.4 Ticket Collection

If tickets are going to be collected at the door, one or more LAC members should be posted at each door.

10.4.5 Verifying the Head Count

Even if tickets have been collected, the LAC should designate one of its members to verify the number of meals served. Preferably, this should be done jointly with a hotel staff member.

10.5 Out-of-Hotel Functions

If group transportation is being provided, the LAC should have members assigned to assist with the loading if the buses (and collection of the tickets if that is being done as the buses are boarded). Those LAC members should also be able to give directions to the event since some people usually will choose to take their own cars. To accommodate anyone who may be running late, it is also a good idea to post directions to the event on the meeting bulletin board.

One or more members of the LAC should remain with the group at all times during an out-of-the-hotel event. Each such member should know the names and telephone numbers of the staff persons to contact for assistance, both at the event being attended and at the company which is providing the buses.

If a meal is being provided at the event, an LAC member should be assigned the responsibility of verifying the number of meals served. Preferably, this would be done jointly with a representative of the event or their caterer.