Creating a conference or event timeline

An effective conference or event planning timeline will keep everyone on track and ensure you do not miss any important deadlines. An event timeline is not just a long to-do list, it's also a schedule of key tasks and dates that are clearly defined and easy to use.

Step 1: Build a timeline template

An event planning timeline template should be a system that is easy to manipulate such as Microsoft Word or Excel, or use project management software. Whatever system you select, you need to be able to add to the timeline, delete items and insert updates regularly.

Step 2: What to include

If you are the only person managing the event, your timeline may be as simple as a list of key dates or milestones such as deposits due, mailing dates, meetings and confirmations of catering, venues and accommodation.

If there are others involved in the event production, you may need a more comprehensive list such as tasks to be carried out, completion dates, who is responsible for each task and supplier contact details.

Step 3: Enter deadlines

Start at the date of your event, and work backwards according to how long each task will take. As early as possible, get deadlines and due dates from venues and other suppliers, and incorporate them into your timeline. You can base other tasks around these dates.

Consider highlighting or colour-coding urgent or non-negotiable deadlines in your timeline to make them stand out from the others.



  • Download BESydney's  Two-year event planner Two-year event planner  (171.00 KB) . This planner details likely activities for the two years leading up to your event and allows you to enter contingencies as you go, such as deadlines, contact details, responsible staff and notes

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Event tip

Remember to assign responsibilities, action dates and outcomes to ensure your timeline is a meaningful document.