Conference Planning Guide – Conference Schedule


I.                SCHEDULING

Though the President decides what the conference schedule should be, there are certain events that do not change from conference to conference. Remember that this is an educational conference and by definition, demands time be set aside for educational sessions.

A.                 Normal Schedule of Events

Sunday Evening

Hospitality Room for Golfers

Registration Desk



Registration Desk

Conference Director’s Meeting

Silent Auction / Reception

Hospitality Room


Registration Desk

Opening Ceremonies

Educational Sessions


Educational Sessions

Hospitality Room

Evening Social Event (dinner)

Hospitality Room


Registration Desk

Educational Sessions


Educational Sessions

Hospitality Room

Evening Social Event (Banquet)

Hospitality Room (optional)

Each President will put their own personal touches on the conference schedule, but it should be such that attendees can be as involved as they care to be. There should not be such a tight schedule as to make it stressful just to get from session to session, nor enough extra time to encourage attendees to become bored and venture away. There should be time for attendees to visit with the vendors, sponsors, and of course with each other and still attend the educational sessions.

The schedule should be balanced so that all of those in attendance will be able to enjoy and benefit from the total conference experience. Remember that there is a good deal to be shared both inside and outside of the educational sessions and time should be allowed for both.


A.                  The printed program will be printed after all other details are finalized. Give yourself time for printing, but do not rush to print, as details may change or additional sponsors may register late.

B.                  Make sure all scheduled events are confirmed before printing.

C.                  Program should list all educational events, their time, and location.

D.                 Program should list all entertainment or extra events, their time, and location. (If an event is off-site, it should explain details of how they are to get there.)

E.                  Program should list any special dress needs or requests, such as Hawaiian shirt, favorite sports team apparel, or semi-formal attire.

F.                   Program should include a short welcome by the President.

G.                 Program should mention and thank all donors, vendors, and sponsors.


A.                  Registration of conference attendees needs to start as soon as details have been finalized on the registration costs.

B.                  Per NCRAAO Policy 17, ensure a separate account is opened to deposit registration fees when they are received.

C.                  General duties to be performed by this committee:

1.                  Contact person for attendees regarding hotel rates and contact numbers.

2.                  Contact person for attendees regarding the registration fee schedule.

3.                  Name badges

4.                  Receipts

5.                  Organizing the welcome bags to be given out

6.                  Organization of handout materials for the registration desk (Conference Program)

7.                  Keeps track of meal tickets out, so President can give estimated counts to the catering staff

8.                  Keeps track of special guests and associate members that have registered, so the President can recognize them at the banquet or other special time.

9.                   Operate registration desk during the conference.

D.                 The registration desk should be open at convenient times so that all attendees have ample opportunity to register.


A.                  Be innovative and original, conference attendees are looking for something different. Topics not presented at the previous conference should be sought.

B.                  Topics should be related to the field of assessment, appraisal, office management, or field that will assist the attendees in their profession.

1.                  This does not mean that an unrelated topic cannot be presented as long as would be of interest to those attending.

2.                  Hopefully the educational sessions will be entertaining as well as instructional.

C.                  Educational sessions should be long enough to give the presenter adequate time to cover the topic.

D.                 More than one educational session may be presented at a time, and in fact, it is encouraged to have multiple sessions.

1.                   This enables a larger variety of topics to be presented.

2.                   This makes for smaller audience sizes, which leads to more interaction.

3.                   It may be easier for difficult topics to be presented.

4.                   This will better meet the interests of all attendees.

E.                  Speakers should be chosen for their knowledge and expertise on the topic involved. Don’t choose speakers just because they are free.

F.                   Be sure that each presenter understands exactly what is expected of them.

1.                   Estimated number of people they will be speaking to.

2.                   The amount of time they have to fill.

3.                   The specific topic that you would like them to cover.

4.                   Whether there will be a question period from the audience.

5.                   Are they expected to provide copies of the material or handouts.

G.                 Find out from the speaker exactly what compensation they expect. Some will speak for free with no compensation, but others may need to cover some of their expenses.

1.                   Motel Room

2.                   Travel Expense or Mileage

3.                   Cost of Material

4.                   Fee for time prep and speaking

5.                   If staying for a meal or the banquet, a complimentary ticket may be inline.


H.                 Knowing the compensation prior to any agreement will allow you to decide

1.                   Let you know if the association can afford them

2.                   Let you budget correctly in setting the conference fee

3.                   Let you determine if they are worth the “asking price”.

I.                     Assign a committee member to each presenter and make sure the presenters are in contact with that member about details.

1.                   If the presenter needs any equipment

2.                   Check the room in advance to see if it is properly setup.

3.                   Contact the presenter to obtain some professional or biographical information.

4.                   Make an introduction of the speaker to the audience.

5.                   Make copies of the material if needed.

6.                   Arrange details on how the speaker is to be paid.

7.                   Assist Speaker in meal arrangements, if needed.

J.                    All information and arrangements with the presenters should be in writing. This will eliminate any confusion later about what was said. All phone conversations should be followed up with a letter detailing the conversation.

K.                  Directors from each state should be contacted to find out educational requirements for that state to receive educational credit from classes attended at the conference. Someone may need to contact the Department that controls the education credits for each state to get course approval.

L.                   All speakers and presenters should be welcomed to the conference personally by the President and sent a Thank You letter from the President following the Conference.


Vendors are companies or individuals that have a product or service they would like to sell to the attendees or their County. Some of these like to set up booths at our conferences to display their products and services, and to make contacts with new and present customers. Some space should be found for these companies at the conference.

The current NCRAAO Hospitality Committee takes care of the information exchanged between the association and the vendors.


From time to time, special guests are invited to attend our conference. As in our private lives, certain rules of etiquette apply to hosting these guests.

A.                  Certain guests are invited to attend our annual conference. They may include but are not limited to

1.                  IAAO President

2.                  IAAO Executive Board Members

3.                  Local or State Dignitaries

4.                  Clergy to give the benediction

B.                  Make sure your invited guests know exactly what you are planning.

1.                  Do you wish them to speak to the group?

2.                  Will they speak at a business meeting or the banquet?

3.                  Are they invited to sit at the head table at the banquet?

4.                  Will their expenses be paid by NCRAAO?

C.                  Make sure they know all of the details, it is rude to leave an invited guest in the dark.

1.                  If you invite the guest in writing, follow up with a phone conversation.

2.                  If you invite them by phone, follow up with a letter to confirm the details of the discussion.

3.                  Let the guest know in writing exactly what expenses the association will pay.

4.                  If invited to speak, let the guest know of the topic you select and the time allowed.

5.                  If the guest will have a spouse or guest attending with them, confirm the costs the additional person will be required to pay to attend any of the events.

D.                 Never let an invited guest feel uncomfortable.

1.                  Assign a committee person to the invited dignitary

2.                  This person will help the guest find their seating arrangements at meals and their banquet table.

3.                  This person should assist the guest in finding where they are to go for their presentation.

4.                  Again, the President should personally welcome and dignitaries

5.                  The President should also send a Thank You letter after the conference.


Although this is an educational conference, entertainment plays a large part in the planning process. All entertainment provided or included in the annual NCRAAO Conference, whether part of the banquet, part of an after-hour tour or trip, or another part of the conference, should conform to these basic standards.

A.                  All entertainment should be non-offensive to the majority of the attendees.

B.                  All entertainment should fit into the general budget of the conference.

1.                  Entertainment should not take a disproportionate share of the expenses.

2.                  The educational sessions should not suffer to pay for a special evening of entertainment.

3.                  Though the social aspect of the conference is important, it should not overwhelm the schedule.

C.                  Will there be a tour for spouses or guests?

1.                  This may be determined by how many spouses register for the conference.

D.                 Is transportation required to get to the event?

1.                  Will the association provide transportation?

  1. If so, from when and where will it leave?

2.                  Having attendees provide their own transportation is not always a good idea.

  1. Out of town guests may not feel comfortable finding their way
  2. You may have guests that flew in or road with someone else and have no vehicle
  3. If alcohol is provided, you may not want people driving back to the hotel.

E.                  Banquet Entertainment

1.                  The evening entertainment should be an added feature, not the focal point of the banquet.

2.                  Should be non-offensive to the attendees

  1. Remember also, you may have some younger guests in attendance

3.                  The entertainment should not be too lengthy. The banquet tends to be rather long anyway.

4.                  If there is entertainment after the banquet

  1. It should be listed in the program
  2. It should be announced before the end of the banquet.


Hospitality rooms are part of the tradition of the conference. They offer a chance for conference attendees to socialize with people in their own line of work and to catch up on the lives of their friends and acquaintances from past conferences. They should be structured events and should follow some basic rules.

A.                  Guidelines for the hospitality room

1.                  The program should list the location of the room (s)

2.                  The program should list the times that the room will be open.

3.                  The times should not interfere with the other events of the conference.

4.                  All hotel rules concerning such rooms should be established well in advance of the conference and strictly adhered to.

B.                  Hospitality Room Sponsor

1.                  The hospitality room is sponsored by the state association that will be holding the next annual conference.

2.                  This sponsor should be mentioned in the program.

3.                  This should be displayed in the hospitality room.

4.                  All arrangements with the hotel and sponsor should be confirmed in writing, to make sure both parties understand the hotel rules regarding such rooms.

C.                  Other hospitality events

1.                  The NCRAAO Hospitality Committee usually sponsors the continental breakfast and the coffee breaks.

2.                  This sponsor should be mentioned in the program.

3.                  The list of sponsors should be displayed in the area designated for such events.

4.                  Since this committee is operated through vendor fees and donations, the sponsors should be acknowledged during the banquet.

D.                 Acknowledgements

1.                  The vendors and sponsors should be mentioned in the program.

2.                  The vendors and sponsors should be acknowledged at the banquet.

3.                  The President should send each vendor a thank you letter following the conference.

4.                  All arrangements with the hotel and vendors should be confirmed in writing.