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Event Planning & Management
12 August 2014 

The Guide to Essential Event Planning Terms – Part II

Hannah Weiner
The Guide to Essential Event Planning Terms – Part II

Based on our experience gained from working with over 4,000 events, we know all you event planners out there have a lot on your hands… Not only are you planning an entire event, you also have to stay current with ever-changing event lingo. Being fluent in the language of tech, food, room design, and every other little piece of an event that can come into play can be quite a challenge. So first off:  huge props to event planners!

Since we know it can be a challenge staying up-to-date with event lingo, enjoy our second reference guide to event planning terms (you can see our first post of the series here).

  1. Agenda: A plan of items to be considered, decided, or accomplished during a meeting or event. Doesn’t always include a time schedule.

  1. Arena: A type of facility that has a big main floor that is surrounded by seats in a sloping/modified oval shape (steeper than the typical theater). The sight lines are generally designed for large events the size of sporting arenas.

  1. Back of the House: Refers to the staff-only areas (as opposed to the front of the house).

  1. Barrier-Free: The absence of obstacles in order to allow handicapped persons to move freely to areas within the event space.

  1. BEO (Banquet Event Order): Provides details to personnel who are concerned with specific food and beverage function or room set-up.

  1. Break-Out Rooms: Rooms that tend to be smaller and are designed to accommodate break-out sessions.

  1. Captain: The supervisor of the servers or person in charge of the banquet service.

  1. Citywide Event: Requires the use of a larger convention center/event complex and, typically multiple hotels within the city.

  1. Concurrent Sessions: Several sessions that are scheduled simultaneously (sometimes focusing on different themes or subjects)

  1. Contractor: An organization or individual who provides services to a meeting or trade show (and/or its exhibitors).  Contractors can be “Official” or “Independent,” but the term generally refers to a specialty contractor or a general service contractor.

  1. Downstage: Closest to the audience; the front of the stage

  1. ESG (Event Specifications Guide): The term for a comprehensive document that outlines all of the requirements and instructions for an event, usually authored by the event planner (and shared with vendors to communicate expectations).

  1. Front Projection: Using a projector or other technology placed within or behind the audience, the frontward projection of an image onto a surface/light reflecting screen.

  1. Function Book: Diary or log that is used to document the assignment of function space.

  1. Head Count: The actual number of attendees at a function.

  1. Interactive Exhibits: An exhibit that engages attendees who interact directly with the display components, simulations, or multi-media elements.

  1. (MC) Master of Ceremonies/Emcee: The person/personality who presides over or hosts the program.

  1. Moderator: The person who presides over forums and panel discussions.

  1. On-Site Registration: Attendees sign up for the event on the day of (or at the site of) the event.

  1. Open Seating: The scenarios in which 1) guests can sit anywhere, 2) Extra tables are placed but not fully set so they can be prepared quickly in the case of extra guests.

  1. Pacing: The rate of activity (within the schedule or within an activity). Makes for a realistic balance that accounts for travel time, social events, rest, etc.

  1. RFP (Request for Proposals): A document that stipulates what services the organization wants from an outside contractor and requests a bid to perform such services.

  1. Run-Through: An entire rehearsal that includes all the elements of event production, with everything from presentations and music performances to audio-visual and technical aspects.

  1. Sightlines: The actual (or virtual) lines in the venue that describe what parts of a set are visible from a given audience member’s point of view.

  1. Speaker Ready Room: The area set aside for speakers to meet, relax, prepare, or test their A/V prior to delivering a presentation.

  1. Technical Director: The person who calls the cues from the control room.

We love event professionals. To prove it, we’ve also put together a free white paper on event app promotion to make life a little easier for all of you (click the button below)!

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