How to Build a Basic Supply Kit for Seminars and Conferences

Event planners spend a lot of time preparing for their events but at times can overlook the small things they - or their clients - may need the day of the actual event. A great event planner never arrives at an event empty-handed. One way to avoid the last-minute emergency trip to the store for a basic corporate event need is to build a supply kit that will go with you wherever you go. Whether you're setting up for a seminar, conference, or another type of event, your event planner supply kit should help you out in a bind. Here are a few items you'll want to keep your kit.

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Clear Pastic Storage Box

Stocking your supply kit is something every event planner needs to have at the top of their checklist.
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We'll begin with the storage box itself. It's important to purchase a storage supplies box that isn't too large but has enough depth to hold a range of supplies. A clear plastic storage box is extremely helpful for this purpose and, as such, can hold many different items.

The challenge is finding a supplier who has something that's just the right size to hold larger items, such as tape dispensers, without feeling like you're lugging around a huge storage box to every event you attend. You might succeed with boxes or tubs with the following dimensions: 5.87" high x 10.62" wide x 16.12" deep.

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Box Cutter

Using utility knife to open box.
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Event and meeting planners ship an incredible amount of material in boxes for each event. Even a small seminar for 35 people will often require opening a dozen cardboard boxes of supplies. Depending on what's being shipped, sometimes promotional and other items are shipped in smaller boxes within those boxes. This is where a box cutter will come in handy.

Some people like the larger, bulky box cutters that allow for a strong grip. Generally speaking, you're usually just cutting through tape on the outside of boxes. For your event supply kit, lightweight is almost always the best choice. 

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Mailing and Storage Tape with Dispenser

A good supply of packing tape makes event cleanup much easier.
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Just as important as the box cutter is the mailing tape and storage dispenser. After the event concludes, everything must be re-boxed and shipped back to the office or the next event location.

A tape gun is generally too large for most needs, but a handheld dispenser is extremely easy to use and gets the job done. Pack one role with a dispenser into your kit, and this will make preparation for shipping with ease.

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A well-stocked event supply box will come in handy during the event.
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It seems like an item that may not get much use, but scissors are extremely important for cutting everything from poorly stitched table cloths with exposed threads to last-minute purchases that need price tags removed.

A pair of classic 5" scissors will fit comfortably in the box (plus it will be lighter weight). Most scissors available at office supplies stores are slightly larger at around eight inches. Find a pair made of a good quality stainless steel as they will last through basic wear and tear.

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Name Tags or Badges

Blank name badges save the day with last-minute changes to the guest list.
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One of the last items to be produced before any corporate event is the guest name badges. That's because many people confirm and/or decline invitations at the last minute, which requires that meeting planners wait until the last possible hour to produce the name tags in order to not under or over order.

Inevitably there will be names may be spelled wrong, and some folks will arrive unannounced. For those situations, it's easiest to have a supply of blank name tags for people to simply write their names. If you are a bit of an overachiever, you can also bring along blank name tags that have the company or association logo laser printed to give a more polished and professional look to the "emergency" name tag. We like keeping 3" x 4" (the most popular size) on hand at all times.

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Sharpie Markers and Highlighters

Highlighters are an essential supply box item.
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Keeping a supply of markers and highlighters around is helpful in many situations for event planners. Most of you don't need me to flag the obvious uses for highlighting items in event notebooks, etc. However, it's interesting to consider the external requests you may receive when a highlighter will be handy.

For example, corporate executives and others generally arrive prepared for their own presentations and usually have notes pages pre-printed. ​Presenters will often rely on the meeting planner to provide housekeeping and other messages that any of the presenters may need to convey. I've written out those items in some cases directly on notes pages and highlighted in non-traditional colors like orange to make these situations stand out.

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Pens and Pencils

Extra pens are always useful in the guest registration area.

In the same vein, it's never a bad idea to bring a couple of extra boxes of both pens and pencils to your event. The meeting or event planner is usually expected to have these supplies on hand, not only for themselves, but for presenters,​ attendees, and even event staff.