Creating a Task Calendar for a Big Trade Show Event


Big trade events come hand in hand with big deadlines. There are so many things to keep track of! One slip and it has a cascading effect on all other tasks leading up to the event.

It is important to make the entire planning process extremely systematic and scientific. To make doubly sure that the exhibitor is on top of things, creating a task calendar is a good idea.

What is a Task Calendar and How Does It Help?

A task calendar is a pictorial overview of what needs to be done before the big day. It involves complete mapping of all of the tasks involved, as well as deadlines for each of the events leading up to the main trade show. It also shows who is responsible for each of the events and who needs to be pulled up if it is not done.

How to Make a Task Calendar

Break Down Large Items

To get started, the exhibitor needs to first take a look at what their specific desired outcomes are for the trade event. Next, the large items can be divided further into smaller, achievable tasks. Let’s take an example.

Are you looking at generating more leads? If so, do you have attractive and branded giveaways in place? Is there a game or contest planned to get more sign ups? Is the activation agency on board already?

It is important to think detailed. Something as trivial as stationery needs to be assigned to someone as a task. If not, it will be left out at the last minute in all the anxiety that builds up prior to the show.

Assign Priorities to Tasks

Not all tasks are created equal. There are high and low priority activities. There may be a very important activity that can be moved around. For instance, you won’t miss the boat if the date for email invites is missed by a day or two.

But there are other activities that need to be completed on or before a certain date, no matter what. For instance, booking booth space before the early bird offer closes is extremely important. Similarly, booking a rental trade show booth before they are completely sold out is crucial.

Thus priority levels need to be correctly assigned to each of the tasks so that the exhibitor is aware of deadlines which can or cannot be missed.

Plan for Risk

Finally, while creating a task calendar, always account for what can go wrong. Planning for risk helps avert potential delays. It is best to have 3 views on every task deadline – pessimistic, realistic and optimistic.

And there needs to be a back up plan for every worst case scenario. Lets us look at a few examples. Have you budgeted for logistical delay? Have you accounted for payment issues? Being better prepared for risks makes the final event that much smoother, so always look ahead.


One critical task on every exhibitor’s list is booking trade show booths. Exponents can help you tackle that piece just as desired, on time!