I am a big believer of the 7 Ps, "Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance." With that being said, there most likely, will be a mishap or two when planning an event. However, having a venue walk-through can alleviate the stress that can arise from last minute mistakes. Here are three to dos to ensure a great performance.
1. Assemble all the major players: Get everyone together who will play a part at the event at the walk-through. The GM (General manager) of the venue, the venue's A/V person, the PR team and the event team. The GM will be able to answer questions regarding staff, layout, do's and don'ts, etc. The A/V person can answer technical setup questions.
2. Know the venue: This is where you ask all the pertinent questions of the venue. The layout is always a common issue, such as too many chairs/tables, Also ask about setup and tear down (is there an extra charge), is there another event after yours that would require your guests to leave immediately after the event, etc.
3. Put yourself in the guests' shoes: Begin the walk-through from the entrance the guests will walk through. Walk through as if you were a guest arriving, visualizing where they will go, what they will do next. Importantly, where will there be any bottlenecks and how to minimize. For example, you may not want to place a bar close to the entrance of a room where guests will gather.
After the walk, it is a good idea to ascertain if the goal for the event can be met at the particular venue.
Tip: If you have not yet come up with a theme, your creative juices may be stirred while envisioning the event and its purpose during the walk. Happy walk-through!