Talks Guide

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This document aims to provide a comprehensive list of just how to run a CSC talk from start to finish. Try to keep sections orthogonal, so that a different person could do each part knowing only that the previous part was completed correctly. This will probably not be the case for the first few drafts, but it is a good goal. Ideally the same person will do all the correspondence with the speaker, sections that have someone talking to the speaker are marked with a *. The sections are roughly in order of doing things, with earlier sections usually done before later ones.

Finding a Speaker*

There are many ways to do this: Talks has a list of cool people. You can expand it by asking club members, professors, and watching various tech news sites. Ask the current membership, progcom, and faculty advisor what they think and make a choice. This is part of the fun of putting on talks, you get to choose who to invite. Send out a few at once as not everyone can come when invited, and don't be discouraged if you get a No.

In the posters git repository there is club letterhead, use this to create a nice snail mail invitation letter, and follow through with an e-mail about a month later to make sure the letter was received. Letters can be sent from MathSoc, put a natural log stamp in the lower left corner and place it in the outbox, postage will be handled. Save a copy of your letter in the speaker correspondence folder in FC1.

When you get a reply from the speaker, put it in the speaker correspondence folder with the initial send out. If they said yes, create a temporary folder with the speaker's name on it for arranging talk details and a copy of the reply there as well, as it probably has details about the date. Work with the speaker to get rough dates set for travel and talk, put these in the folder with the stuff.

At this time you should also try to get tentative titles and abstracts, place them in the talk folder.

Obtaining Funding

Depending on who you're applying to for funds this can be done before or after a speaker is found. MEF likes to know who and when, SCS will give you vague funding as will MathSoc. Consult the various guides for obtaining funding. Be sure to budget for transport, lodging, possibly a gift, and food for your speaker as well as venue costs: recording (if we're having someone else do it), booking fees (if any), refreshments after (if any), AV fees (for AV gear if we have to pay it); and publicity costs, FedS poster runs, posters, banners, ads, etc. Be thorough in your budgeting, and be generous, you should be asking for a maximum, not an expectation. Place a copy of the budget in the relevant talk folder so everyone else working on the talk knows what is available and what their limits are.

Be sure to budget for any speaker's fee or honorarium a speaker may require.

A very good resource for obtaining funding from is the SCS out-of-town speaker fund. This fund is shared with WiCS, and is added to on a yearly basis. Before booking a speaker and planning to obtain funding from here, make sure to meet with WiCS to make sure it is possible to use this fund. Then, meet with SCS to begin the process. In F2015 our contact for the speaker fund was Anne Turnbull.

Booking Travel*

If the speaker has asked us to book travel for them and has given good times book the travel and pay for it through the relevant method There are university travel reimbursement forms that we can use to get paid back when dealing with people who aren't MathSoc. Try to just have one for the entire talk and keep it in the folder. When working with MathSoc have a MathSoc form in the folder. Print receipts and confirmation information and place it in the folder and send it along to the speaker. If the speaker is booking their own travel this section is irrelevant.

Booking Lodging*

If the speaker has asked us to book lodging for them make sure we can meet their requirements (and have budgeted appropriately, request more money if this is not the case) and make the reservation, put receipts in the folder, add it to the expense form (or start it, see previous) and send the information to the speaker.

Booking Transport*

The speaker will need to get around while in Waterloo. You can find someone with a car, a car service, have them cab it, or get them a rental. Make sure you've budgeted appropriately, make note of the arrangement in the folder, and inform the speaker. Also make necessary notes on the expense form (see previous).

You will also need to go to ICR and get a temporary parking pass for the relevant times. This can be obtained ahead of time and should be placed in the talk's folder.

Booking Venue

There are many places on campus to host a talk. You should try to estimate the size of your audience and book appropriately, well in advance, at least 3 weeks, some places require more.

Large theatres

There are the Humanities Theatre and Theatre of the Arts, which seat 721 and 504 respectively and can be booked by filing a Feds event form. By booking through Feds it seems you will not have to pay for booking a basic theatre setup. You can work with them to arrange various things like podiums, props, spotlight work, make sure they can meet your speaker's needs.


Donna Schell is the administrator in charge of booking most mainline classrooms on campus. E-mail or call her to book things. She can get you anything from an Arts Lecture hall (~300) or DC Lecture hall (~200) down to MC4062 (20). She is also very helpful about who to talk to if she doesn't control what you need.


SLC bookings go through the Turnkey desk who can be contacted here if you want the great hall or the multipurpose room or something.

MathSoc Space

MathSoc has a Comfy Lounge, the CnD Lounge, and the Balcony which can be booked by talking to them in their Exec office. The Comfy can be booked 6pm-2am M-F and 8am-2am Sat/Sun, or other times if the MathSoc Exec approves. Watch out for MathSoc Movie and Games nights, these tend to take the comfy on Wednesday and Thursday nights. The CnD lounge has the same weekend hours and CnD close to 2am during the week, and again MathSoc Exec can override. At present the Balcony is closed, however a booking policy should show up soon. Check MathSoc policy 24 for more details.

MC 5th Floor

These bookings go through the Dean's Secretary usually at x33707 though you should check first. MC5158 and MC5136B are particularly nice looking rooms.

ICR Rooms

We can't actually book these (sad). Talk to our Faculty advisor to book them, these are best booked far in advance. The same process applies for the fishbowl, if you want a reception afterwards.


Call Cheryl at x32191 if you want to book CSCF Labs in MC. Have the room number ready, as she doesn't have a list of what labs are what. For reference: MC2038 is the big Unix Lab by the loading dock, MC3003 is the Digimon lab (big Mac lab). If you want a smaller one just check.


See Publicity Guide for how to publicize events in general. Use the talk folder to hold draft posters, photocopy them and place them in the poster box to send them out. You should really read the publicity guide though, theres a lot more than just posters.

Arrange Refreshments

The Math CnD can cater things at somewhat reasonable rates if you would like to take a traditional tack and serve tea and doughnuts at talks. They require booking in advance, talk to the CnD manager to get a form. Other options are to arrange pizza or stuff from Timmies. Whatever you do make appropriate note in the talk folder and save a copy of the request/invoice/receipt there.

Preparing AV

AV can record talks, they also have keys to the podium for projectors and other AV equipment that is useful. Anything needed from them should be booked two weeks in advanced, and planned for so that there is budget. MathSoc is another fine provider of AV equipment. We also have some of our own AV gear.

Talk Recording

Before going through hoops make sure the speaker consents to a recording. Most do, but its not only polite to ask, legally you have to.

To book a talk recording call Media Production. They can be kind of hard to work with at times but they produce good results ish? Recording costs about $30+materials, and you can get the results as a DVD or on miniDV.

Alternately we have a camera, you can record the talk yourself. It lives in the safe, with auxiliary materials in FC2 and a tripod on the gear shelf by MathSoc. Part of the auxiliary materials is a wireless mic, have the speaker wear it and hook it up to the camera. Make sure it has fresh batteries, and if you can hook the camera up to an outlet for the talk. Try to get the speaker and the slides (DC1302 is particularly good for this) and check the white balance and lighting before hand. Set up about ten minutes before the talk to get everything squared away with the speaker. Bring extra tape just in case, and be sure the tape is rewound.

Presentation Equipment

Projectors are in classrooms under the control of AV, we can book a key from them through our faculty advisor, talk to them about this. Also talk to the faculty advisor about getting access to the projectors in ICR rooms. Of the 5th floor rooms only MC5158 has a projector, but it is freely available. If you're in a theatre talk to the stage manager, they'll take care of it. If for some reason a room doesn't have a projector one can be booked from MathSoc. For other AV gear talk to AV as we don't use it often and don't really know where to get it. Another option is FedS but this has not been researched.

Find a Photographer

While we haven't been doing this it would be nice to have photographs from the talks, of the audience, of the exec with the speaker, etc. beyond just stills from the camera that was rolling during the talk. Find someone to take these pictures and make sure they'll be there.

Holding the Talk*

This is where all the preparation comes together. If you followed all the previous this part should be easy. The person generally in charge of the talk (who is usually also the person talking to the speaker, but equally usually the veep) should meet the speaker (if they haven't been met already) and make sure they're around a half hour before hand or so. Get to the room as early as the booking allows and set up. Whoever is handling AV should either make sure the UWAV person has everything they need to record or set up the camera and check it out with the speaker. Make sure the speaker's AV presentation needs are tended to. Check with the refreshments person to ensure they will arrive when you want them to. Give the crowd time to settle, and when they have introduce the speaker. Enjoy the talk. After the speaker is done applaud, then stand up and thank them for their work, give them a gift if you have one. Offer the audience refreshments and invite them to informal discussion after the talk with the speaker (either in the same room or in some lobby type place, depending on size). Invite the speaker out to dinner if you have not already (this is after the informal discussion). Ensure the speaker's expenses have been tended to. Get a photo with the exec and the speaker. Clean up the room and lock things.


Once a talk is over things aren't done. Equipment needs to be returned, accounts settled, video encoded and uploaded, etc.


First, return any borrowed equipment/keys. If the talk has been recorded, follow Talk Archive and Talk Publication to archive and publicize the talk. If you put it on the website advertise it on Slashdot, Reddit, etc. whatever is popular these days. We can usually get to the front page and get all sorts of epic press.

Settling Accounts

Make sure that people have been paid back, and that money has been collected from financiers. If you tracked things well in the talk folder it should be one form that the Treasurer can take and deal with, and file away.


In addition to video archive make sure that all the steps of Talk Archive are followed to create an archive entry for the talk.

Settling with the speaker*

Send them a letter of thanks on letterhead. Remind them that we would enjoy their presence again if they would like to return. Ask them if they would like a copy of our archive entry and send it if they ask for it.