Do you know what  'bump in' or 'foldback' means? Like most industries, event planning has its own language that sounds completely foreign to outsiders. If you’re staging your first corporate event, learning the lingo helps you stay on top of the game. Here’s a list of some of the most common terms.

AV contractor or technician

AV stands for audio-visual equipment, such as lighting, sound engineering and projectors. An AV contractor supplies this for you and the AV technician is on-site to help you run it all.

Attrition rate

The attrition rate measures the number of attendees who’ve actually shown up at your event, as opposed to those who’ve registered. As an example, if 500 people accept invitations, but only 300 attend, the attrition rate for your event would be 40%.

Back of house

Whenever anyone refers to ‘back of house’, it means areas such as kitchens, backstage, offices or dressing rooms. Basically, these areas are those for event staff only.

Blanket licence

When you’re organising public performances of music, you may need to obtain a blanket licence to authorise the reproduction of certain tracks.

Bump in and bump out

Bump in occurs prior to your corporate function and it’s the term used for loading equipment, preparing stages and generally pre-organising the set-up. Bump out works in the reverse when your function is over.

Call times

Call times are important for all events revolving around entertainment. They are the scheduled times for speakers or performers to get ready to go on stage.

Directional signage

 Directional signage refers specifically to signs for health and safety and the smooth running of an event. These signs take the form of maps or arrows directing staff and guests to exits, entrances and various events.

Fade in and fade out

Lighting and music are all-important for atmosphere during your event, so you’ll hear the terms ‘fade in’ and ‘fade out’ with regard to everything from stage shows to ambient lighting. It’s the gradual increase or decrease of light or sound.


Flats are basically temporary walls and you’ll find them at a range of events. They’re used for building sets, creating exhibition stands, highlighting products and separating space.


At any event featuring guest speakers or performers using sound systems, foldback speakers are necessary to ensure the people on stage can hear themselves.

Green room

A green room is a back of house place for anyone who’s required to perform or speak at your function. It serves as a spot to take a break or prepare.

Production manager

If you’re holding a small function, the production manager could be you! If not, you’ll certainly come to rely on them as the person who brings all the elements together to ensure success.

Run sheet

Run sheets are crucial, especially for large or complex events with a lot going on. Everyone has a copy of the run sheet. This lists the sequence of action and individual responsibilities from opening to closing, as well as important contact numbers in case of issues during the event.

The event planning ‘dictionary’ includes many more terms. However, this list gives you a good head start for your next corporate function, to sound like one of the pros! And if you're looking for event catering in Sydney talk to us. Our hot dog cart offers an easy and delicious catering experience for events large and small.