As the pace of our world has picked up, the popularity of seminars has risen along with it. Rather than sifting through mammoth piles of research, seminars allow you to absorb the same information in a condensed form, straight from the minds of the experts. If you’d like to harness this powerful medium, the following five tips will set you up for success.
1. Set the scene
From the beautifully designed fabric media wall banners that greet your attendees to the audio-visual equipment you use to jazz up your presentations, scene-setting is one of the most important foundational elements of any seminar.
You want to create a professional experience that makes your guests feel confident that they’re in good hands. This involves selecting a conveniently located venue that suits your projected numbers while offering wi-fi and all the other infrastructure you need. The best venues usually have a list of vendors and caterers they prefer, meaning if you select your seminar location well, the rest of your planning should start falling into place easily.
2. Assemble your seminar speakers
Research speakers who suit the theme of your seminar. When you contact them, be sure to let them know the exact date, the subject matter being covered, the length you’re hoping to have them speak for, and the compensation offered. It’s worth having a list of backup speakers you can go to if you have any last-minute cancellations. However, keep in mind, the speakers are the heart of your seminar, so choose wisely. Don’t take a chance on people who have a reputation for being unreliable, and don’t skimp on compensation (if that might be an issue for you, the next point will help).
3. Hunt for sponsors
The costs of running a high-quality seminar can add up quickly, but you can mitigate this by creating a mutually beneficial arrangement with sponsors, offering them publicity in exchange for covering some of the costs. To do this, start by determining what you can offer to sweeten the deal. Then research similar seminars and companies related to your industry to compile a list of people to contact with your offer. Start by testing out your persuasive email copywriting skills to reach out to professionals in your industry, then follow up with phone calls.
4. Build a website or social media presence
Depending on the size of your seminar, you may not need to go all out with a website. However, you should, at the very least, create a social media page for people to visit, gain information, RSVP, ask questions, and start discussions with other attendees. This also offers you an easy way to send out invites and add value for your sponsors. Be sure to add regular updates and captivating posts to keep people interested.
5. Rehearse & Test
Rehearsals aren’t just for theatre productions. Though it may seem strange to run a rehearsal seminar, you’ll be glad you did when the AV tech discovers there’s a cable missing from the set-up, or you realize your introductory speech is far too long. Though your specific issues may be different, there’s guaranteed to be something, and you’re far better off discovering it in a rehearsal than on the day. Even just testing out the technology to make sure it’s ship-shape will go a long way to ensuring things run smoothly on the day.
There are, of course, many finer details that must be attended to when planning a seminar. However, these five steps are your cornerstones. Set them in place, and you will have an unshakeable framework around which to design the rest of your event.