The seminar is a special professional event with organisational principles of its own. It aims to train and inform participants on a specific topic or theme. Despite the specificities of such an event, organising one is not so difficult! Everything is a matter of planning and forecasting. If you don’t know where to start to ensure everyone has a good time at your seminar, following these few steps will show you the way forward.
1. Know your goals
Defining the seminar’s goals is a critical first step. You must be able to give a clear answer to the question: why are we organising this seminar? Once this question is answered, you should know what you are expecting from the event. Based on these elements you will develop a concrete action plan. Defining the event’s goals beforehand will allow you to know exactly what type of seminar to organise, and therefore succeed in its organisation. Some seminars, for example, will have team-building as the main objective, others will be used to train new hires or celebrate an increase in revenues, etc. From the main goal, several secondary goals will follow — you should then prioritise them so as to best manage them one by one.
2. Define who your attendees are
Several stakeholders should be considered when you organise this type of event. Firstly, you will need to determine the target you are aiming for. This step will be critical in your event planning. Your main target is everyone who is directly concerned and affected by the main theme of the seminar. Nevertheless, when we talk about participants in this particular case, they are not limited to those attending the seminar, but also include the speakers. Once you have identified the information to convey and who will convey it, it is time to find the people who will share this information. It is often advisable to choose only one speaker to ensure good flow and a logical continuity in the way ideas are presented. But if that cannot be the case, do not hesitate to involve more people.
3. Make budget forecasts
The substance of your event has been defined, it is now time to know how the available resources will be used to shape the format according to your wishes. This is where the budget forecast comes in. The budget is based on the first two steps as well as various financial constraints. Once the goals are prioritised, you must assess the means necessary to achieve said goals. Each one will require financial resources. It will therefore be necessary to ensure that all planned expenditures do not exceed the incomes allocated to them. Our last advice on the budget is to always plan a margin of error for potential unforeseen expenses.
4. Choose the right date
The time has come to set the perfect date for your seminar. The different date options must be carefully assessed to prevent guests from being unavailable. You will need to choose a date when the majority of the participants will be available. Avoid periods when your target audience is likely to be on holidays, or bank holidays and national celebration days. Before setting a definitive date, it is also important to ask participants if they are available.
5. Find a suitable venue
An event’s venue should be chosen based on several criteria. The first is capacity. Capacity here means the number of people the room can hold, leaving the room airy and not too crowded. Then, the second criterion to consider is the location. If you are organising a seminar for people from your office, it is not necessary to choose the most remote venue in the city even if you want to be original, especially when the guests pay for their own transport. Access to the seminar should also be easy, without having to search for hours, wandering from one floor to another or from one building to another. Once you have found a place that seems appropriate, you really must visit it. A few photos or some brochures will not show you the real state of the venues at that time. Better to be cautious.
6. Use an online registration solution
Using an online registration solution will help you lighten your workload. It will allow you to easily manage registrations to the seminar and even sell your tickets online. The importance of such a solution is paramount in the success of the organisation of your seminar. That’s why you need to make sure that the online registration solution you choose is easy to use, quick to roll-out, and has many features to help you manage your registrations.
7. Organise activities
When you organise a seminar, always think about planning the activities that will take place during the event chronologically. Detailed planning must be done days or weeks in advance. To ensure that the plan is carried out correctly, you will need to do some rehearsals and all the necessary checks before the event itself. You will also have to plan some breaks with food and drinks, including a margin of error for all activities to avoid being caught off guard by any unexpected circumstance.
8. One guiding principle: Communication
Communication will determine the image and the scope of your event. The bigger the event, the more communication you will need. You must follow-up with your audience (your online registration solution may allow you to do this automatically) at least once before the seminar takes place. A follow-up must be sent at least a week before the seminar — it will allow you to have a better estimate of the number of participants at the seminar (through the responses collected), in addition to reminding the participants of the upcoming event. You can communicate via your mini-site or website, but also using social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.). Nevertheless, your communication work does not stop there. Indeed, after the seminar, it will be essential to send a report of the seminar — if any — as well as emails to thank the participants, and to collect their feedback and opinion.
You now have the essential tips for organising a successful seminar. Plan, schedule, and always have a good management solution at your side for your events to make your tasks easier, as well as those of your participants.
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