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Planning a Conference Seminar Event
Planning a Conference Seminar Event: Your Roadmap to Success
A corporate training or seminar is an educational meeting that may be held within a larger conference. The seminar might last half a day or a full day, while the conference might span several days. A conference might even feature several seminars on different topics. Event planning for a conference seminar should begin many months in advance, to allow time for promotion, securing speakers, and getting all the details right.
One of your first steps in planning your corporate seminar should be determining your audience. Ask yourself who will be attending the conference—what career level are they at, what challenges do they face, what are their aspirations? Also determine whether your target audience for the seminar is a specific subset of the conference attendees, such as mid-level executives.
Since a conference seminar encompasses a substantial chunk of the total conference time, be sure to focus the event on a topic that’s highly relevant to conference attendees. Ask yourself what your target audience needs to know to succeed in their careers and take their organizations to the next level. If you’re speaking to future leaders, for example, they might need to know how to increase their influence. Make sure that focus fits with the theme of the conference, and that it’s distinct from the other sessions being offered, which means communicating closely with the person who is developing the agenda.
If you’re not organizing the conference as a whole, collaborate with the conference organizers to select a venue with a space that’s just right for your seminar. Get involved early on in the planning so you’ll have a say in choosing the venue. Make sure the venue has a room with good acoustics that’s the ideal size for your target number of attendees. A room that’s too large won’t create the intimate atmosphere that works well for a small group. Make sure the space features the type of audiovisual equipment you’ll need for the seminar, if multimedia will be used.
Choosing the right presenter(s) for your conference seminar is key to planning an event that inspires. You need a person who is not only experienced, but who resonates with the audience members and inspires them to push themselves further. The right presenter has an attitude and stage presence that delivers. As when choosing a keynote speaker, watch videos of potential presenters speaking and ask whether they have expertise in your chosen topic.
Make sure that if the seminar targets a particular subgroup of attendees, it takes place at a time when other attendees will be occupied with other activities. Likewise, make sure it doesn’t overlap with panels that would greatly interest your target audience. People won’t be able to make every session that interests them, but making an effort to space things out as well as possible will help attendees get the most out of the conference. Again, communicate closely with the person developing the agenda to make sure your seminar falls at the best possible time.
After you’ve finalized event details, promote the seminar and conference in trade magazines and other publications that your target audience reads. Reach out to associations they belong to, asking them to send information about the conference and seminar via their listserves. Promote the event via relevant social media outlets, and don’t neglect word of mouth, reaching out to personal contacts throughout your field.
When planning a conference seminar event, prepare a timeline for all of your preparatory work. Keep it loose enough that it won’t need to be completely reworked if you get slightly behind. However, make your timeline structured enough that you know the major tasks that must be completed each month and, as you get closer to the event, each week. Remember to delegate as many tasks as possible so you can keep a big-picture view and be available to fill any gaps that arise. Minimizing your stress level with good preparation will help ensure a successful event.
Copyright © 2012 Joel Garfinkle, All Rights Reserved. Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S., and the author of 7 books, including Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. He has worked with many of the world’s leading companies, including Google, Deloitte, Amazon, Ritz-Carlton, Gap, Cisco, Oracle, and many more. Subscribe to his Fulfillment at Work Newsletter and receive the FREE e-book, "41 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!"
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