The seminar is perhaps the most common event that planners will organize. And most seminars are scheduled either as a ½ day or a full day. For those interested in creating a checklist for planning a seminar, the following offers a high level structure for planning and executing a seminar.
And for those who are planning a multi-day or multi-session conference, consider taking a similar approach. However, your seminar planning checklist will simply be longer.
1. Confirm the Purpose of the Event
Before conducting any research into venue selection, make sure you are familiar with the basic objectives behind the event:
- Who is the audience?
- What is the topic of the seminar?
- Where should be located?
- Why will people attend?
- What is the seminar’s agenda?
The Convention Industry Council has established a series of tools that should be viewed as an excellent source of best practices that will help the event or meeting planner to keep track of the details for planning events. With free download tools, it will help any event planner to create a list of relevant details. This includes, but isn’t limited to:
- Event profile (date, times, location, contacts, etc.)
- Event organizer/host contact information
- Supplier contact information
- Attendee profile
- Space needed
- Food and beverage
- A/V requirements
- Function/room setup
3. Create an Event Profile
Once a planner has some of the basic questions around the event covered, it’s time to research possible venues for the meeting. It’s important to work closely with the event organizer/host to determine the type of venue and where the seminar may be most convenient for both organizer and guest (the list of ideas can be endless):
- Local hotel Local conference facility Private restaurant space Private club Museum/art gallery
4. Outline Seminar Needs and Reqeuest Venue Proposals.
Most venues are happy to provide an estimate for a possible seminar. The catering or sales contact will need the following BEO information:
- Possible date(s) for the event
- Number of attendees
- Style of room setup (classroom, u-shape, etc.)
- Time of the event (account for setup/tear down)
- Food and beverage requirements
- A/V needs (including screens, mics, etc.)
- Room setup
Tip: Hire an A/V technician to be dedicated to your event from the hotel.
5. Confirm and/or Develop the Agenda
It is critical for the event planner to work closely with the event organizer/host because the event agenda will frequently change from the initial conversation until the actual day of the event. The event planner must be ready to adjust the plan and work closely with the venue to make sure everything runs smoothly.
6. Confirm the BEO Agreement
Once the planner knows the targeted number of attendees and logistic requirements for the seminar, he or she should secure the event space and related requirements. Most agreements should allow the planner an opportunity to reduce/increase food and beverage requirements up to a certain number of days prior to the event. However, many agreements will cap how much they will allow a group to reduce quantities, so estimate well.
7. Create Event Communications and Materials
This is an item that some planners may be involved with, while others may not. Essentially, some meeting planners will be responsible for each of the following:
- Creating event invitations
- Printing agenda and other material
- Securing attendee gifts/raffles
- Producing name badges
- Shipping event signage and displays
8. Work Closely with Event Host to Finalize Logistics
Prior to the event, there are a couple of important steps that a meeting planner completes prior to the event. This includes confirming the following:
- Event speakers
- Event A/V requirements
- Event attendee count
- Host roles and responsibilities
- Event materials needs (check multiple times)
9. Event Setup
Be sure to allow time in the BEO schedule for event setup, and it’s recommended to arrive approximately two hours prior to the event. Tip: If the seminar is scheduled in the morning, ask the venue sales contact to allow your group to setup the night before (but do not leave anything valuable in public site).
All event materials, handouts, signage, displays, gifts, registration tables, name badges and more must be ready for the event.
Warning: Speakers sometimes change slides the night before and provide new presentations that need to be added to the power point 10 minutes prior to the event.
10. Event Execution
After you’ve prepared, it’s time for the seminar. Expect the following:
- Some attendees will always arrive early.
- Some attendees will always arrive late.
- There is frequently some sort of technical glitch.