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How to Organize a Seminar or an Event

By Matt Bacak Seminars and events have always been implemented as a holistic experience for participants. Thus, organizing a seminar or an event requires extensive planning and preparation, with most work implemented at least a...

By Matt Bacak

Seminars and events have always been implemented as a holistic experience for participants. Thus, organizing a seminar or an event requires extensive planning and preparation, with most work implemented at least a few months before the actual event. Most of the time, seminars seem to run like clockwork, with all events flowing smoothly according to schedule. In reality, however, much groundwork has been done to develop the right atmosphere and ensure a beneficial experience for participants.

1. Establishing the Theme of the Event

Each event follows a theme and purpose that drives the event set-up, target audience, guests, and marketing approach. A business event, such as an international conference for a particular industry, appeals to participants conducting businesses within that industry, as well as sponsors who gain mileage from publicizing their products during the event.

The event theme also determines the marketing channels used for publicity. It helps the seminar marketing team correctly identify target participants and companies to sell the event to.

2. Selecting a Venue

Venue selection depends on the scale of the event. A seminar with 100-200 participants can be comfortably implemented in a hotel seminar room, possibly in a theater-style or classroom setting. However, larger-scale events with 500-1000 participants may require a large hall, ballroom, auditorium, or convention center.

The location and quality standard of the venue are also important, especially if the event involves VIP participation. A reputable location with good quality and a wide range of seminar facilities is imperative. It's wise to explore multiple venues and examine their suitability, services, ambiance, and costs before making a decision.

3. Seminar Marketing and Publicity

Seminar marketing is the most critical and often most challenging task in organizing a seminar. The number of participants turning up for a seminar largely depends on the strength of marketing activities and publicity. The right marketing strategy and seminar positioning must be adopted to draw adequate event sign-ups.

Large budgets allow for above the line marketing, such as newspaper and magazine advertisements, radio and television advertising, and press releases. Print media should be copywritten with an enticing approach, highlighting the extensive benefits of participation.

If budget is a concern, below the line marketing techniques can also be effective. Mass faxing, telemarketing, mass emailing, and targeted database rentals are cost-efficient methods to reach the target audience.

4. Collaboration with Sponsors

Getting reputable sponsors to participate in an event boosts the credibility and reduces costs. Sponsors can help with marketing by publicizing the event to their customers. They may also provide exhibition space or publicity in exchange for venue rental. Some sponsors may even give away sample products or door gifts to participants.

5. Managing People and Working with Speakers

A seminar's success depends on the people running it and the speakers sharing their knowledge. Invite speakers who are reputable and will provide relevant information to the participants. Prepare the speakers beforehand and collaborate on their presentations and logistical requirements.

All events require a good team of people handling tasks such as registration, customer service, and financials. Familiarize the team with the event protocol to eliminate confusion. A project manager should control the team and ensure everyone carries out their duties efficiently.

6. Actual Day - Preparation, Registration, Ushering, Feedback

Most of the planning and preparation cascade to the actual event, which may last only a few hours or days. Visit the venue beforehand to ensure everything is in order. Check all equipment to be in excellent working order.

On the actual day, staff should be present at least 1 ½ hours before commencement. Registrations must be made at the door to ensure authorized access. Staff will be responsible for providing advice and help to participants. Collect feedback to determine the satisfaction level and gather ideas for future improvements.

We hope you found this article about organizing a seminar or an event helpful. For expert tax or family office advice that's refreshingly objective (we never sell investments), please contact us or visit our Family office page or our website at www.GROCO.com. Unfortunately, we no longer provide free advice to other tax professionals.

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Alan Olsen, CPA Alan Olsen, CPA

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