Planning

Checklist

A great place to start is having a checklist. You can visit Microsoft’s template site or just “google” seminar checklists to find a checklist template.

Determine your target audience

Knowing your target market is vital in planning your seminar. Your target market will influence the location you choose, the meal selection, the date and time of your event, the registration fee and more.

Write down goals for the seminar

Develop a budget

A budget is a great tool to keep you on track and help you make decisions. If you have a small budget, you don’t want to purchase extravagant meeting rooms and slick brochures. (Remember, quality is important).

Create a draft agenda

Nail down the date

Nail the date as soon as possible. In selecting your date, there are weekdays and months to keep in mind. Also, make sure you are not competing against a huge event; know you target market. What’s the best day, time or month?

If your focus is the corporate market (the company is paying the bill), Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days for seminars.

However, working with public events is different story. I’ve conducted and attended  bootcamp events targeting the public -on weekends. In many cases, people prefer to attend events for their own personal development during non-working hours. This why it pays to know your target market.

Site Selection

There are many choices – Conference center, hotel space, recreation center space, churches.

Go view the facility, if possible, during the time you are planning to have your event. While planning my last seminar, I visited the hotel on a Saturday morning at 8:00 am.

Contracts

Read the fine print

Snacks and Meals

This area can blow your budget out of the water if you don’t plan properly. Be sure snacks and meals are factored into your registration cost. Unless, you have sponsors signed up to take care of these items. There are two snack options:

Option 1 – Have no snacks at all. If you are planning a half-day or shorter meeting, you can get away with this. Most conference facilities usually provide water and glasses. Some even have an onsite deli or sandwich bar.

Option 2 – Let the hotel handle it. This is what I call the worry free option. You choose the period for snacks. My preference is to have snacks available during the registration period. Depending on your budget, you can have snacks in the beginning and during the break(s).

Meal time for all day meetings are important. You can work with your meeting facility to cater the meal. Again, make sure this is factored into your registration cost. If you are on a tight budget don’t be surprised at the costs associated with the meals. There are service fees attached.

There is a cost effective solution for getting around the catering costs. Declare meal time as “On Your Own” and provide your attendees with a list of nearby restaurants. Do your homework before adding establishments to recommended list. A few years ago I went to a seminar with an “on your own” lunch program.

The select restaurants on the recommended list were of the high dollar variety. Let me tell me that some participants were shocked at the prices of these locations. So for the next day several of us talked with the locals and found other places to eat.

Equipment

As you work  through your planning, it is important to create a list of equipment requirements. The requirements will differ depending on the style of your programs. Here are few standard items you may choose to have on your list:

Laptop
Projector
Screen
Flip Chart
Extension Cord

Over time you will have an idea of what is needed to produce your event.