How long does it take to plan a seminar?

Recently, we wrote about how to hold a successful seminar, but it’s also important to know how long it usually takes to organise a seminar. Whether you are planning to host a seminar for the first time, or you have held many before, it’s always handy to have a checklist and clear plan of what you need to achieve success.

So, what do you need to know to plan your seminar and how long will it take?

6 months prior to your seminar

Establish your goals for the seminar

  • What is the purpose of the seminar? Think about why you are running the event and what will the attendees get out of it.
  • How many people would you like to attend? You may wish to take into account the amount of people who may be interested to attend your event virtually. This is a great way to increase your numbers but means you need to consider technological requirements.
  • What profit would you like to make? This will affect how much you spend and how you set ticket pricing and sponsorship packages (if applicable). Look at budgets from previous years for advice.

Select a venue and date

  • Think about where your attendees will be coming from and choose a venue that is convenient and also within budget. Since you have set a goal of how many people you would like to attend, this may help narrow down your venue choices.
  • Speak with the venues about which dates they have available and choose what you think will be most appropriate.
  • If you plan to webcast your seminar, confirm the venue has wifi available and check the speed and quality to avoid dissatisfied virtual attendees.
  • Ask if the venue has preferred suppliers or in-house vendors for things like audiovisual (AV) and catering, and what the pricing structure and contractual agreements are with those companies.

3 months out

Research and select your speakers

Research is important to choose the right speaker, to give the right message at your seminar. Look into previous presentations your favourite speakers have given and contact them to see if they are available and willing to present.

Consider what you need to deliver to reflect your goals

Now you know when and where your event will be held, and what your seminar will discuss, you need to decide how this will be conveyed.

  • Consider the style of room setup. Will the seminar be highly interactive with ballroom roundtables or will it be presentation style where a classroom setup will suffice?
  • How long will setup and packdown take? Does the venue have certain requirements?
  • What are your AV needs? Will you need handheld microphones for questions? Will your speakers need lapel microphones? Will you need many big screens? Put a request in for the AV equipment you will need.
  • Draft the agenda. Think about the start and finish times, meal times and what times each of your speakers will be presenting, including how long they will speak. You can use your agenda, once finalised, to increase your marketing and promotional efforts via social media and printed materials.

Organise your website and promote your event

Now you have a clear topic in mind and a venue and date, you can start encouraging your target attendees to register to attend. If you have confirmed your speakers then you can use these as a promotional tool to encourage your attendees to register. Consider offering early-bird rates to secure those initially interested.

1 month out

  • Apply for any special permits.
  • Organise a menu with the caterers.
  • Start designing your signage for the event.
  • Organise an event runsheet for the day including what time your suppliers can enter the room and start setting up.
  • Organise your shipping arrangements for big materials that cannot be personally delivered to the venue.

2 weeks out

  • Confirm all external parties involved including AV, catering, decorations and speakers. Ensure each of these groups know what they need to bring on the day and see if they have any questions.
  • Confirm your shipping arrangements – know when and where your items will be picked up and dropped off.

The day before

Write a checklist and stick to it. Think about what you need to pack to bring to the event, like attendee badges, printed programs, writing materials and what you will need to setup and organise on the day. Make sure all relevant people have a copy of the event runsheet.

This timeline will help you organise your next seminar by providing a solid plan. AVPartners serve as the preferred in-house AV suppliers to a variety of venues across Australia and can assist with lighting, audiovisual requirements and event theming and styling. If you would like help with your next seminar, contact us today.