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.

The perfect gala dinner requires a lot of planning and preparation to ensure that each element comes together seamlessly on the night. From building your guest list and setting your budget to choosing the right sponsors and fundraising activities, you’ll want everything to align to make sure the night goes to plan and that it’s everything you had visualised at the beginning of the planning process.

It can take several months and even upwards of a year to plan a gala dinner. The best way to keep the planning process on track is to put in place an event plan and timeline. Each gala dinner is different, but here is a general timeline of tasks that can help to keep the event planning process on track.

8-12 months before the event

Establish the what and why of your gala dinner and complete the groundwork.

  • Define the event’s purpose
  • Set your budget
  • Identify your fundraising methods e.g. ticketing, silent auction, raffle
  • Select a date and choose a venue
  • Look for sponsors or partners for the night
  • Plan activities, select speakers and book entertainment
  • Choose a theme

3-6 months before the event

Get the wheels in motion and spread the word.

  • Arrange your audiovisual plan and equipment for the night
  • Promote the event, for example via social media, radio or newspapers
  • Confirm speaker arrangements and finalise your entertainment
  • Check for any special venue provisions e.g. wheelchair access, parking arrangements and transport information
  • Start building an attendee list
  • Organise fundraising activities for the night
  • Book catering
  • Send invitations

2-3 months before the event

Establish on-the-night requirements, ramp up event promotion.

  • Organise decorations and table settings
  • Select food
  • Continue to promote the event, for example release special announcements to the press for media coverage
  • Arrange seat planning

1 week before the event

Finalise everything.

  • Finalise guest list and send an event reminder
  • Brief the team for duties on the night
  • Finalise seating plan and create place cards
  • Finalise guest numbers and send to caterers and partners.

1 day before the event

Get ready.

  • Conduct an audiovisual test
  • Make sure auction items, prizes or gifts are on site
  • Make sure everything is prepared for the night
  • Finalise run sheet

The day of the event

Manage the night and enjoy your hard work!

  • Decorate event space and tables
  • Hand out seating charts, the guest list and run sheet to your team
  • Make sure guests arrive
  • Keep the event running to time and deal with any issues as/if they arise
  • Enjoy the night!

After the event

Thank your guests and share the night with the world.

  • Send thank you cards to your guests
  • Finalise fundraiser and make sure participants received gifts or prizes
  • Share event photos
  • Develop an event evaluation outlining your successes and what you can improve on next time

Need to get your AV or staging prepared for your next gala event? We can help. Contact us today.