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20 Steps To Running Successful Seminars, Roadshows, Workshops And Events.

Running an event like a seminar, roadshow or workshop can be a complex project. Improve your chances of success by following these 20 steps drawn from the experience of professional event managers. 1. Be clear about the purpose of your event

What are you really attempting to do by running this event? Are you going for increased business, heightened awareness, referrals, cross marketing, skill improvement or team building. Maybe you are hoping to do all of the above in one hit. Take time out at the beginning of the project to write down exactly what this event is supposed to deliver and keep referring back to your Purpose Document throughout. 2. Assemble a great team

Surround yourself with excellence. Make sure that everyone who contributes to the research, design, marketing, delivery and follow-up of the event is the best you can find. Dont accept mediocrity otherwise it will reflect in every aspect of the event. 3. Find the perfect venue

Decide what you need a venue to provide in some detail before you start your search. Also consider what the choice of venue needs to say about the event; is it extravagant or cost-conscious, business-like or relaxed? 4. Pay attention to venue details

Book your chosen venue as early as possible; the best places are always popular. Get to know the venue team and contact them regularly to update them on changes to your agenda. Collect their marketing material to use in your own communications. Be

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pedantic about small details as well as the big issues. Food and refreshments catering can be a minefield; make sure your venue can cater for your delegates varied requirements. Decide if you want the venue to supply audio-visual equipment or whether you will source this elsewhere. 5. Make the event flow

Consider the event through the senses of your delegates. Design the proceedings to keep them interested, entertained and awake. Give your delegates time out to refresh themselves, to network and to reflect on the event itself. Produce a timetable to fill the time available and have contingency plans to deal with over- and under-running sessions. 6. Market your event actively and attractively Very importantly, make sure you are offering something that they

Use as many marketing techniques as you can to make your potential audience aware of what you are offering. need. Consider personal invitations, advertising in all media (including broadcast), posters, flyers, sponsorship; anything that gets details of your event in front of your potential audience at the point when they may be deciding about such things. Design a hook line that gets the reader or listener saying Yes and feature this prominently in your marketing material. Make sure your text recognizes their needs, the features and the benefits of your event. 7. Tell the story of your event

Every event has a story to tell. Most events are connected to current trends and will resonate with people. If there is a human interest angle, build this in to your story. Write the story as a press release and get yourself some free advertising by winning editorial space in trade publications, local and national press media.

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Use your network to maximize attendance

You already know people who will either be potential delegates or who can refer you to others. Your network of contacts and those of your colleagues is more extensive than you realize and nothing sells better than a personal recommendation. If your event is worthy you wont shy away from inviting people who know you well. 9. Be tenacious and professional

Set up a process that is capable of pursuing every enquiry that is made to ensure that you dont lose delegates through pure apathy. Take an interest in reasons people may have for not booking themselves into your event. There could be sufficient interest to run additional sessions on different dates. Have an error-free customer relationship database that any of your team can use to avoid embarrassing and unprofessional duplication and to keep subtle pressure on delegates to book a date. 10. Use a slick, professional registration process

First impressions are deadly serious. Your registration process is probably the first point of human contact for your delegates and it needs to reflect the professionalism of your organization. It should efficiently collect information, answer questions, collect money and provide immediate booking confirmations. This process should include sending a reminder to delegates just before the event. This is particularly important where attendance is free. Online booking services can provide this complex function as well as offering a 24 hour telephone booking service. 11. Be tough on payments

The best way to give your event value is to charge a registration fee. This will improve attendance by virtue of the fact that people rarely like to waste money for no reason at all. However charging an entry fee means that you have to be robust when it comes to non payment or late payment. Decide on your rules up front, dont disrespect prompt payers by being lenient with the tardy.

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Maintain customer relationships

Your delegates are like any customers and should be treated as such. Every interaction they have with your event team should reflect the standards and beliefs you operate by. Agree what your standards are well in advance so that delegates receive a consistent response whether by telephone, mail, Email, Fax or text. 13. Be supremely organized on the day

Plan and prepare for the day of the event down to the last nut, bolt, pencil, post-it note, teaspoon and name badge. Have checklists for everything conceivable, arrive early, give your team a breather before the delegates arrive and, most of all, be motivated and motivational. 14. Design a familiar arrival ritual

Events can be scary places for some people so its useful if you have a recognizable arrival process, almost a ritual, which allows your delegates to get through the door and to find their seats. Everything from the smiling administrator to the name badges and preevent coffee chat will put your delegates at ease and prepare them for the ordeal to come. 15. Stick to the timetable

You owe it to your delegates to stick as closely to your published timetable as is possible. Under- and over-running on various sessions is unavoidable, however if the event does not finish on time you may be inconveniencing people more than you can guess. Throughout the event consider techniques to bring the timetable back on track. Have additional material available to fill any gaps that open up in the timetable and know what material can be cut out without removing value from the event.

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Close the event with a bang

Human memory does not store information in straight lines. Your delegates will remember how the event began and ended before they remember the content. Thats why big public events end with spectacular fireworks displays. If you cant organize a few rockets and sparklers then make sure your event has a colorful, noisy climax. Make sure your participants leave the event feeling energized, stimulated and happy and their recollections of you and your colleagues will be positively colored. 17. Collect Instant feedback

If you ask your captive audience for their immediate thoughts on the quality and value of the event, you will get close to a 100% response. This will allow you to act quickly on any issues that arise and your reputation for responsiveness will be reinforced. Be prepared for some understandable requests to think about it. However, the majority can be persuaded to tick a few boxes on an evaluation form. The alternative is to use automated post-event questionnaires which are offered by some online booking services. These are emailed to delegates immediately after the event. While the response can be slightly lower, the advantage is the results are automatically complied for you. Leaving the feedback any later reduces the response to less than 20%. Some would say that considered thought is of more value, however a massive 95% of people with a complaint about dissatisfaction or poor service will just not bother; they just wont come back. 18. Keep the venue team sweet

The conferencing team at your chosen venue will have been working just as hard as you and your team. Dont forget to meet with them after the event, to give feedback and to lavish praise on the good service you received. If you hold regular events, you want to be welcomed back with open arms.

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Follow up to guarantee repeat business

Take an interest in your delegates. Follow up the event with telephone, Email and postal enquiries about relevant topics. You may be looking for referrals, researching data for new events or offering additional coaching on the topic. The subject matter is less important than reinforcing your network connection, building trust and establishing you and your organization as the first choice for repeat business. 20. Formally review the results and celebrate success

Meet with your event team to review every detail of the event. Study the feedback and decide what to keep and what to improve. If there were operational problems, decide how to avoid them in future. Most of all measure whether you met your original objective and celebrate your team success with chocolate cake or champagne (perhaps both?).

Published by MyBookingManager.com Purchase the complete manual How To Successfully Conduct Seminars, Roadshows And Events Like A Pro at eventmanagementfreetips.com. MyBookingManager.com provides a comprehensive do-it-yourself online booking service. The convenient, professional, time saving & cost effective way to manage registrations, bookings & payments for your next seminar, workshop, trade display or membership event. MyBookingManager.com is a product of InfoTec Communications.

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