Organize a seminar

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Organizing a seminar in 10 steps

For a successful seminar, see below for 10 key tips from the team at the Les Fontaines Campus.

1. Define the objectives

All events should be designed according to:

  • its objective,
  • its target.

Thus, it is essential to clearly define these two points, which impact all decisions, throughout the planning process.

For example, the nature of the event will be radically different depending on whether the seminar is for partners, colleagues or clients.

2. Choose a theme and a format

Le thème et le format seront définis en fonction des objectifs et du public. La 1re étape : trouver un intitulé accrocheur, qui motivera les participants, et autour duquel s’articulera le projet.

Parallèlement, il faut estimer s’il est plus adapté d’organiser un week-end, une journée ou un dîner, et ce toujours en fonction de l’objectif.

3. Define a budget

The budget should be defined according to the previous criteria (objective, target, format) and not only according to internal constraints.

For example, it is better to negotiate with the hotel for perks involving room comfort than for a price reduction.

4. Choose a date

A judicious choice for the date will allow the maximum number of guests to attend.

Avoid dates that jeopardize participants’ availability, and thus the success of the event:

  • long weekends,
  • school vacations,
  • important national sporting events.

5. Choose the site

The site should be chosen according to its hosting capacity, ease of access, the presence of a preferred contact onsite…

Glossy brochures are not enough: a site visit is indispensable to avoid bad surprises and more easily imagine the event and organize it to suit the setting.

Once the site has been chosen, an estimate must be requested and it is also advised to place an option to guarantee the reservation.

6. Develop the reverse planning ahead of time

Reverse planning allows all steps of the event planning to be followed from day to day to ensure the event goes smoothly.

This reverse planning should:

  • Integrate all due dates: reservations to be made, contacts to involve, deposits to pay,
  • Plan for a certain amount of leeway so that the event is not compromised in case of delay or an unforeseen schedule issue.

7. Plan the event for the participants

The day should be organized with care, according to precise planning which will be communicated to all guests.

It will include:

  • conference hours and activities,
  • break times throughout the day,
  • a certain amount of leeway to “absorb” unexpected events, such as a conference slightly running over time.

8. Communicating in advance of the event

Whether the participants are colleagues within the company or external guests, a communication plan must be put in place.

Its objective: providing guests with enough notice and ensuring their presence.  Thus, they must be notified with invitations, and their responses collected to evaluate the actual number of participants…

Warning: if certain activities require a certain kind of clothing, this should be clearly stated, to keep guests from feeling uncomfortable (for example, a sports outfit for athletic games, good walking shoes for orienteering, etc.).

9. Rehearsing, synchronizing…

The night before the event, a visit to the site is indispensable to:

  • Ensure that everything is in place,
  • Possibly do rehearsals, in particular if an artistic performance is planned,
  • Recontact the various contacts who will direct the day to help it go smoothly.

10. Communicate after the event

Once the event has finished, everything isn’t over!

  • The next day, send out a satisfaction survey to collect feedback from the event participants.
  • One week later, send the participants a thank you note and a recap of the day, with photos taken during the course of the seminar, if possible.