Planning the Perfect Seminar

Seminars come in all shapes and sizes. Some are educational in nature and are planned around  a “message” of importance to attendees. The message can be anything from “Preparation for Retirement,” to “The Benefits of Using a Professional Money Manager.”  The desired result is that attendees will see you are an expert on this topic and, therefore, the best person to handle their money.

The second type of seminar is the “bond-builder.” The purpose of these seminars is to strengthen the client-advisor relationship, or to begin a new relationship with prospects. At this type of seminar, there is no “educational” message, but instead a “social” atmosphere where attendees become more comfortable with you, as a person and as their investment professional. For full effect, this type of event should be built around a theme. A few examples include a “Wine and Cheese-Tasting Party,”  “Picnic in the Park,” or even the event we’ve covered more extensively on pages 2-3 in this handout, “An Evening of Art.”

Whichever type of event you choose to do, proper planning, implementation and follow-up are the keys to your success. We suggest using this customized checklist to stay on track while organizing your seminar.

Your Personal Seminar Checklist
Two Months Prior

  • Set date
  • Reserve site and equipment
  • Make arrangements for refreshments
  • Select topics
  • Select speakers or entertainers
  • Host lunch for speakers or hold conference call to share pertinent details about attendees and to help them understand your chief objectives
  • Obtain continuing education approval (i.e., if event is for CPAs, lawyers)
  • Decide on size and target audience
  • Develop list of prospects

Six Weeks Prior

  • Print invitations and reply cards
  • Obtain speaker bios and testimonials
  • Prepare agenda
  • Send invitations
  • Check out seminar site (look for acoustics, lighting, temperature problems)
  • Arrange for proper seating (schoolroom style, gallery style, etc.)

Three Weeks Prior

  • Give  list of potential attendees to assistant
  • Call those who did not respond by mail
  • Create publicity campaign

Two Weeks Prior

  • Send letter to confirm attendance
  • Obtain AV materials for presentation
  • Create seminar evaluation sheet for attendees to fill out
  • Create name badges or placecards for attendees, if needed

Three Days Prior

  • Reminder call to attendees
  • Go back to site and determine where signs will go

Day of Seminar

  • Check AV equipment (if you brought your own) or have hotel AV people check if it belongs to them
  • Have extra materials/handouts/supplies available
  • Provide copies of outlines, agendas, bios, etc.
  • Assign a person to take notes or hire a AV company to tape it and duplicate on site so you can send to those who didn’t attend
  • Set up registration table, assign work duty

After the Seminar

  • Send thank-you letters
  • Contact those who couldn’t attend—send follow up material or tapes
  • Review evaluation sheets
  • Meet with staff and speakers, making note where improvements can be made for your next seminar.

­–– High 5 Communications provides event planning services for financial firms.

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