Creating Memorable Seminars
By Hank Moore, Corporate Strategist
Meetings, seminars, conferences, and retreats are mainstays of business. Many fail to achieve goals because they are not unique. Thus, folks are highly selective about those they will attend.
Here are some tips for organizing and executing successful seminars:
- Have a reasonable business goal for hosting a program. Someone’s ego or a half-baked idea will not suffice.
- Designate one company seminar coordinator, with outside demonstrated conference expertise.
- Select the date, time, and topics that most likely will spur interest from potential attendees.
- Select a venue that is original and that will inspire creative thought and maximum participation.
- Have attendee prospects in mind...with a plan of how to obtain their addresses.
- Tailor the concept to make it memorable. Remember the most boring seminars you have attended...and the great ones. Learn from your past experiences.
- Pick speakers with flair...not those who will bury their heads in speech texts.
- Achieve a good mix of podium speakers and panels, depending upon the subject matter.
- Do not hold your seminar with expectations of media coverage. Your topic must be highly provocative to get the reporters out. However, your business mentor often can disseminate significant highlights of the program afterward.
- Invitations should clearly state the benefits of attending. In your quest to be creative, do not blur the business goal.
- Always serve refreshments...appropriate to the occasion.
- Thank attendees for coming. Publicly acknowledge members of your staff who did the legwork in orchestrating the meeting.
- Always provide handouts.
- Distribute evaluation forms...which yield ideas for subsequent programs.
- Offer additional information or some other reason for attendees to call you back later...and to do business with you.
Whether you occasionally sponsor seminars for business development or lend your name to someone else’s program, pay attention that proper thought is applied. Make yourself that rare company that is credited with staging seminars the right way. People will remember your successes, as well as your mistakes.
Public Speaking Engagements Offer Value to Your Company
Every top professional is called upon to speak at some occasion. Networking breakfasts, business clubs, media opportunities, company presentations, prospect meetings, and professional development seminars offer opportunities to position your company.
Overcoming the fear of audiences and lack of formal speech training is a hurdle most executives must overcome. Some corporate officials make a priority out of seeking high-profile speaking platforms. Somewhere in between lies the ongoing need for public presentations.
A few tips to keep in mind:
- Confirm all speaking engagements in writing.
- If the organization has a newsletter or other advance communications, be sure that your topic and bio are received in time for publication deadlines.
- Send the person who will introduce you a typed one-minute introduction. Don’t send a resumé and expect him or her to ferret out the pertinent facts. A proper introduction will set the tone for your remarks.
- Give and get business cards.
- Understand what you are there to achieve. Leave the engagement with something tangibly gleaned.
- If the talk will be reported in a subsequent newsletter or will be covered by the media, provide an outline, speech text, or press release.
- Follow-up correspondence is always in order.
- If public speaking is an expected part of your management position, seek professional speech and media training.
- Employ a marketing advisor with the skills in procuring and scheduling appropriate speaking platforms, as well as the publicity expertise.
Speaker bureaus are important communications tools for major corporations and community organizations alike. You are competing with many good speakers and must treasure those forums that properly showcase you, your ideas, and your company’s point of view.
Formulate public speaking, seminars and presentations into your company’s formal public relations program. Seek more and better platforms each year. Utilize audiences for third-party support building. Get newsletter and press coverage, when appropriate.
Make each speech count.
A regular contributor to www.trainingmag.com, Hank Moore has advised 5,000-plus client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations). He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism, and Big Picture issues that profoundly affect the business climate. Moore conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas, and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening, and evolving business, while mastering change. His current book is “The Business Tree,” published by Career Press. Moore also speaks at conferences and facilitates corporate retreats on strategy. He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoken at five Economic Summits. To read his complete biography, visit http://www.hankmoore.com.