Seminar Success: Tips for Creating a Great Event
Seminar Success Starts with the Plan
Planning a seminar is an effective and cost efficient method of presenting your message to a group. Plan to structure a first seminar as an informal review of previously-disclosed information, or as a small-group “workshop.” You can promote the session through social media, or issue written invitations, but you should require pre-enrollment and pre-payment if you plan to charge a fee. Limit the number of attendees, whether you hold the meeting in your office conference room or at a local restaurant or hotel. You are under no obligation to provide a meal, but you must cover your expenses if you pay for space.
Remember, your clients will attend to take advantage of your expertise, to gain knowledge or to develop an action plan. You are selling yourself, so the “packaging” is less important than the content.
Be Clear about Purpose
Building a law practice has certain similarities to building a retail clientele. First you must have a product that is in demand, a focus or a specialty for your practice. Then, you must sell the best that is available. As you discuss business-building strategies, personal examples are enlightening and valuable. Weaving real-life experience into your seminar content is always a good idea.
No one will return a second time to purchase a product or a service unless they are satisfied the first time. Finally, you must provide value in relation to what you charge.The same is true for your seminar.
Define Your Message
If seminar participants can learn the same information by reading a newsletter or a book, or if the subject is overly complicated and will require additional study and follow-up, the seminar format may not be appropriate. Or, you might divide the subject matter into two or more sessions.
The best seminars do the following:
- Tell the “story” briefly
- Reinforce the message visually, with slides or a photographic presentation
- Incorporate multiple “learning strategies,” not just a lecture format
- Provide time for attendees to “practice” what they have learned
- Break out into small group sessions or encourage role-playing in some way
- Recap the message
- Offer strategies for implementation and action
Evaluating the Value
In order to assess the benefit of the seminar to those who attended and, by extension, its value to you, institute a feedback procedure. A simple questionnaire to be completed by participants at the close of the session can be an effective method of measuring perceived value. However, a better way to judge long-term benefit is through a continuing campaign designed not only to offer comments on the seminar but also to keep your name “top of mind” to your clients. You can ask for comments and follow-up information through email or social media, encourage sharing of experiences, solicit testimonials. Offering a discount to participants for future training or additional information is a good way to assess the effectiveness of your seminar.
In our digital society, another way to gain continuing feedback is to encourage ongoing exchange through social media outlets.
- Consider starting an online group or “alumni page” for your seminar participants.
- Start a newsletter, or a blog, and encourage two-way exchanges.
- Plan a “reunion” on an informal basis — perhaps an after work social gathering.
Build on Success
If your initial seminar was a great success, chances are you have already thought about the second and the third. Offering monthly workshops is one way to encourage networking, keep your name and your expertise in front of your colleagues and the public, and build your “brand.” As long as you offer pertinent and actionable information, you will find success with the seminar format.
Whether you speak to fellow attorneys, those just beginning a practice, or to clients, know that you offer a unique and valuable service, one that only you are qualified to offer.
Share with us how you plan your events? What success you had? Be sure to stop by my Facebook page and follow some of my recent events I have presented at or have attended at https://www.facebook.com/EnchantingLawyer or https://www.facebook.com/myimmigrationlawyer.