Organising a Conference or Seminar

Organising a Conference or Seminar

Organising A Seminar

Organising a work-based conference or seminar

If you have been asked to organise a conference, seminar or other similar event, here are some of the main things you need to consider:

  • When should the event be held? Things to bear in mind here are firstly that a lot of people go on holiday during July and August, and secondly that appropriate advance notice may be required so that delegates can re-organise their diaries, and so you can book a venue
  • What topics do you want the event to focus on?
  • Who should be invited to attend the event?
  • Who do you wish to invite to speak at the event? In what order should they speak, and for how long?
  • How many breaks should there be, and how long should these meal/drink/comfort breaks be?
  • Where should the event be held? Are your own company’s premises a suitable venue? Consider that not only might you need a main room large enough to accommodate everyone comfortably, but you might also need breakout rooms and catering facilities. Additionally, think about what presentation equipment is required – will flipcharts and whiteboards suffice, or do you need laptop computers, projectors and the like?
  • What are the emergency procedures at the venue? Tell delegates about these at the start of the event
  • What seating plan is most appropriate – do you want rows of chairs, all facing the speaker; or a number of small tables to make group exercises easier?
  • What arrangements are necessary to greet the delegates as they arrive? Do the attendees need to sign in, or pick up a name badge, attendance certificate etc?
  • What other stationery do you need to prepare in advance? You may for example need to prepare: summaries of each speaker’s presentation, biographies of the speakers, a running order for the day and an evaluation questionnaire
  • What level of catering is required? Will tea/coffee/water and biscuits be enough, or will you need to provide a cooked meal? If a full meal is required, do any of the attendees have special dietary requirements?
  • Will you need to provide accommodation for any, or all, of the delegates?
  • How much do you need to charge for the event, and what will be the refund policy if delegates cancel?
  • How are you going to promote the event, e.g. via trade media, online advertising, mailshots etc?
  • Have you clearly told the delegates how to get to the venue, both by car and by public transport/taxi?

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