One thing I often come across when discussing strategic alliances with
clients is the seminar effect.
Seminars are a much favoured tactic to develop strategic alliances if
they are done properly.
Many have run these events, some successfully. However, others have seen
this initial success suffer a gradual decline. Others have seen little or no return, for what can be a large investment in time and money.
Seminars can be an effective tool to develop strategic alliance but it
has to be done right. Otherwise it can be a costly mistake. No one should have to reinvent the wheel. We should always learn from others who have done this successfully.
I would like to share an experience of a seminar I recently attended and
highlight the key reasons why I felt it was powerful and successful.
- A clear objective was created and this flowed through the entire seminar. This started with the invite and continued
with the topics on the day.
- They began planning for the event well in advance so they had enough time to ensure they achieved their objective and
got the right bums on seats.
- Their message was relevant and timely for their target audience. This again flows from having a clear objective. Know
your target, what are their concerns? What are the hooks that will make them come along to an event? Finally be clear about what they want out of the day.
- They got the venue and timing right. This is essential we are all busy people and choosing a venue that is convenient
and a time that makes attendance achievable are both key to success.
- They had clear concise presentations and used appropriate delivery mechanisms such as PowerPoint and video. It is
essential that you select speakers who can deliver a professional and compelling message. Each presenter should also practice their presentation. It would be a good idea to ensure that each
presentation meets your stated objectives and that they flow into each other with an impactful and memorable theme. It is also a great idea to use specific case studies that are relevant to the
audience and the message you are trying to convey.
- They involved the audience, it’s useful to have a panel discussion, where delegates can ask questions. This avoids
the natural boredom that can result with continuous presentations and allows you and the presenters to build upon their messages and encourage follow up meetings with delegates.
- They invited the right people. Every business needs advocates and nothing beats the power of spoken referrals. That’s
why it’s a nice technique to invite both existing and potential clients and relationships to seminars. Your current relationships can influence those new to your business and also be updated on the
latest opportunities you have available.
- They had enough staff to ensure the event ran smoothly. There are a number of key steps that can make or break a
seminar event. Registration needs to be done professionally and avoid queues.
- A mobile mic is essential during a panel discussion and audience questions. I have always found that the biggest moan
about a seminar regards the refreshments. Having enough staff to ensure warm tea and coffee is on tap and that lunch and the breaks work like clockwork can’t be under estimated! Also have water
available in the room.
These are some observations on what I have seen that works, and my advice
to you would be put as much effort into the actual event as you do into getting people to attend. This is where most events fail. You have done all the hard work and have a big audience but the event
still flops. This is usually because one of nine key things is not done.
John Joe McGinley Glassagh Consulting September 2016
Follow me on twitter @glassaghconsult