6 tips that should boost the attendance at your next seminar/workshop

15 May 2019

Yesterday I had my bi-monthly BD 1on1 with one of my stars in the making and we got to talking about their upcoming panel discussion event.

 

“I can’t believe it … it’s pretty much sold out … twice!”  he told me. “This has never happened before!”     

 

And I could understand his surprise.  We’ve seen a steady downturn in seminar/workshop attendances over the last few years and, at the same time, an increasing amount of effort being required to even reach an acceptable number of guests so this client’s revelations made me think what it was they had done differently. 

 

Having been involved – albeit at arm’s length – throughout the process I think the reasons this particular sector team has aced it on this event are:

 

1. They picked the right topic

 

The right topic will make or break your event.  Do the same thing everyone else is, choose something that’s even only a touch out of date or pick something a bit dry and you won’t get a great response.

 

Pick something current, useful and eye-catching.

 

2.  They chose the right speakers

 

Once you have your topic make sure you get recognisable names involved who’ll make your audience want to attend.  While I’m sure your firm/chambers has some fantastic and hugely knowledgeable speakers, you will never provide the draw an industry expert will.

 

And don’t panic if you don’t yet know those people, LinkedIn will probably throw up a mutual contact you can go through and even if it doesn’t, those rent-a-quotes who court headlines in particular areas are usually only too willing to speak to a new audience (I say this with confidence because Bernard and I always are!).

   

3.  They adapted their format slightly

 

People (say they) don’t have time to be lectured.  They want interaction, to be able to participate and ask questions and to be as close to entertained as it’s possible to be at this type of thing. 

 

They also want to be able to meet new contacts and discuss current issues informally around the main event.

 

In this case the team in question put together a panel discussion in which each member will give a very sort statement then answer questions, interacting and providing their own perspectives based on their backgrounds before breaking up for wine and canapés.  They’ve even reserved some pub space for those hardy should who want to keep the discussion going!

 

4.  They did everything to maximise their promotional reach

 

Your database/client list will be a good starting point but which industry bodies could you partner with?  How will you get your speakers involved?  Who else in your network could you ask for help?

 

5.  They gave themselves a realistic timescale

 

In our experience events are either planned far too far in advance and then parked until the last minute before a flurry of activity kicks in or just left to the last minute full stop!

 

Always think of an event as a 16 week campaign the midpoint of which is the event itself. 

 

The first 2 weeks can be devoted to setting the date, venue, topic and speakers.  The next 6 weeks is for promotion.  The 6 weeks after are to say thank you for coming, then sending a summary of your discussions and squeezing all of the post-event PR you can whether that’s through your own channels, the trade or local press and/or social media.

 

6.  The right people led the campaign

 

Good events don’t happen when the responsibility is foisted on people or simply given to your marketing or BD people to be added to their already generous to do lists. 

 

Good events happen when you take the time to find out who knows the subject area best and has a genuine enthusiasm for making the project happen … whether that’s for professional, altruistic or simply selfish reasons!

 

If you have an event coming up and would like to discuss how to put all of these tips into practice, please email me and we can find a time to chat.


Posted by Douglas  |   0 Comments

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