Whether it’s your first seminar or your hundredth, planning a successful seminar is always easier with a handy checklist.

To make sure nothing slips through the cracks, use this list of 16 steps to planning a successful seminar. Use it at any point in your seminar planning process to reduce stress and make sure no detail is forgotten.

Starting your seminar planning as early as possible

Once you’ve got the green light for your seminar (at the very minimum, four to six months before your event), you need to start the tasks below. The sooner you can check these tasks off your seminar planning list, the better!

1. Establish your goals and objectives

  • Write down your seminar’s purpose
  • Set goals for how many people you want to attend in person or watch your live stream
  • Set a clear profit goal

2. Put together a rough budget

  • Set your ticket prices
  • Borrow similar figures from past seminars for best-estimate figures
  • Fill in the holes with educated guesses

3. Select a date

  • Choose two dates — an optimal date and a second-best date for backup, since you may have to be flexible to get your venue of choice

4. Choose a location, venue, and vendors

  • Select your ideal geographic location and identify venues in the area
  • Determine how many people will be attending your seminar to set your capacity needs
  • Ask each venue if they provide WiFi and have the infrastructure you need
  • Learn if your venue of choice has preferred vendors, and if not, identify local vendors you can rely on (check out this case study on finding the perfect partners for your event)
  • Review your contract in detail before signing

5. Research speakers

  • Start by identifying speakers who have spoken at similar seminars
  • Watch recordings of their talks and compile a list of ideal picks
  • Outline your own requirements (date, compensation, and type/length of talk) and make contact with your preferred choices

6. Start your sponsor search

Three months out: Digging into the details

Once you’ve got a framework in place, it’s important to keep budgets updated as you receive estimates and quotes. That way, you can get a clearer picture of your expected revenue. This is also when you need to begin your seminar marketing efforts if you haven’t done so already.

7. Finalise speakers

  • Finalise speaker fees and contracts
  • Get bio info and photos for your promotional materials
  • Arrange travel and accommodation

8. Organise financials

9. Build your seminar website

  • First, decide whether you’ll need a website or if you are better served directing traffic to your registration page
  • If you need a website, get sign-off from stakeholders on its design
  • Once you have stakeholder approval, update your site (if you have one) or build a new site
  • Ensure that your site infrastructure can handle increased traffic when you go on sale
  • Make sure your website is mobile-optimised

10. Start promotion

11. Finalise venue details

  • Work with a caterer on the menu
  • Secure audiovisual equipment
  • Review security needs and plans
  • Apply for any special permits, licenses, etc.
  • Create your on-site signage and an attendee communication plan

12. Draft your seminar agenda

  • Outline your seminar’s schedule and decide when your guest speakers will have maximum impact
  • Don’t forget to give your attendees breaks!
  • Once you’ve completed a draft, share it with decision makers for approval

Two months before: Finalising details

With your seminar in sight, the days are flying by. Here’s what you need to focus on in the two months leading up to your event.

13. Convince interested event-goers

14. Finalise schedule and scripts

  • Make sure everyone has the same schedule
  • Get sign off on any scripts from speakers

15. Update your stakeholders

  • Email your company stakeholders, speakers, and sponsors with final registration numbers

16. Confirm timings of all your vendors

  • Caterer
  • Audiovisual equipment
  • Decorations
  • Speakers

The day before

With the tactical advice in this post, you’re ready to plan a successful seminar. As your event approaches, this Seminars and Workshops Checklist Template will help to make sure everything is in its right place — so you can rest easy.

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