Corporate and association meeting planners are busy this time of year planning their seminar, convention or training event(s). Here is a really simple step-by-step list to consider in building effective Continuing Professional Development events.
Decide on your goalWill the event be for skill building, inspiration, recognition or specific training? Brainstorm first and plan each of your seminars, motivational keynote speaker, training sessions or conventions into specific dates in your calendar. Create a focus and theme for each event.
Organize the key players
For each meeting or event, decide who needs to be a part of the agenda. If you are looking for specific skills training, consider what experts need to speak. If you are looking to celebrate and inspire people, hire a motivational keynote speaker. If you need after dinner entertainment, hire a funny guest speaker or a comedian.
Decide on meeting space
For a smaller event, a boardroom may be sufficient. Larger convention space is available through hotels which also provide lodging accommodations for out of town delegates. You may need to create a Request for Proposal for different potential venues to get the best rates and service for your meeting. If you are hiring a motivational keynote speaker, then you likely will need to have a larger ballroom.
Create a list of potential participants
Who needs to be at each meeting or event? Is it leadership? Middle management? Technical support? Front line professionals? Customers or partners? Vendors?
Some speakers require PowerPoint while others don't. It is best to equip each room, just in case. Standard set up includes microphone (lapel, handheld and/or podium), PowerPoint projector, computer, screen. Will you need Internet access for presentations? If so, you may need to hire an AV technician/company.
Consider the room setup. Will you use round tables, classroom style, banquet, or U-shaped?
Create your promotion strategy
How will you let people know about the event? Consider the audience. Some ideas: A company or association newsletter, email promotion blast, social media, mass media, company website. See our blog
Create your specific promotions
Once you have decided on and coordinated the key players, leadership experts, motivational speakers, seminar speakers, etc., it is time to get the word out about your event. Promote the keynote and seminar speaker, continuing professional development goals, and your theme.
Set up a registration list
How will you handle payment? In advance, at the door, or online? Coordinate and streamline the registration efforts.
Prepare signage and Pull together last minute items
For specific rooms, meet with the hotel or special event manager to organize and coordinate the fine details. Be clear on who does what. You many need to reduce or increase food and beverage, chairs, tables, number of rooms etc. based on registration numbers.
Prepare name badges, the convention meeting agenda, keynote and seminar speaker bios and handouts.
Get all PowerPoint presentations and set up all last minute logistics. Be prepared that speakers may change their slides, last registrations may be high, you may have last minute room changes or AV challenges.
If you are well prepared, your Continuing Professional Development event will be an inspiration and success.
I believe humor, play and laughter have the power to change people and every conference needs a humorous funny inspirational speaker. Without humor, people aren't as awake, engaged and eager to learn.
"Jody, you were by far the highlight of our event! Your superb delivery, hilarious witty well thought out presentation absolutely blew us away. Thank you for making our event memorable for years to come".... Mitch Halverhaus, National Retail Bankers Forum