For a seasoned seminar facilitator, conducting a seminar is not a big deal. After all, they probably conduct seminars at least once a month that they are no longer intimidated by the thought of speaking in front of a big audience. However, for a neophyte, facilitating a seminar can be so terrifying that the thought of it would even trigger anxiety attacks.
This article will provide you with the most helpful tips to make you feel more confident and at ease when handling a seminar. Whether you are an executive tasked to conduct a seminar for your company’s employees or you are an expert on a particular topic or niche and wish to grow your business, ensuring that you handle effective seminars will always be to your advantage.
Take note though that while these tips have proven to be very effective for many seminar facilitators, you need to commit yourself to following them in order to get significant positive outcomes.
Planning and Preparation
One of the guaranteed ways to ruin your confidence when holding the seminar is lack of planning and preparation. When you fail to plan and prepare, then a lot of things could backfire—videos not playing, presentation files lost, insufficient handouts, and many others. And when you are faced with these problems on the seminar day itself then obviously, you will lose composure and get easily distracted.
This is why proper planning and thorough preparation are considered essential tips for anyone who will be facilitating a seminar. Creating your very own seminar outline and checklist could mean the difference between a good and bad seminar and surely, you cannot afford to have the latter. Take the time to sit down and plan every detail. Then, days ahead of the event, you should check and re-check everything to make sure that it is all going exactly as planned.
Because you will be speaking in front of an audience, it is imperative that you develop and improve your communication skills. Your voice quality, body language, and choice of words will create a huge impact on your audience and these factors also dictate just how effective your seminar will be in terms of the learning you will impart to the participants. But, you also need to understand that speaking is only one-half of your communication skills.
You need to also develop and improve your listening skills. What this means is that you should pay attention to what your audience is saying and you can do this by making your seminar interactive, allowing your audience to talk and ask questions at the right instances. When you acknowledge what they say then they will be more likely to keep their minds open to your ideas and will be more willing to listen and remain attentive throughout your seminar.
Make It Interesting
Studies show that the average attention span of adults is 20 minutes at a time. This means that if your audience has to sit through a full 8-hour seminar, then you need to find ways to make your event interesting. Clearly, facing a bored audience can hurt your self-confidence and it would cause you to wonder if there is something you are not doing right as you present your topics to them.
One of the surefire ways to make a seminar interesting is to keep your presentation slides clear, easy to understand, and visually appealing. Stick to one point per slide and avoid putting too much information in it. Moreover, you should proofread your slides for any typos, as well as spelling and grammar mistakes because these would create a negative impression.
Rapport is also necessary, and if you want to keep your audience from getting bored then you need to build rapport with them. Insert light humor and interesting facts as you go along your presentation. Maintain eye contact with them and do not forget to smile.
The use of icebreakers also help keep your audience interested however make sure to time every activity and choose only those that are relevant to the topics you are covering. Lastly, every point that you present during your seminar must be carefully timed. Dwelling too long on a topic will only generate negative reactions from the audience.