Preparation is key to a successful seminar. Even a seasoned seminar speaker would still take the time to sit down and plan things out before the event. As someone who will conduct a seminar in front of 10, 100, or even more participants, you cannot afford to be in front of the audience unprepared. If this is the first seminar you will handle, then it is all the more necessary to plan weeks and even months before the big day.
A large chunk of the preparation phase is making the outline. This will serve as your guide in knowing what to cover in the seminar, as well as the things you will need before, during, and after the event.
What is a Seminar Outline?
A seminar outline is a skeletal representation that will guide you throughout the entire duration of the event. It will help you determine the content of your seminar, the sequence, and the materials that will be used such as visual aids. Although most seminar facilitators or speakers make an outline, many of them have trouble getting started. Neophytes often get stuck in deciding what they will include in the outline and as a result, they waste valuable time just by preparing it.
Later on in this section, you will be guided on how to create your very own outline. The guide will be very simple and basic so that beginners like you will find it easier to make a seminar outline.
Seminar Outline Benefits
Creating an outline has proven to be very advantageous to anyone who will be conducting a seminar. While others might say that it takes up a lot of their time, it does provide a significant impact on how the seminar will turn out. For one, an outline will keep you organized. When you have developed an outline ahead of time, you would know the sequence or the flow of your presentation. It will be easier to determine what to do next rather than just “playing it by ear.” Another benefit of having an outline is that you will be able to budget your time wisely. Even before the seminar started, you would already have a good idea on how much time to spend on each topic or activity. And lastly, having an outline would project the impression that you are well-prepared for the seminar and this will speak well of your ability as a seminar facilitator or speaker.
How to Make Your Own Seminar Outline?
The very first thing you need to do when you sit down and create a seminar outline is to decide on what topics to cover in the seminar. Given that you already have a theme for the seminar, you need to brainstorm on relevant topics to include. This would depend on how much time is allotted for the seminar but, generally, covering 20 main topics should be enough. In each topic, come up with sub-topics or points that should be discussed.
Once you have decided on both the main topics and the sub-topics, you can then proceed to work on the “essential extras.” These include exercise activities, visual aids, icebreakers, stories, and quotations. These “essential extras” should be taken into consideration for each main topic. As you go over them, ask yourself:
- “Do I need an activity for this topic?” “If so, what would it be?”
- “What visual aids would be appropriate for this?”
- “Do I need an ice breaker?”
- “Do I have a quote or story that would fit this topic?”
Once you have answered the above questions, make sure to include in your outline the names or descriptions of the activities, ice breakers, visual aids, and stories that you will include. Insert them in the right section to avoid confusion later on.
Aside from the main topics, sub-topics, and “essential extras,” you should also include the introduction and the closing in your seminar outline. Carefully decide on how you will open and end your seminar because both of these parts are very important to its success.
You can write your outline in your notepad, place it on index cards, or save it in your computer. But make sure that you put it some place where you can easily retrieve it and it should not be in any risk of getting lost. As you hold more seminars in the future, you will probably have a collection of outlines and you will need to look them up from time to time for reference. Thus, placing your seminar outline somewhere safe is really recommended.