Typical Incidents At Seminars And Actions To Prevent Them


You are all set for a seminar and when the day comes, unexpected incidents threaten to ruin the day. Here are five common seminar failures and how to prevent them.

At times, you may plan and organize your event well, but things may go wrong. Whether it’s a human error or a technology-related issue, these things occur from time to time. But if you know the possible things that can go wrong well in advance, you will have a contingency plan if they do.

Here’s a list of five common things that typically go wrong at seminars and the action you can take to mitigate them.

1. Key Participants Not Showing Up

You may have the seminar room ready and packed to capacity with attendees. But then a disaster follows: your main speaker, special guest, or headline band don’t just turn up. Probably, they are sick, their flight delayed, or they simply let you down at the eleventh hour. Whatever the excuse these people, you’ve got anxious attendees and nothing to present to them.

What to do:

  • Inform the participant to notice you 3 to 5 days in advance whether they will make it to the event.
  • Have a backup plan in mind. You can inform someone else to be on stand-by in case your speaker or main facilitator fails to confirm a few days in advance.

2. Disappointingly Low Turnout

Have you ever been to a conference and two hours into the agreed time of arrival, less than 10 people are milling about? This experience can drive event planners crazy.

Normally, it’s in free events where people don’t usually show up because they haven’t made any ‘investment’ to look forward to.

What to do:

  • Put a charge on tickets for those attending. When attendees make a financial commitment, they will hardly miss the event.
  • Assume that 20 per cent of people won’t attend and then create a stand-by list or oversell depending on the venue and nature of the event. This is because even when individuals have paid for tickets, still some of them won’t make it to the seminar.
  • For a smaller event, send reminders to everyone a few days to the big day and ask them to alert you if they won’t be able to make it.

3. Technology Fails

It’s common for a microphone to disappoint, the internet to go down, or even a video presentation failing to play at a crucial when the day’s speaker stands up to grace the occasion.

What to do:

  • Get the right laptops, projectors, and A/V systems on time and have an experienced person try them a day and even a few hours to the event.
  • Don’t try to stream presentations from online – they can fail you.

4. Long Queues

Nothing screams disorganized than epic queues at a seminar. No event attendee wants to wait in long queues. Whether it’s at catering, event access points or toilets, you should work on your planning to ensure the available facilities match the number of attendees.

What to do:

Unexpected Weather

It’s common for companies around Singapore to organize their workshops outdoors in a serene environment. After all, it’s good for change especially for those who work from the office every day, right?

While you may look for tent hire companies to help make the event a success, the weather can change and make things a bit difficult to run. To minimize discomfort among the attendees if the weather behaves differently:

  • Prepare provisions like umbrellas and disposable rain macs if it rains
  • Organize for sunscreen, water bottles and good tents for the sun
  • Have a backup location – mostly an indoor one; if a seminar room is the backup plan, ensure that you have a seminar room rental on standby

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