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5 Essentials for Creating & Filling Your Successful Workshop or Seminar

Essential elements for creating a successful workshop or seminar with support.
Written Oct 28, 2011, read 2670 times since then.


Most people who are experts in a field believe that the masses will line up the day they finally decide to share their wisdom.  They believe that just because clients will pay them $500 (or $50) an hour, throngs will jump on board the bandwagon when they offer their events publically.

It's not quite that easy, but it can be much less painful if you are aware of some basics. The first essential in this process is finding a trusted ally to work with.  This person could be a friend, collegue or a producer.  The key thing is that they understand the event business and resonate with your message.  He or she is the person who will honestly tell you what's working and what's not, and they become kind of like a good editor.  And you can click here to get extra "Essentials in Part 2"  Click here for even more Essentials in Part 3.

We all believe that we know what's best, but presenters generally are too close to the material.  That's what I often find when I am a presenter.  I was am just too close to the material and not looking at the event from the perspective of a participant.  And the experience of the participants is what really matters.

We may think we're doing a great job, but if people don't respond to your call to action, you haven't given them what they want.  WIIFM is always the rule.  That's "What's In It For Me" - your audience.

Then there's the issue of being in alignment with the person you've decided to work with.  When I consider working with people resonance and harmony is critical.  I need to be in alignment with the presenter and their mission.  And they need to understand that we can move from zero to zoom in a matter of months if we work cooperatively and openly.

That’s what happened recently with Michael Hartzell and I.  We (he is the presenter and I am the producer, manager) started presenting Biznik workshops in July and drew 21 people.  Our October event had 48 after I had to find a new venue because our September event at Mosaic Coffee House filled the room to an almost uncomfortable state.

The essentials for success in all our events are simple.

1. We provide great value in both content and context.

2. We always under promise and over deliver.

3. Our marketing strategy is to give away as much as possible and then give more.

4. Mike never stepped in front of the room without me in back running the show.

5. We always provide participants with a next step.  Often that is enrolling in our next event.

I could list several more elements, however if you were to simply use those listed above, you will have successful events and filled rooms.  The elements most critical to this mode of operation are value and context.

Click here if you want to read Part 2 of the "5 Essentials"

Click here to read Part 3.

Notice that I have yet to mention content.  Content helps, but it’s not essential.  Great, in-demand content moves things along much more quickly, but I have produced seminars with very poor content that were evaluated as very successful.  They key is context.  More specifically, a context in which the participants feel that they are safe and receiving great value.

So, now you have some essentials for creating successful events.  Since I’ve been producing, presenting, marketing and facilitating live events for decades, this list could go on forever.  If, however, you simply adhere to these, you will succeed.  And, if you need help with your event, drop me a note. or check out my website

Learn more about the author, Steven Sieden.

Comment on this article

  • CEO Snider Wealth Management 
Mukilteo, Washington 
Douglas Snider
    Posted by Douglas Snider, Mukilteo, Washington | Oct 28, 2011

    Steven, excellent article. I've seen you deliver first hand so I know you know what you're talking about. See you at your next event.

    Regards - Doug

  • Event Producer, Writer 
Seattle, Washington 
Steven Sieden
    Posted by Steven Sieden, Seattle, Washington | Oct 28, 2011

    Thanks Doug. Missed having you at Tuesday's workshop, but you're still a part of Mike's Core Team, so you have to be successful or he'll get upset.

  • Life, Prosperity, and Small Business Coach. Author. Speaker. Trainer. Singer/Songwriter. 
Seattle, Washington 
Kate Phillips
    Posted by Kate Phillips, Seattle, Washington | Oct 28, 2011

    There is more that I can add about how you and Michael acheived your successes...

    1. Michael does an amazing job communicating with attendees on the event page. This gives your event more visibility through the rotating links at the top right of the biznik page and helps you find more attendees!

    2. You've had a compelling proposition. Who doesn't want to build a website in an hour (or watch someone else do the same)?

    3. Great point about context. The free gifts, chocolates and surprises help create a context of fun and value.

    4. With the exception of Internet troubles at one location, the events are well-planned and thought out.

    5. Michael's "recover" to the above problem was to offer free private consultations. Who can argue with that!?

    Thanks for some great events, Steven and Michael!

  • Facilitator of Awareness and Change in Life, Health and Business 
Redmond, Washington 
Debra Littrell
    Posted by Debra Littrell, Redmond, Washington | Oct 28, 2011

    Thank you for sharing this. It is so true. Having a team can make all the difference and one that works harmoniously.

  • Event Producer, Writer 
Seattle, Washington 
Steven Sieden
    Posted by Steven Sieden, Seattle, Washington | Oct 28, 2011

    Thanks Kate. Michael's willingness to give all that he can and more continues to amaze me. I also preach that whatever happens in front of the room is exactly what is supposed to happen ... even if it's a technical glitch. Those things truly show an audience if a person walks the talk.

  • Event Producer, Writer 
Seattle, Washington 
Steven Sieden
    Posted by Steven Sieden, Seattle, Washington | Oct 28, 2011

    Thanks Debra. I also come back to ... when was the last time you saw a musician or other performer get on stage without a support team including a sound person, director, stage manager, etc. No matter how low budget, these folks almost always have somebody supporting them, and event presentation is no different.

  • Sales & Event Planning/Virtual Assist. 
Snohomish, Washington 
Sheila Allen
    Posted by Sheila Allen, Snohomish, Washington | Oct 29, 2011

    Steven - Having produced events in the past myself I can not agree with you more. You are to to thanked many time over for getting Michael to work with you, and for your tireless efforts to get and keep the seats filled.

    You are the essence of my business tag line - "Working in the Background - Keeping You Out Front" - being a producer/organizer does have it's rewards and feelings of great satisfaction. Your work with Michael certainly proves that - you are both true givers!! Many thanks to you both for giving so much of your time and energy to Bizniker's.

  • Event Producer, Writer 
Seattle, Washington 
Steven Sieden
    Posted by Steven Sieden, Seattle, Washington | Oct 29, 2011

    Thanks Sheila. Coming from you, this is a real compliment.

  • Feldenkrais Practitioner 
Bellevue, Washington 
Hope Maltz
    Posted by Hope Maltz, Bellevue, Washington | Oct 29, 2011

    Steven, This is a great article describing the behind-the-scenes expertise and activities that make an event successful. I'm glad you've highlighted the effort and expertise that make such a difference in the success of an event. Having attended the latter episodes of the Michael and Steven Show, I can certainly say that your efforts make a huge difference in the experience of the event.

  • Event Producer, Writer 
Seattle, Washington 
Steven Sieden
    Posted by Steven Sieden, Seattle, Washington | Oct 29, 2011

    Thanks Hope. I always appreciate when people notice the results of my work and not the work itself.

  • Author, Analyst, Activist, Speaker, Creative Writer 
Seattle, Washington 
William Dudley Bass
    Posted by William Dudley Bass, Seattle, Washington | Oct 31, 2011

    Steven, great article - love how its content is all for context. You illuminated not the shadows behind the scenes as much as what's behind all the participants' heads. Your description of nuts & bolts as well as the value of working relationships that resonate in harmony provides great insight into what you've learned to do to produce value. Kate Phillips's comments above provide a strong addendum. The synergy of you & Michael is remarkable as well. Thank you.

  • Event Producer, Writer 
Seattle, Washington 
Steven Sieden
    Posted by Steven Sieden, Seattle, Washington | Oct 31, 2011

    Thanks William. A few decades of doing this really does help. Just trying to help people avoid the same learning experience mistakes I've been fortunate to learn from.