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Planning Successful Seminars & Workshops - FGS Wiki

Planning Successful Seminars & Workshops


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+
[[Category:Strategies for Program Chairpersons]]
  
[[Category:Strategies for Program Chairpersons]][[Category:Hatcher, Patricia Law]][[Category:Seminars]][[Category:Workshops]]
 
  
Planning Successful Seminars and Workshops
+
== Part One - Initial Steps and Publicity ==
  
Part One - Initial Steps and Publicity
 
  
by Patricia Law Hatcher, CG
+
== Initial Planning ==
  
Initial Planning
 
  
A genealogical seminar or workshop fulfills two  
+
A genealogical seminar or workshop fulfills two primary goals of the local society: education and fund-raising. It may be the largest “project” a society undertakes, and the coordinator can become overwhelmed. This section of part one contains tips and suggestions to help with the initial planning.
primary goals of the local society: education  
+
and fund-raising. It may be the largest “project”  
+
a society undertakes, and the coordinator can  
+
become overwhelmed. This section of part one  
+
contains tips and suggestions to help with the  
+
initial planning.
+
  
The seminar or workshop coordinator must  
+
The seminar or workshop coordinator must make five key, often interrelated, decisions at least six months to one year in advance of the event: format, speaker(s), topic(s), place, and  
make five key, often interrelated, decisions at  
+
least six months to one year in advance of the  
+
event: format, speaker(s), topic(s), place, and  
+
 
date.
 
date.
  
Several formats are possible: single  
+
Several formats are possible: single lecture, beginners’ workshop, symposium, or a genealogy fair. This last format differs significantly from the others and is not covered  
lecture, beginners’ workshop, symposium,  
+
in this series. It was discussed in “Society Project: A Family Heritage Fair” by Betty Robertson Kaufman in the FGS FORUM 3:1 (Spring 1991).
or a genealogy fair. This last format differs  
+
significantly from the others and is not covered  
+
in this series. It was discussed in “Society  
+
Project: A Family Heritage Fair” by Betty  
+
Robertson Kaufman in the FGS FORUM 3:1  
+
(Spring 1991).
+
  
The single lecture format is used most often.  
+
The single lecture format is used most often. All participants attend the same session, which is usually given by a single speaker.
All participants attend the same session, which  
+
is usually given by a single speaker.
+
  
A beginners’ workshop can be the most  
+
A beginners’ workshop can be the most rewarding for a local society. It introduces people not only to genealogy, but also to the society. Often an experienced lecturer can be engaged to present an all-day workshop. Consider, however, having four to six of your society members each present a segment. They may be willing to donate their time to the society or to accept a lower fee than a well-known  
rewarding for a local society. It introduces  
+
speaker. This reduces expense, serves as a non-threatening environment for training future speakers, and allows beginners to identify more easily with the speaker. When this format is used, the coordinator must outline the material to be covered very thoroughly, but should allow each speaker to create his or her own presentation. One-day beginners’ workshops often try to cover too many topics in too much depth, leaving the listener overwhelmed and confused. A good rule of thumb is to cover only material that almost everyone in attendance would use in the first year of research (county deed books, but not less-accessible land patents or tax records).
people not only to genealogy, but also to the  
+
society. Often an experienced lecturer can  
+
be engaged to present an all-day workshop.  
+
Consider, however, having four to six of your  
+
society members each present a segment. They  
+
may be willing to donate their time to the society  
+
or to accept a lower fee than a well-known  
+
speaker. This reduces expense, serves as a non-
+
threatening environment for training future  
+
speakers, and allows beginners to identify more  
+
easily with the speaker. When this format is used,  
+
the coordinator must outline the material to be  
+
covered very thoroughly, but should allow each  
+
speaker to create his or her own presentation.  
+
One-day beginners’ workshops often try to  
+
cover too many topics in too much depth,  
+
leaving the listener overwhelmed and confused.  
+
A good rule of thumb is to cover only material  
+
that almost everyone in attendance would  
+
use in the first year of research (county deed  
+
books, but not less-accessible land patents or  
+
tax records).
+
  
 +
The symposium format also takes advantage of local expertise. Similar to national conferences, three to five talks are offered simultaneously in, for example, two morning and two afternoon sessions. One benefit is that topics that may be too narrow in interest for a program or workshop can be presented (such as Swedish research or Catholic records), in addition to broader topics (courthouse
 +
research). Remember to include at least one beginner or basic class (resources at the local genealogical library) during each time period.
  
+
Nationally-known speakers attract interest to the workshop, but are in great demand. Their fees and expenses are higher than for local speakers. Popular speakers often must be booked six months to one year in advance.
The symposium format also takes advantage
+
of local expertise. Similar to national
+
conferences, three to five talks are offered
+
simultaneously in, for example, two morning
+
and two afternoon sessions. One benefit is that
+
topics that may be too narrow in interest for a
+
program or workshop can be presented (such
+
as Swedish research or Catholic records),
+
in addition to broader topics (courthouse
+
research). Remember to include at least one  
+
beginner or basic class (resources at the local
+
genealogical library) during each time period.
+
  
Speakers may be found locally, within the  
+
Ideas for topics can be obtained from member surveys, the chosen speaker(s), or from conference programs presented by the Federation of Genealogical Societies or the National Genealogical Society. In general, topics fall into three categories: locality, sources, or methodology. The first is easier for a speaker to present, the last has broader appeal. Avoid topics recently presented in your region.
state, or nationally. A national speaker’s list
+
is available from the National Genealogical  
+
Society, 4527 17th Street North, Arlington,  
+
VA 22207-2399 postpaid for $10.00 for  
+
non-members and $8.00 for members. The
+
Genealogical Speakers Guild, 3421 M Street
+
N.W., Suite 329, Washington, D.C. 20007
+
has published a directory of its members.
+
One copy is available at no cost to a society,  
+
library or archives requesting it. Individuals
+
may purchase a copy for $10.00. Some state
+
societies also maintain speaker’s lists.
+
  
Nationally-known speakers attract interest to
+
Facilities, like speakers, often must be booked six months to one year in advance. Libraries, community centers, churches, schools, fraternal lodges, and hotels have been used successfully for workshops. Factors to consider in choosing a facility include: format chosen (affects number, size, and furnishings of rooms), number of attendees anticipated, type of seating arrangement (theater
the workshop, but are in great demand. Their
+
style or with tables), handicap access, rest rooms, facilities for meals and refreshments, space for registration and vendors, parking, and audiovisual equipment.
fees and expenses are higher than for local
+
speakers. Popular speakers often must be  
+
booked six months to one year in advance.
+
  
Ideas for topics can be obtained from
+
The date selected for a workshop often depends upon the availability of the facility and speaker. Avoid months when unexpected ice and snow could hinder attendees or the speaker from traveling. Because genealogists are frequently active in a number of organizations, it is virtually impossible to select a conflict-free date, but it is wise to check with those society members who would be helping with key tasks to minimize conflicts with their schedules.
member surveys, the chosen speaker(s), or  
+
from conference programs presented by the
+
Federation of Genealogical Societies or the
+
National Genealogical Society. In general,  
+
topics fall into three categories: locality,  
+
sources, or methodology. The first is easier
+
for a speaker to present, the last has broader
+
appeal. Avoid topics recently presented in
+
your region.
+
  
Facilities, like speakers, often must be booked
+
As indicated earlier, the important decisions that must first be made about format, speaker, topic, place and date are highly interrelated. The sooner initial planning can begin, the greater the options. As soon as the speaker(s) and facility have been determined, the coordinator should write a letter to each, confirming the date and terms. Once these tasks are completed, the coordinator can tackle other aspects of the event and begin delegating duties, such as publicity, vendor options, accommodations for speakers and attendees. These factors will be discussed in subsequent wiki entries.  
six months to one year in advance. Libraries,  
+
community centers, churches, schools,
+
fraternal lodges, and hotels have been used
+
successfully for workshops.
+
  
Factors to consider in choosing a facility
 
include: format chosen (affects number, size,
 
and furnishings of rooms), number of attendees
 
anticipated, type of seating arrangement (theater
 
style or with tables), handicap access, rest
 
rooms, facilities for meals and refreshments,
 
space for registration and vendors, parking,
 
and audiovisual equipment.
 
  
The date selected for a workshop often depends
+
== Publicity ==
upon the availability of the facility and speaker.
+
Avoid months when unexpected ice and snow
+
could hinder attendees or the speaker from
+
travelling. Because genealogists are frequently
+
active in a number of organizations, it is
+
virtually impossible to select a conflict-free
+
date, but it is wise to check with those society
+
members who would be helping with key tasks
+
to minimize conflicts with their schedules.
+
  
As indicated earlier, the important decisions
+
To fulfill the dual seminar or workshop goals of education and fund-raising, you must get people to attend. To secure as many people as possible to attend, you must have publicity—lots and lots of publicity. Good publicity generates enthusiasm. It is not enough merely to inform genealogists of the event. You must make them want to come. Publicity, more than any other factor, will make your event a success or a failure. It will determine if you meet both—or either—of your goals of education and fund-raising.
that must first be made about format, speaker,
+
topic, place and date are highly interrelated. The
+
sooner initial planning can begin, the greater
+
the options. As soon as the speaker(s) and
+
facility have been determined, the coordinator
+
should write a letter to each, confirming the
+
date and terms. Once these tasks are completed,
+
the coordinator can tackle other aspects of the  
+
event and begin delegating duties, such as
+
publicity, vendor options, accommodations for
+
speakers and attendees. These factors will be
+
discussed in subsequent papers.  
+
  
Publicity
+
Direct marketing principles assure us that it takes three “impressions” to make a sale. It helps if the impressions are within weeks of each other and if they are not just copies of the same flyer. Common forms of publicity for seminars and workshops are flyers, direct mailing, newsletters, meetings, and publicity notices. Before any major publicity can begin, a number of details must be finalized: the place, the exact time schedule, the exact titles for the talks, details about lunch, vendors, and the cost of registration. Unquestionably, the title used by one professional lecturer, “Grandma, Where Are You?” has more audience appeal than “Finding Females in the Midwest in the 19th Century.”
  
To fulfill the dual seminar or workshop goals of  
+
The number of walk-in registrations is increasing, which makes planning difficult. How many handouts should be printed? Is seating sufficient? Will there be enough lunches? To minimize this problem, set a preregistration deadline three or four weeks in advance in order to complete arrangements in a relaxed manner. Set a cost incentive sufficient to attract more preregistrations ($2-3 is not enough, $5-10 may be). State in your publicity that registrations received after a certain date, and walk-in registrations, are not guaranteed a copy of the handouts or luncheons.  
education and fund-raising, you must get people
+
to attend. To secure as many people as possible
+
to attend, you must have publicity—lots and
+
lots of publicity. Good publicity generates
+
enthusiasm. It is not enough merely to inform
+
genealogists of the event. You must make them
+
want to come. Publicity, more than any other
+
factor, will make your event a success or a
+
failure. It will determine if you meet both—or
+
  
Planning Successful Seminars and Workshops
+
An eye-catching flyer will be instrumental in attracting more genealogists to your seminar or workshop. A significant percentage of those attending seminars or workshops will be non-members of the sponsoring societies. The flyer will be the only available way to contact those genealogists.
  
Page 2
+
The purpose of the flyer is two-fold: to give potential attendees complete information about the workshop and to interest them in coming. Obviously, a sheet of paper listing name, date, and place is insufficient. Your information must include text about the speaker and about each topic, and details about the schedule, location, parking, meals, handicap access, and any special features.
  
FGS Society Strategies, Set VI Number 5
+
An effective flyer need not be expensive to prepare or print and will bring many additional persons to your workshop. Colored paper helps attract attention to your flyer and increases the
 +
cost only nominally. Some feel that the color yellow makes the best impression. Colored ink adds significantly to the cost and is more difficult to read. Neatness counts. The flyer should be prepared enough in advance to be at the printers two months before the event. Proofread! Proofread!
  
 +
Flyers can be distributed in a number of ways. They should be placed appropriately on display for “pick up” at local libraries and other sites. They should be mailed to members or inserted
 +
in the newsletter. They should be mailed to non-members. Be sure to send copies of the flyer to surrounding genealogical societies. Maintaining a mailing list of non-members is a volunteer task that is best undertaken as a year-to-year job. It requires a significant amount of effort, but is much easier if you don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” each year. Every non-member or former member
 +
who attends a workshop, visits a meeting, or uses the library should be on this list. This list is important and the number of names should grow regularly.
  
+
Use your newsletter, website, blog, or Facebook site to expand upon the basic information included in the flyer. Provide additional information about the speaker, perhaps even an interview. List the number of vendors attending, who they are and some of the items they will have available. Promote the workshop as an opportunity for genealogists to share experiences and information with old  
either—of your goals of education and fund-
+
raising.
+
 
+
Direct marketing principles assure us that it
+
takes three “impressions” to make a sale. It
+
helps if the impressions are within weeks of
+
each other and if they are not just copies of
+
the same flyer. Common forms of publicity
+
for seminars and workshops are flyers, direct
+
mailing, newsletters, meetings, and publicity
+
notices. Before any major publicity can begin,
+
a number of details must be finalized: the place,
+
the exact time schedule, the exact titles for the
+
talks, details about lunch, vendors, and the
+
cost of registration. Unquestionably, the title
+
used by one professional lecturer, “Grandma,
+
Where Are You?” has more audience appeal
+
than “Finding Females in the Midwest in the
+
19th Century.”
+
 
+
The number of walk-in registrations is
+
increasing, which makes planning difficult.
+
How many handouts should be printed?
+
Is seating sufficient? Will there be enough
+
lunches? To minimize this problem, set a
+
preregistration deadline three or four weeks in
+
advance in order to complete arrangements in a
+
relaxed manner. Set a cost incentive sufficient
+
to attract more preregistrations ($2-3 is not
+
enough, $4-5 may be).
+
 
+
An eye-catching flyer will be instrumental in
+
attracting more genealogists to your workshop.
+
A significant percentage of those attending
+
seminars or workshops will be nonmenbers
+
of the sponsoring societies. The flyer will
+
be the only available way to contact those
+
genealogists.
+
 
+
The purpose of the flyer is two-fold: to give
+
potential attendees complete information
+
about the workshop and to interest them in
+
coming. Obviously, a sheet of paper listing
+
name, date, and place is insufficient. Your
+
information must include paragraphs about the
+
speaker and about each topic, and details about
+
the schedule, location, meals, handicap access,
+
and any special features.
+
 
+
An effective flyer need not be expensive to
+
prepare or print and will bring many additional
+
persons to your workshop. Colored paper helps
+
attract attention to your flyer and increases the
+
cost only nominally. Some feel that the color
+
yellow makes the best impression. Colored
+
ink adds significantly to the cost and is more
+
difficult to read. Neatness counts. The flyer
+
should be prepared enough in advance to be
+
at the printers two months before the event.
+
Proofread! Proofread!
+
 
+
Flyers can be distributed in a number of ways.
+
They should be placed appropriately on display
+
for “pick up” at local libraries and other sites.
+
They should be mailed to members or inserted
+
in the newsletter. They should be mailed to
+
nonmenbers. Maintaining a mailing list of
+
nonmenbers is a volunteer task that is best
+
undertaken as a year-to-year job. It requires a
+
significant amount of effort, but is much easier
+
if you don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” each
+
year. Every nonmember or former member
+
who attends a workshop, visits a meeting, or  
+
uses the library should be on this list. This list
+
is important and the number of names should
+
grow regularly.
+
 
+
Use your newsletter to expand upon the basic  
+
information included in the flyer. Provide  
+
additional information about the speaker,  
+
perhaps even an interview. List the number of  
+
vendors attending, who they are and some of  
+
the items they will have available. Promote the  
+
workshop as an opportunity for genealogists  
+
to share experiences and information with old  
+
 
friends and distant cousins.
 
friends and distant cousins.
  
At your meetings, ask a member who has  
+
At your meetings, ask a member who has previously heard the speaker to give a testimonial. Personal testimony is the best recommendation.
previously heard the speaker to give a  
+
testimonial. Personal testimony is the best  
+
recommendation.
+
 
+
A press-release notice should go to every
+
genealogical columnist, genealogical and
+
historical society, radio and television station,
+
and newspaper (including the neighborhood
+
shopping newspapers) within at least a 100-mile
+
 
+
Planning Successful Seminars and Workshops
+
 
+
Page 3
+
 
+
FGS Society Strategies, Set VI Number 5
+
  
 +
A press-release notice should go to every genealogical columnist, genealogical and historical society, radio and television station, and newspaper (including the neighborhood shopping newspapers) within at least a 100-mile radius. It should contain two short paragraphs that can be “lifted’ easily for publication, and—above all—it should make your workshop sound like the interesting and important event that it will be. Be sure to include the society’s mailing address and website URL, an e-mail address, and the name and telephone number of a contact person in the text.
  
+
The FGS FORUM publishes a “Calendar of Events” for member societies in every issue. Realize, however, that all publications require notification far in advance of the event.
radius. It should contain two short paragraphs
+
that can be “lifted’ easily for publication, and—
+
above all—it should make your workshop
+
sound like the interesting and important event
+
that it will be. Be sure to include the society’s
+
mailing address in the text. If a society member
+
uses a computer bulletin board for genealogy,
+
ask him or her to put out a notice. Mail
+
notices to appropriate national publications.
+
The FGS FORUM publishes a “Calendar of  
+
Events” for member societies in every issue.  
+
Realize, however, that all publications require  
+
notification far in advance of the event.
+
  
If you have planned your seminar or workshop  
+
If you have planned your seminar or workshop well, it will be interesting, it will be fun, it will be educational—a day that area genealogists won’t want to miss. Convey that through your publicity,  
well, it will be interesting, it will be fun, it will be  
+
educational—a day that area genealogists won’t  
+
want to miss. Convey that through your publicity,  
+
 
and they will come.  
 
and they will come.  
  
Planning Successful Seminars and Workshops
 
  
Page 4
 
  
FGS Society Strategies, Set VI Number 5
+
----
  
 +
----
  
 
Society Strategies
 
  
Federation of Genealogical Societies
 
  
P.O. Box 830220 Richardson TX 75083-0220
 
  
April 1996
+
== Part Two - Vendor Options and Accommodations ==
  
Series Set VI Number 6
 
  
The FGS Society Strategies Series © consists of papers which offer suggestions and instructions for innovative
+
== Vendor Options ==
and effective management for genealogical and historical societies.
+
  
The Federation holds a copyright to this material.  
+
Vendors contribute to successful seminars and workshops by providing an opportunity to learn about and purchase genealogical materials: books, forms, and novelties; preservation, presentation and photographic supplies and services; computer hardware, software, and training; book preparation, printing, and publishing.
  
Planning Successful Seminars and Workshops
+
Vendors, like speakers and facilities, often are committed far in advance of an event. If you plan to have vendor displays at your workshop, as soon as you have finalized the date send “Mark your calendar now” postcards to vendors who have participated in the past.
  
Part Two - Vendor Options and Accommodations
+
Like your publicity mailing lists, vendor lists and letters are best maintained from year to year by one volunteer. In this way, the mailing list can be enlarged, and a clear, informative letter and response form developed. Letters should be mailed to as many vendors as possible, outlining the types of participation:
 
+
<ul>
by Patricia Law Hatcher, CG
+
<li>'''Flyers or brochures.''' Many societies prepare “goodie bags” for each participant that contain advertising flyers. In localities where there are not many workshop opportunities, these gifts are enthusiastically received. In areas with many workshops, ecologically conscious societies suggest that vendors send brochures for only a portion of those expected to attend, perhaps one-half. The brochures are placed on a “freebie table” where attendees choose those items of interest to them.
 
+
<li>'''Door prizes.''' Vendors should be given adequate recognition for their donations. Try displaying the door prizes (with appropriate labels) on a table during the morning sessions. Presentation  
Vendor Options
+
should be efficient and not rob time from the program. When the prizes are awarded, read the vendor’s name, describe the prize, announce the winner. Have volunteers distribute the prizes to the winners (rather than the winners come forward); this can be a great time saver.
 
+
<li>'''Syllabus ad.''' If the handout materials are in bound format, you may wish to include display ads. Be specific about the acceptable sizes and the form of the ad. It must be in final size with  
Vendors contribute to successful seminars and
+
clear printing on white paper; photographs should be screened. Send a style sheet and rate schedule with the initial vendor letter.
workshops by providing an opportunity to learn
+
<li>'''Display or sales table.''' Make the vendor’s letters informative and specific. Try to answer, in advance, any questions they might have. What is the cost of the table? It could be a door prize of a  
about and purchase genealogical materials:
+
certain value, a flat price, or free. Are the number of tables limited? What is the exact size? Does it come with a cover or a drape? How many chairs are provided? Can signs be hung on the walls? Are  
books, forms, and novelties; preservation,
+
presentation and photographic supplies and
+
services; computer hardware, software, and
+
training; book preparation, printing, and
+
publishing; microfiche/film readers and rental.
+
 
+
Vendors, like speakers and facilities, often are
+
committed far in advance of an event. If you
+
plan to have vendor displays at your workshop,
+
as soon as you have finalized the date send
+
“Mark your calendar now” postcards to vendors
+
who have participated in the past.
+
 
+
Like your publicity mailing lists, vendor lists  
+
and letters are best maintained from year to year  
+
by one volunteer. In this way, the mailing list  
+
can be enlarged, and a clear, informative letter  
+
and response form developed. Letters should  
+
be mailed to as many vendors as possible,  
+
outlining the types of participation:
+
 
+
Flyers or brochures. Many societies prepare  
+
“goodie bags” for each participant that contain  
+
advertising flyers. In localities where there  
+
are not many workshop opportunities, these  
+
gifts are enthusiastically received. In areas  
+
with many workshops, ecologically conscious  
+
societies suggest that vendors send brochures  
+
for only a portion of those expected to attend,  
+
perhaps one-half. The brochures are placed on  
+
a “freebie table” where attendees choose those  
+
items of interest to them.
+
 
+
Door prizes. Vendors should be given adequate  
+
recognition for their donations. Try displaying  
+
the door prizes (with appropriate labels) on a  
+
table during the morning sessions. Presentation  
+
should be efficient and not rob time from the  
+
program. When the prizes are awarded, read the  
+
vendor’s name, describe the prize, announce  
+
the winner. Have volunteers distribute the  
+
prizes to the winners (rather than the winners  
+
come forward); this can be a great time saver.
+
 
+
Syllabus ad. If the handout materials are in  
+
bound format, you may wish to include display  
+
ads. Be specific about the acceptable sizes and  
+
the form of the ad. It must be in final size with  
+
clear printing on white paper; photographs  
+
should be screened. Send a style sheet and rate  
+
schedule with the initial vendor letter.
+
 
+
 
+
+
Display or sales table. Make the vendor’s  
+
letters informative and specific. Try to answer, in  
+
advance, any questions they might have. What is  
+
the cost of the table? It could be a door prize of a  
+
certain value, a flat price, or free. Are the number  
+
of tables limited? What is the exact size? Does it  
+
come with a cover or a drape? How many chairs  
+
are provided? Can signs be hung on the walls? Are  
+
 
electrical outlets available?
 
electrical outlets available?
 +
</ul>
  
Scheduling is important to vendors who must  
+
Scheduling is important to vendors who must drive several hours to your location. When will the doors open for vendor set-up? Ample time should be allowed before attendees are admitted. When are  
drive several hours to your location. When will the  
+
browsing times scheduled? When must the facility be vacated? Can the vendors attend the lectures? If so, must they pay the registration fee? Will the vendor area be open during the lectures? Provide  
doors open for vendor set-up? Ample time should  
+
maps to your location, along with a diagram detailing where vendors may unload and park, and the route to the display area. There should be a ramp or elevator, not stairs, and the distance should not  
be allowed before attendees are admitted. When are  
+
browsing times scheduled? When must the facility  
+
be vacated? Can the vendors attend the lectures?  
+
If so, must they pay the registration fee? Will the  
+
vendor area be open during the lectures? Provide  
+
maps to your location, along with a diagram  
+
detailing where vendors may unload and park, and  
+
the route to the display area. There should be a ramp  
+
or elevator, not stairs, and the distance should not  
+
 
be excessive. Include a contract/response form.
 
be excessive. Include a contract/response form.
  
Once vendor letters have been mailed and responses  
+
Once vendor letters have been mailed and responses received, get ready for the big day. Give ads to the syllabus chairman immediately. Neatly stack brochures for the freebie table in boxes, ready  
received, get ready for the big day. Give ads to  
+
to be set out. If you prepare goodie bags, draft several volunteers for a “stuffing party.” Invite new members. Organize the items including syllabus, handouts, and registration materials around a large  
the syllabus chairman immediately. Neatly stack  
+
dining room table and the work will go quickly. One secret of successful workshops is to use as many different volunteers as possible, asking each to donate just a few hours, and make those hours a  
brochures for the freebie table in boxes, ready  
+
to be set out. If you prepare goodie bags, draft  
+
several volunteers for a “stuffing party.” Invite new  
+
members. Organize the items including syllabus,  
+
handouts, and registration materials around a large  
+
dining room table and the work will go quickly.  
+
One secret of successful workshops is to use as  
+
many different volunteers as possible, asking each  
+
to donate just a few hours, and make those hours a  
+
 
fun experience.
 
fun experience.
  
Prepare a floor plan marked with doors, tables (for  
+
Prepare a floor plan marked with doors, tables (for registration, freebies, door prizes, and vendors), chairs, electrical outlets, and each vendor’s location. Tables should have sufficient space in  
registration, freebies, door prizes, and vendors),  
+
front of them to allow browsing without causing traffic jams. Prepare signs with each vendor’s name. If the exhibit area is not obvious, prepare “vendors this way” signs.
chairs, electrical outlets, and each vendor’s  
+
location. Tables should have sufficient space in  
+
front of them to allow browsing without causing  
+
traffic jams. Prepare signs with each vendor’s  
+
name. If the exhibit area is not obvious, prepare  
+
“vendors this way” signs.
+
  
Prior to the workshop day, assign volunteers to  
+
Prior to the workshop day, assign volunteers to check the table set-up, to see that doors to the unloading area are open and the route clearly marked, and to help as needed. Each vendor’s table should have a daily schedule. Sufficient time for attendees to visit all vendors should be arranged. Time before the first session makes registration easier and gives early birds plenty of time for shopping.
check the table set-up, to see that doors to the  
+
unloading area are open and the route clearly  
+
marked, and to help as needed. Each vendor’s  
+
table should have a daily schedule. Sufficient  
+
time for attendees to visit all vendors should be  
+
arranged. Time before the first session makes  
+
registration easier and gives early birds plenty of  
+
time for shopping.
+
  
Whether in person, or by door prizes, brochures,  
+
Whether in person, or by door prizes, brochures, and ads, vendors are important participants in any successful workshop. Vendor tables attract genealogists to your workshop, where browsing  
and ads, vendors are important participants in  
+
any successful workshop. Vendor tables attract  
+
genealogists to your workshop, where browsing  
+
 
can be a favorite activity of the day.
 
can be a favorite activity of the day.
  
Accommodating Speakers
 
  
Watchwords for the relationship between the
+
== Accommodating Speakers ==
society and the speaker are communication and
+
courtesy. The speaker is both a professional
+
and a guest of the society, and should be treated
+
accordingly. On the workshop day, you want a
+
happy speaker—one who is comfortable, rested,
+
and knows that you have planned well.
+
  
When the date is set, send confirmation to the  
+
Watchwords for the relationship between the society and the speaker are communication and courtesy. The speaker is both a professional and a guest of the society, and should be treated accordingly. On the workshop day, you want a happy speaker—one who is comfortable, rested, and knows that you have planned well.
speaker. Request a brief description of each
+
topic under consideration and the level of each
+
(basic, intermediate, advanced). Continue to
+
communicate as you complete arrangements for
+
transportation, accommodations, meals and the
+
workshop schedule. Details on which both the
+
society and speaker should be clear include:
+
  
The fee. How much and when to be paid? Will  
+
When the date is set, send confirmation to the speaker. Request a brief description of each topic under consideration and the level of each (basic, intermediate, advanced). Continue to communicate as you complete arrangements for transportation, accommodations, meals and the workshop schedule. Details on which both the society and speaker should be clear include:
the speaker have books or other material to sell?  
+
<ul>
Who will do the selling? Will the society receive  
+
<li>'''The fee.''' How much and when to be paid? Will the speaker have books or other material to sell? Who will do the selling? Will the society receive a commission?
a commission?
+
<li>'''Audio-visual equipment.''' Will the speaker be using a digital projector or overheads? Who will provide this? Is a chalk or marker board required? Appoint a society member to operate and adjust the equipment and lighting. Check to make sure that there are extension cords, markers, erasers, and pointers available.
 
+
<li>'''Handouts.''' How many pages are there? Who will reproduce them? If it will be the society, by what date are the originals required? If the speaker provided them by what date is the attendance count  
Audio-visual equipment. Will the speaker be  
+
needed? Distributing handouts during a lecture is disruptive; do this at registration or prior to each session.
using slides or overheads? Is a chalk or marker  
+
<li>'''Travel.''' Who will make the arrangements—will the society purchase the ticket or reimburse the speaker? When does the speaker prefer to travel? Is a particular airline preferred? If the speaker is  
board required? Appoint a society member to  
+
driving, will reimbursement be based on actual mileage or an agreed-upon sum?
operate and adjust the equipment and lighting.  
+
<li>'''Local transportation.''' If flying, the speaker should be greeted at the airport and escorted to the hotel by a society member (and vice versa at the end of the visit). If the speaker is driving, provide  
Check to see that there are extension cords,  
+
detailed directions to the workshop location and/or hotel where all accommodations should be arranged by the society. Provide a written schedule of transportation to and from the workshop, all  
markers, erasers, and pointers available.
+
meals, and any special events. Ask of there are any local sights or research facilities that the speaker would like to visit, and provide a society host or hostess.
 
+
<li>'''Lodging.''' Although some speakers are willing to stay in a member’s home, most prefer a hotel or motel (not necessarily elegant, but clean, quiet, comfortable, with food service). Ask if a non-
Handouts. How many pages are there? Who will  
+
reproduce them? If it will be the society, by what  
+
date are the originals required? If the speaker  
+
 
+
Planning Successful Seminars and Workshops
+
 
+
Page 2
+
 
+
FGS Society Strategies, Set VI Number 6
+
 
+
 
+
+
provided them by what date is the attendance count  
+
needed? Distributing handouts during a lecture is  
+
disruptive; do this at registration or prior to each  
+
session.
+
 
+
Travel. Who will make the arrangements—will  
+
the society purchase the ticket or reimburse the  
+
speaker? When does the speaker prefer to travel?  
+
Is a particular airline preferred? If the speaker is  
+
driving, will reimbursement be based on actual  
+
mileage or an agreed-upon sum?
+
 
+
Local transportation. If flying, the speaker  
+
should be greeted at the airport and escorted to the  
+
hotel by a society member (and vice versa at the  
+
end of the visit). If the speaker is driving, provide  
+
detailed directions to the workshop location and/
+
or hotel where all accommodations should be  
+
arranged by the society. Provide a written schedule  
+
of transportation to and from the workshop, all  
+
meals, and any special events. Ask of there are any  
+
local sights or research facilities that the speaker  
+
would like to visit, and provide a society host or  
+
hostess.
+
 
+
Lodging. Although some speakers are willing to  
+
stay in a member’s home, most prefer a hotel or  
+
motel (not necessarily elegant, but clean, quiet,  
+
comfortable, with food service). Ask if a non-
+
 
smoking or a smoking room is preferred.
 
smoking or a smoking room is preferred.
 +
<li>'''Meals and entertainment.''' The society is responsible for all meals while the speaker is in town. Do not forget lunch during the workshop. Check on dietary restrictions. Some societies enjoy hosting a reception or dinner for the speaker. Check with the speaker first. Many want to use the evening before to prepare for the upcoming presentation and will be more relaxed at a post-workshop celebration. Others may need to return home immediately after the workshop.
 +
</ul>
 +
At the workshop, the introducer should review the speaker’s resume and chat a few minutes with the speaker. Do not read the resume verbatim. Select a few significant points and add one or two pertinent personal items. For example, that next week marks the speaker’s fifteenth anniversary at the historical society, or that by using the records about to be described the speaker found a horse thief—in the spouse’s ancestry.
  
Meals and entertainment. The society is
+
The audio-visual coordinator needs to check everything thoroughly before the opening session. Ice water should be placed on the lectern.
responsible for all meals while the speaker is in
+
town. Do not forget lunch during the workshop.
+
Check on dietary restrictions. Some societies
+
enjoy hosting a reception or dinner for the speaker.
+
Check with the speaker first. Many want to use
+
the evening before to prepare for the upcoming
+
presentation and will be more relaxed at a post-
+
workshop celebration. Others may need to return
+
home immediately after the workshop.
+
  
At the workshop, the introducer should review the
+
A break should be, literally a break for the speaker, not an opportunity for the audience to get personal answers to research questions. Allow the speaker to leave the room a few minutes before the audience. Show the speaker where the restrooms are.
speaker’s resume and chat a few minutes with the  
+
speaker. Do not read the resume verbatim. Select a
+
few significant points and add one or two pertinent
+
personal items. For example, that next week marks
+
the speaker’s fifteenth anniversary at the historical
+
society, or that by using the records about to be
+
described the speaker found a horse thief—in the  
+
spouse’s ancestry.
+
  
The audio-visual coordinator needs to check
+
Ask how the speaker prefers to handle questions and announce this at the opening session. One good way is to distribute 3x5 file cards at the opening session, requesting that audience members print
everything thoroughly before the opening session.  
+
questions and include their names. The speaker may prefer to answer questions after each session or at the end of the day.
Ice water should be placed on the lectern.
+
  
A break should be, literally a break for the speaker,  
+
A week to ten days after the workshop, forward any evaluations collected at the event that pertain to the speaker or topics. This is also the time to send a brief letter indicating the society’s appreciation
not an opportunity for the audience to get personal
+
of the presentation.
answers to research questions. Allow the speaker to
+
leave the room a few minutes before the audience.  
+
If the speaker is a smoker, locate the smoking
+
areas in the building. Show the speaker where the
+
restrooms are.
+
  
Ask how the speaker prefers to handle questions
 
and announce this at the opening session. One good
 
way is to distribute 3x5 file cards at the opening
 
session, requesting that audience members print
 
questions and include their names. The speaker
 
may prefer to answer questions after each session
 
or at the end of the day.
 
  
A week to ten days after the workshop, forward
+
== Accommodating Attendees ==
any evaluations collected at the event that pertain
+
to the speaker or topics. This is also the time to send
+
a brief letter indicating the society’s appreciation
+
of the presentation.
+
  
Accommodating Attendees
+
To achieve your workshop goals, you must focus on one thing—making “satisfied customers” of those who attend. Everyone should feel they are getting value for their registration fee—and that they will  
 
+
want to return next year and bring a friend. An event that is profitable this year, but fails to satisfy, will cause next year’s event to suffer. Remember the maxim: a happy customer tells one, but an  
To achieve your workshop goals, you must focus on  
+
one thing—making “satisfied customers” of those  
+
who attend. Everyone should feel they are getting  
+
value for their registration fee—and that they will  
+
want to return next year and bring a friend. An  
+
event that is profitable this year, but fails to satisfy,  
+
will cause next year’s event to suffer. Remember  
+
the maxim: a happy customer tells one, but an  
+
 
unhappy customer tells ten!
 
unhappy customer tells ten!
  
The facility should be comfortable and convenient.  
+
The facility should be comfortable and convenient. The vendor area should be uncrowded, with ample time for browsing. The speaker should be both knowledgeable and interesting. The audience should be able to see any visual aids and hear the speaker easily.
The vendor area should be uncrowded, with ample  
+
time for browsing. The speaker should be both  
+
knowledgeable and interesting. The audience  
+
should be able to see any visual aids and hear the  
+
speaker easily.
+
 
+
Provide plenty of signs. Check with building staff
+
 
+
Planning Successful Seminars and Workshops
+
 
+
Page 3
+
 
+
FGS Society Strategies, Set VI Number 6
+
 
+
  
+
Provide plenty of signs. Check with building staff about any restrictions as to how signs may be mounted. Point the way to parking areas and the main door with large visible signs. If the building has several entrances, you may need signs on other doors pointing to the registration area. At registration, place the signs designating the lines for pre-registration and walk-ins above the table, not  
about any restrictions as to how signs may be  
+
on the front. Point the way to the vendor displays, restrooms, smoking areas, vending machines, eating areas, elevators, stairs, classrooms, and lecture halls—anywhere those participating may  
mounted. Point the way to parking areas and the  
+
main door with large visible signs. If the building  
+
has several entrances, you may need signs on  
+
other doors pointing to the registration area. At  
+
registration, place the signs designating the lines  
+
for preregistration and walk-ins above the table, not  
+
on the front. Point the way to the vendor displays,  
+
restrooms, smoking areas, vending machines,  
+
eating areas, elevators, stairs, classrooms, and  
+
lecture halls—anywhere those participating may  
+
 
want to go.
 
want to go.
  
You will need lots of volunteers—not a few  
+
You will need lots of volunteers—not a few people doing everything, but many people each contributing a little to a successful event. It is important to involve as many members as possible so they feel that they are a part of the success. Volunteers are enthusiastic, and their enthusiasm is contagious. Remember to have all volunteers stand to receive a big “Thank You!”
people doing everything, but many people each  
+
contributing a little to a successful event. It is  
+
important to involve as many members as possible  
+
so they feel that they are a part of the success.  
+
Volunteers are enthusiastic, and their enthusiasm  
+
is contagious. Remember to have all volunteers  
+
stand to receive a big “Thank You!”
+
  
As soon as the building is unlocked, station a  
+
As soon as the building is unlocked, station a volunteer at the main door(s) to greet everyone with a cheerful “Good morning! Registration is to your left,” and to hold the door when needed.
volunteer at the main door(s) to greet everyone  
+
with a cheerful “Good morning! Registration is to  
+
your left,” and to hold the door when needed.
+
  
At registration, have at least one volunteer for each  
+
At registration, have at least one volunteer for each one hundred people expected, twice that if you expect many walk-ins or if the registration period is short. In the hallways, have volunteers to point  
one hundred people expected, twice that if you  
+
the way for those who are new to the building or who have gotten themselves turned around. The more maze-like the facility, the more volunteers you will need. All volunteers should wear a  
expect many walk-ins or if the registration period  
+
brightly colored ribbon, button, or name tag saying “Volunteer” or “Ask Me!”
is short. In the hallways, have volunteers to point  
+
the way for those who are new to the building or  
+
who have gotten themselves turned around. The  
+
more maze-like the facility, the more volunteers  
+
you will need. All volunteers should wear a  
+
brightly colored ribbon, button, or name tag saying  
+
“Volunteer” or “Ask Me!”
+
  
To ensure the comfort of those attending, arrange  
+
To ensure the comfort of those attending, arrange for about twenty percent more chairs in the lecture room(s) than will be needed. It is difficult to get everyone seated in a room that is filled to capacity.  
for about twenty percent more chairs in the lecture  
+
It is also uncomfortable and stuffy. This is less of a problem in auditoriums with built-in seating.
room(s) than will be needed. It is difficult to get  
+
everyone seated in a room that is filled to capacity.  
+
It is also uncomfortable and stuffy. This is less of a  
+
problem in auditoriums with built-in seating.
+
  
Temperature is a frequent complaint. You will  
+
Temperature is a frequent complaint. You will never please everyone, but if most people are too hot or too cold, an adjustment should be made. Tell the facility staff how many you are expecting  
never please everyone, but if most people are too  
+
so they can set the temperature accordingly. Remember that rooms will seem colder in the morning, but will heat rapidly when filled with people. If no building maintenance person will be on hand, a volunteer should meet earlier with that person to learn how to make adjustments.
hot or too cold, an adjustment should be made.  
+
Tell the facility staff how many you are expecting  
+
so they can set the temperature accordingly.  
+
Remember that rooms will seem colder in the  
+
morning, but will heat rapidly when filled with  
+
people. If no building maintenance person will be  
+
on hand, a volunteer should meet earlier with that  
+
person to learn how to make adjustments.
+
  
The plans for the meals should be stated in the  
+
The plans for the meals should be stated in the publicity and explained again during the morning announcements. Provide an eating area if lunch is “brown bag.” If lunch is not provided, include  
publicity and explained again during the morning  
+
a list and a map of nearby eating places in the registration packet. Morning refreshments are a good idea and help keep audience attention from lagging during the pre-lunch lecture.
announcements. Provide an eating area if lunch  
+
is “brown bag.” If lunch is not provided, include  
+
a list and a map of nearby eating places in the  
+
registration packet. Morning refreshments are a  
+
good idea and help keep audience attention from  
+
lagging during the pre-lunch lecture.
+
  
Genealogists love to talk genealogy. The  
+
Genealogists love to talk genealogy. The opportunity to do so is one of the highlights of the day. Name tags for surnames are often used. Be creative; if the subject of the day is a state, provide a tag with the county lines drawn and let each person color the counties of interest. This helps strangers become a part of a group easily. At lunch, label each table with a different geographical area or state and encourage people to sit at their favorite research place to share experiences and questions.
opportunity to do so is one of the highlights of  
+
the day. Name tags for surnames are often used.  
+
Be creative; if the subject of the day is a state,  
+
provide a tag with the county lines drawn and  
+
let each person color the counties of interest.  
+
This helps strangers become a part of a group  
+
easily. At lunch, label each table with a different  
+
geographical area or state and encourage people  
+
to sit at their favorite research place to share  
+
experiences and questions.
+
  
Something will go wrong. Don’t panic. Have  
+
Something will go wrong. Don’t panic. Have at least one volunteer who is available to “go fer” whatever is needed or complete whatever assignment arises. Genealogists are quite understanding if something goes wrong. However, planning carefully will avoid foreseeable problems.
at least one volunteer who is available to “go  
+
fer” whatever is needed or complete whatever  
+
assignment arises. Genealogists are quite  
+
understanding if something goes wrong. However,  
+
planning carefully will avoid foreseeable  
+
problems.
+
  
How will you know you have achieved a  
+
How will you know you have achieved a successful event? When everyone says, “This was great! When is the next one?”
successful event? When everyone says, “This  
+
was great! When is the next one?”
+

Latest revision as of 08:07, 30 August 2013

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