Plan an Effective Seminar | American Funds

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Plan an Effective Seminar

A well-executed seminar can help you build your business and establish you as a valued community resource. Follow these steps to help plan your next seminar.


Select a topic

Determine the purpose of your seminar. Make it a topic of interest to the attendees and give the event a name that clearly identifies the subject matter and reflects the benefits for them.

Craft a compelling message for your seminar that will entice attendees to follow up with you.


Logistics and planning

6 to 8 weeks before the event
  • Determine the event budget. Negotiate fees and costs with relevant parties. $20 a person is typical.
  • Reserve the venue, date and time. An ideal venue accommodates your guests comfortably, is free from outside distractions and is easily accessible via car or public transportation.
  • Confirm guest speakers.
  • Arrange for presentation devices. Ensure you have access to a projector, microphone, laptop, projection screen and any other technical support that your presentation may require.
  • Order invitations and envelopes.
3 to 4 weeks before the event
  • Hand-address your invitations. Ask each invitee to bring a friend, spouse or business associate, if desired.
  • Mail your invitations about 3 weeks before the event.
  • Arrange for light refreshments to be delivered to your venue. These could include coffee, tea, bottled water, soft drinks, snacks and hors d’oeuvres.
  • Follow up with your guests via telephone. Making these calls yourself demonstrates the level of importance you place on their attendance. Based on their responses, create a guest list.

Final preparation

2 weeks before the event
  • Start practicing your presentation or introduction. Your goal is to come across as strong, knowledgeable and approachable.
  • Confirm your venue and presentation devices.
  • Order supporting literature and prospectuses.
  • Purchase name tags, pens and notepads.
1 week before the event
  • Fine-tune your presentation. Familiarize yourself with all the technical equipment. Make sure that you’ve scripted moments throughout the presentation to foster attendee interaction.
  • Prepare handouts. These may include a financial planning questionnaire, a future seminar topics survey, and a client referral form.
  • Meet with your support staff to discuss procedures. Discuss how to greet and register guests, distribute literature, and arrange follow-up meetings.
  • Ensure a full room. Give the venue-booking manager a guest list total that is lower than the number you expect to ensure a full room. Additional chairs can be brought in once the actual attendance is final.

Presentation and follow-up

Day of the presentation
  • Dress for the audience and your position.
  • Arrive at least 1 hour early to ensure the room is set up properly.
    • Seating should be classroom style with a clear center aisle so each guest has an unobstructed view of your presentation.
    • Check lighting and any audiovisual equipment.
    • Set the heat or air conditioning to a comfortable level.
    • Have water available for all speakers.
    • Arrange pens and notepads for guests.
    • Set up a flip chart or easel if necessary.
Within a week
  • Follow up with thank-you calls or letters to seminar attendees and speakers. This step is crucial for your event’s success.
  • Invite attendees to your office if they expressed interest in a consultation.

This material is intended for use by financial professionals or in conjunction with the advice of a financial professional.

Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained in the fund prospectuses and summary prospectuses, which can be obtained from a financial professional and should be read carefully before investing.