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Planning client seminars checklist.

Client seminars are an effective means of practice development, bringing clients, prospects and referral sources together and building closer relationships. Here are tips for planning and running a successful seminar.


Form a development team and appoint a coordinator. Assign enough people to ensure sufficient attention to detail. The team's initial responsibilities are to make the following decisions:

* What area will the seminar focus on and what related topics will be discussed? Topics should be timely, directly related to the needs of invited clients and focused on specific problems and solutions.

For example, if you decide to target clients involved in venture capital investments, possible topics could include tax planning for closely held corporations, cash management, financial analysis and planning for small to medium-sized businesses.

* Who will be the discussion leaders? Select leaders from within the firm or outside experts known by the firm's partners and staff who can highlight chosen topics by discussing personal experiences and presenting case studies.

* What size will the seminar be? The number of participants should be limited to a group that can be handled easily the facility and discussion leaders and that will permit easily developed relationships - usually about 20 people.

In selecting participants, include only those interested in the seminar's topic, blending clients, prospects and referral sources.


Next, detailed arrangements must be made regarding where and when the seminar will take place:

* Arrange for the chosen hotel room or other conference facility.

* Request confirmation of your requirements letters (space, food, beverages) signed by responsible officials.

* Coordinate menu and catering services, either choosing to serve a full lunch or refreshments and drinks. When budgeting, don't overlook likelihood at most functions at which food and beverages are served will have tax and gratuities added to the bill.

* Contact prospective discussion leaders and confirm their participation.

* Send announcement letters and invitations to clients. Arrange for someone to monitor acceptances. Send advance mailing to those who accept.

* Prepare materials for distribution, including handouts and visual aids such as slides and flip charts.


At he seminar, remember to

* Introduce participants.

* Set place cards and distribute name tags.

* Make sure partners and staff join the group for lunch (if one is planned) or for cocktails.


When the seminar is over

* Follow up with letters to all who were invited (participants and no-shows).

* Put participants on the mailing list of your client newsletter.

* Make phone calls to those with whom acquaintances were made and develop relationships.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Institute of CPA's
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Date:May 1, 1993
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