Ensuring Smooth Seminar Management
At Mitsue-Links, we host free seminars to share with clients both knowledge possessed by employees and that gained through our business activities. As previously stated by a colleague in the column - looking back over 10 years of seminars (in Japanese), the two objectives of our seminars are to ① demonstrate our technical capabilities, and, ② make contact with corporate web managers.
Especially regarding point ②, hosting seminars provides an important opportunity to contact potential clients, therefore we don't want to ruin the occasion because of our own trivial problems. To mitigate risks and thus ensure participants can focus on listening to content in a comfortable environment, our Seminar Secretariat pays close attention to the management of seminars.
The Seminar Secretariat's Work Resembles that of an Event Management Company
The Seminar Secretariat is responsible for all Mitsue-Links seminar arrangements - from the initial announcement, two months in advance, to follow-up tasks after completion. We seek to ensure that participants are guided smoothly and without issue, from seminar application to the time they begin their journey home.
Beginning with the seminar moderator, the running of seminars is based on an operation manual and a progress table. Over the past 14 years of seminar organization and management, we've accumulated much expertise, and this know-how is now embodied in our original operation manual and progress table. Of course, we don't always rigidly stick to the documents, but, where needed, flexibly adapt and then progress according to each occasion's circumstances.
In addition, setting up the venue on the day and checking acoustics are also important tasks. The Secretariat also projects the session's agenda on a small screen adjacent to the main seminar screen, takes photos, and writes a seminar report.
It could be said that the Secretariat's work is similar to that of an event management company. However, in terms of the quality of services that we offer, we cannot yet compare with such companies, but we are continuing our efforts to catch up.
Always Mindful of “Omotenashi”
As a Seminar Secretariat, we always seek to provide “omotenashi”, or Japanese hospitality. Since Tokyo's presentation, to the IOC in September 2013, to become the 2020 Olympic host city, the word “omotenashi” has surged in usage, however, in reality, it's really difficult to actually implement. At Mitsue-Links, we offer coffee, water and a variety of snacks in the seminar venue, however this alone doesn't denote the provision of “omotenashi”.
It's important to sincerely want to delight seminar participants. If seminar hosts don't truly hold such strong feelings, then the hosts' intentions won't be well-conveyed to participants. Therefore, we pay careful attention to properly cleaning the seminar room, not just arranging desks and chairs, but aligning them, as well as aligning the corners of any handouts.
Also, in addition to referring to the methods employed in seminar management by other companies, we seek to increasingly incorporate the merits of other industries - such as the conduct and gestures of family restaurant employees and airplane cabin attendants.
The Greatest Challenge; Satisfied Participants
We're extremely grateful when, after a seminar, a participant says “the content was very useful -thank you very much.” After umpteen discussions with lecturers about content for several weeks before the seminar and conducting seminar rehearsals (sometimes many times), when participants praise the seminar content that we've developed, we're pleased to a level where tears stream down our faces.
At the end of each seminar, we ask participants to complete a questionnaire, the response rate is now higher, and it's become increasingly common to receive more in-depth comments. It's very humbling that people write comments despite having just finished listening to a long seminar.
I feel that it's our mission to do our utmost to ensure we can meet, and exceed, participant expectations - even on repeat visits.
Attend a Seminar, Leverage Acquired Knowledge as a Clue to Solve Issues
The Seminar Secretariat decides the themes of future seminars based on client company needs as well as web trends. We seek to hold seminars that make participants think - "I have the clues to solve this issue as a result of the seminar I took at Mitsue-Links!" when problems arise.
Finally, through our provision of “omotenashi,” to participants, we'd like to increase fans of Mitsue-Links - even if by only one.