What is a Colloquium?

"Colloquium" is a Latin derivative that refers to an informal meeting or seminar which is usually of an academic nature where different scholars/lecturers/specialist deliver lectures on different topics at each meeting. Each presenter will then entertain questions based on their delivery. The meeting is of a dual nature where an address is followed by a question and answer session/forum.

Purpose of a Colloquium

A colloquium is meant to deal with a current, cutting-edge concerns through preparatory study, followed by a debate and meeting to formulate policies. Concerns are usually of an academic nature that is common to particular to a group such as scientists, students doing a certain course and educators.

How does it differ from a regular conference or workshop? A colloquium is usually of an academic nature with one common academic theme, and is meant to garner the views of others. A conference is a consultation meeting or a meeting where information is exchanged or discussed, but not necessarily of an academic nature. The proceedings at a conference usually follow a formal agenda, and presenters are not necessarily a scholar or anyone with an academic affiliation. The presenters at colloquium present papers and then analyze and discuss a particular topic.

Planning a Colloquium

A seminar requires adequate pre-prep and pre-planning if it is to achieve the intended purpose. Identify the purpose, the right audience and the expected outcome. Will the results of the meeting be used for educational purposes or is the meeting to be a forum to facilitate the sharing of information among peers? Set your date and identify a location.

Finding Appropriate Speakers, Venues...

Decide on and finalize your seminar agenda, presentations and the speakers. This will allow you to select the right venue, and develop an agenda for a meeting that will flow properly.

Proper planning will include the identification of a suitable space that will help to meet the needs of the meeting. Once you have identified a suitable location, contract the venue operators and make the necessary arrangements for setting up the room to host the event.

Pay particular attention to the amenities you will need for the event. This includes catering, AV, technical details, room setup (furniture and lighting). Ensure that an established contract is set up so that the responsibilities are clearly defined and a specific price is agreed on. Visit the venue and do a thorough inspection before the event.

Marketing the Colloquium

You would have already decided the audience you need for the colloquium, so now its time to develop an invitation list of potential attendees. Create an invitation and send it out with no less than one month to spare before the scheduled date of the event. Your invitation should include a method for people to register and confirm attendance.

Though not necessary, it is an added benefit to use supporting materials such as posters, handouts and graphics. They add to the effectiveness of your event and your attendees will receive something as a takeaway.

Measure the success/effectiveness of the colloquium after the event by providing attendees with a feedback form.