Step 2: Selecting the correct event style and topic

Deciding on your event style will depend on the aims and objectives of your event, for example do you want people to get involved in an open debate, or hear directly from a speaker?

It is good practice to set an event format. This provides structure to the session, a template to invite speakers and allows for effective marketing.

Event types

There are many different event styles you could choose, below is a list of the most popular community event formats.


  • multi speaker seminar
  • evening lecture
  • webinar (web based seminar)
  • debates on hot topics
  • workshops (for example professional registration and lifeskills)
  • exhibitions


  • technical visit
  • networking sessions
  • panel discussion


  • dinner
  • quiz

Suggested programme formats

Below are two examples of successful programme formats.

Evening lecture format

Technical visit format

18.00 Registration and networking
10.00 Registration
18.30 Chair’s welcome
10.15 Welcome & Introduction
18.35 “Presentation title”
            “Name, job title, company”
11.00 Tour of facilities
19.05 “Presentation title”
            “Name, job title, company”
12.00 Open forum/ Q&A session
19.35 Q&A session
13.00 Refreshments & networking
19.55 Closing remarks
14.00    Close
20.00 Close 

Online events

A key and growing area of event activity is engaging with the web. Launching an event online can prove extremely cost-effective, but can also create a powerful platform for engaging with a global audience.

By organising a webinar (web based seminar) for example, you can create the look and feel of an event online, with speakers, presentations and a Q&A session.  

The team can provide the filming, editing and uploading of content generated to create an online event or can film at a physical event and upload content post event.  
If you are interested in developing an online event please contact the Community Operations team to discuss further.

Topic generation

The majority of the time the topic of the event will be the key reason delegates choose to attend. It is important to select a topic that delegates are going to want to hear more on, which will enable them to connect with professionals in a similar field, update their knowledge and share issues and opportunities with others.    

It is advised that some research is undertaken at the beginning of the event process to check that the chosen topic is relevant, timely and of interest to your potential audience. There are various methods of research to help identify key topic areas or to confirm whether or not a topic area will be popular, for example asking colleagues, web based searches and reading relevant magazines and journals.     

Organising Committee

Depending on the style of the event, you might want to consider setting up an organising committee to help develop the programme. Selecting people that are already working in that technical area will ensure the programme is covering current issues and could provide direct contact to the desired speakers.

Event output

Consider if your chosen event format could generate a post event output to capture the intellectual property from the event. Providing post event outputs online is an effective way to reach a global audience through the IET’s website and makes the most of the effort and resource that has been invested.

For further information on event output please go to step 5.