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Local Expert guidelines

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The Shire’s Economic Development unit offers the local business community a range of industry development opportunities through a year round program. To do this they may partner with local providers that are experts in their field.

The following guidelines are designed to assist local experts create successful industry development events and activities.

How local is local?

To ensure that the industry development program offers quality relevant educational opportunities delivered by locals to locals, proposed events/activities need to:

All submissions will be considered however:

The events and activities offered need to be designed to make learning about business easy.  They should help attendees better understand their business, find answers to their questions and connect with other businesses.

To ensure these outcomes it is critical to be clear about the event’s purpose, target audience and format. If you can clearly define these elements, then you’re well on your way to creating a meaningful event that will benefit your community.  

1. Defining your purpose  

‍Why are you running your event?  What do you want attendees to get out of it? Why would they come?

It sounds like a simple question, but it can take some serious thought. When you’re identifying your purpose your focus should be on your attendees – what will they get out of it? The effort you put in during the planning stage will pay off at the other end when you hold a successful event. 

It is important to be specific, as the purpose of your event should be factored into all elements of your event planning and delivery. It might be helpful to consider:  

2. Setting your target audience  

Who is your target audience? This will influence your topic and the ‘voice’ you use to address that audience. 

Identifying your target audience 

Your event will be more effective if it is targeted to a specific group, as you will be delivering the right information to the right people in the right way. 

Ideally, industry development events should aim to provide business information directly to the groups that need it most.   

Who do you want to talk to? Who needs to know the information you are sharing? Who will be interested in attending your event? Be specific. It might be helpful to consider: 

Common traps 

Your first thought might be that your target audience is everyone who has a business. 

This may not be specific enough, as different businesses will have different needs. For example, you might want to run an event about Facebook marketing for business. But the information needs, mode of delivery, and even the most convenient location and time for your event will differ greatly between different business types such as startups and established businesses. 

In order to communicate effectively with your audience, you need to speak to them in a manner that is appropriate, relevant and useful – and you cannot speak to everyone effectively in the same manner. It is critical that your presenter has the skills to engage with your target audience.


When planning your event, you should think about your hook. 

Your target audience should dictate: 

When identifying your target audience, it is also important to consider if you have a way to reach an audience to let them know about your event. You should plan to promote the event yourself as much as possible. 

3. Deciding on your event format 

When deciding on your event format, it’s always essential to consider your target audience’s needs and capabilities. 

Choosing a format that works for your audience. 

Your target audience is the most important factor to consider when choosing an event format.  

What type of event is the most suitable for them? It might be helpful to consider: 

There are many ways to deliver information and creativity in event design is welcome.  An activity or event could be delivered as:

Below is some information about different specific event formats to help you make your decision. 

In-person events 

In-person events will be more likely to attract your target audience if held at locations that the target audience frequents or are easy for them to get to – go to where your audience is, rather than expecting them to come to you. 

If you would like to run an in-person event, it might be helpful to consider: 

Make sure you have a back-up plan in place, in case your event has to change or cannot proceed in-person. 

Live online events 

Live online events such as webinars, can be a cost-effective way to reach a wide audience. You may want to consider running an event online to take advantage of the benefits. 

It’s important to consider the limitations of online events and whether a live online event meets the needs of your target audience 

Benefits of live online events

If your event deals with a sensitive topic, privacy may be very important to your target audience. Online events allow you to control privacy settings, so that attendees are not necessarily publicly visible. 

Most platforms allow you to easily record your online event, and you can share the recording to extend its reach. 

Online events allow you to use multiple speakers in different locations. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with other organisations, incorporating speakers with different expertise or perspectives. 

Some online platforms have accessibility features such as captioning and audio description. Are you making a recording of your event available? This will enable people to view the event at their own pace and will allow you to provide further accessibility measures, such as transcripts. Always let people know in advance about the accessibility measures you are providing. 

Analysing viewing and engagement data will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your event. This data is easy to access for online events. 

Limitations of live online events

Online technology has made life easier in recent times, but it’s not without its challenges. It is a good idea to have a dedicated person who is not participating in the event to manage the streaming technology and brief your speakers. 

There is no getting around the fact that online events are less interactive than in-person events. Consider using live chat, live Q&A and polls to engage with your audience. 

One advantage of a live event is that, once people are at the venue, they are focussed on the event. When people attend an online event from home, they often have other things competing for their attention. 

Online events are not accessible for everyone. Consider if your target audience computer literate? Do they have access to the internet? Are there specific login requirements that might be difficult for some people to navigate? If you are relying on attendees reading supporting materials, are they accessible?  

Support available to event organisers 

The Shire’s Business and Industry Support team is here to provide you with support to help ensure your activity is as effective as possible.   

Successful event submissions receive: 

Planning resources 

Marketing support 

Need more information?

Like to discuss your activity idea or event concept? Contact the Business and Industry Support team on 03 5950 1446.

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