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A group of PhD students and young researchers (where I belong) is preparing a symposium, a single day meeting, for other young researchers, PhD, master and students.

I don't have any previous experience with advertising this kind of events and I haven't received other advertisement, to an event similar to this one, than a place and a date with a link for more info. However, this was from a better known organization (and I get to know this organization through a friend) and our organization is not well known so I doubt this way would work to attract new people.

Which is the best way to increase registrations to the symposium? What information would you like to know before going for a registration or looking for more information?

Some important information I thought to include in a leaflet/ad:

  • Place, dates, duration (done)
  • Where to register and how much does it cost (done)
  • Key speakers (At the moment we don't have confirmation of all the invited speakers)
  • Sponsors and support (done)
  • ...

There's a similar question question for a similar event, but I am in charge of advertising.

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    It may sound cynical, but indicating that refreshments will be available will go a long way toward increasing attendance. There will be refreshments, right? – Harry Feb 22 '17 at 0:27
  • Yes there is free food :D! – llrs Feb 22 '17 at 8:00
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Beyond what has already been said, here are a few things that I have tried that seemed to work (in the United States), with the caveat that past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results:

  • Advertise some sort of networking event if possible. This can be a nice draw for students who want to get to know other students at local universities, PhD students who will soon be on the job market who want to get more exposure to more senior faculty members, and Master's students who will soon be applying to PhD programs and may want advice on the application process.
  • Email administrators in relevant departments about your symposium. At least at my university, there are graduate program coordinators for nearly every department, and they can send email advertisements to their students. This can complement print advertising.
  • If possible, include a URL to a tentative schedule of the symposium, including who will be speaking and what their talk titles are. Personally, I like to know that there is at least one talk during the symposium that I may find relevant or interesting. Plus, this is another place to indicate that refreshments will be available.
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Some suggestions for improving participation:

  • Recruit two to three faculty members to serve on a panel to judge presentations. The top three (or four or five) presentations receive prizes. Include this on the flyer.
  • Every participant gets a certificate of participation.
  • Announce a recognized name as a keynote speaker, if possible. Not a big deal, if it's not possible.

Then, mail the flyer to the graduate program directors (of the relevant departments) at the nearby universities and ask them to encourage their students to participate in the symposium. Also contact the graduate student organizations at these universities.

  • Maybe it is worth another question, but how does giving a certificate of participation help? I have never used them.... – llrs Feb 22 '17 at 7:19
  • I actually used them as Attachments to my CV in applications. – FuzzyLeapfrog Feb 22 '17 at 8:56
  • A simple alternative to a "certificate of participation" is creating a program that participants can refer back to as proof of their involvement. Of course, that means making sure it remains available for the (relatively) near future. – tonysdg Feb 22 '17 at 18:17

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