Knowledge-sharing in the scientific community is crucial. Seminars, like conferences, are excellent at educating early-career researchers and academicians, and not only. Those people can then impart that knowledge further.
However, there are slight differences between a seminar and a conference. But you can make your seminar one your audience won’t forget (and make money!). Find out the main differences between a conference and a seminar and how to make money hosting one in five steps.
Main Differences Between a Conference and a Seminar
A conference is a large formal gathering of members (people, speakers, attendees, etc.) spread out over one or more days in various locations (hotel meeting space, convention center, etc.). Its objective is to gather members to discuss issues, solve a problem, establish the legitimacy of a particular field, or have a debate about topics of mutual concern. Conferences include keynote and session speakers who provide information to the attendees. They’re arranged by an organization or a conference organizer at a national, regional, or international level.
Find out more about conferences in our Full Guide to Planning an Academic Conference.
On the other hand, a seminar is a formal academic instruction session that typically lasts anywhere from one to a few hours, not days. Its objective is to educate, guide, counsel, or train participants on a particular subject or a series of diverse topics related to a field. Seminars include long lectures by an expert and, sometimes, one or more subject matter experts (guest speakers). They’re arranged by an academic student institution or a professional organization. There’s no limit on the number of people attending a seminar; if it’s organized at a higher level, the number of participants will also be higher.
At the end of a seminar, there’s a Q&A session or a dialogue between the experts and participants meant to encourage new ideas and practice critical thinking. Successful seminars are easy-to-follow, concise, and focused.
Now that you understand the difference between a conference and a seminar, you can learn how to make money from hosting a seminar below.
5 Steps to Making Money by Hosting Seminars
1. Establish Your Seminar’s Goals and Objectives
In comparison to a conference plan, where you need to start organizing a year or more in advance, you’ll want to start establishing your seminar’s goals and objectives about four to six months prior to the event date. Establish your seminar’s objectives with the help of the following checklist:
- Set a goal for how many people will attend in-person or virtually, who will attend, and why. This will be your target audience
- Set a profit goal so you can price your event and set realistic budget expectations so you’re prepared for unexpected budget delays or additional expenses
- Choose two dates for the event (one that you want and a backup date)
- Decide on your event format (in-person, hybrid, virtual) by considering current travel restrictions
- Research speakers, locations, and venues by considering your number of participants.
2. Target the Right Speakers
Next, you’ll want to find the right speakers (experts in your field), book them early on in your planning process, and start getting the word out as soon as possible to give participants time to make plans to attend. Include speaker highlights in your audience communications, such as awards or important credentials that will make them a must-see.
Pro tip: hosting sought-after speakers means you can charge more! You can find other subject matter experts at your local university, on LinkedIn, at the National Speakers Association, or in our Orvium communities.
3. Offer Interactive Opportunities
Conferences and seminars alike are excellent places to network with experts and like-minded individuals, get your research questions answered, build your resume, and work on your soft skills. For participants to feel like they can achieve this, you must break up your session with coffee or drink breaks and set out refreshment areas so participants can mix and mingle.
Ensure that you offer enough interactive opportunities throughout the seminar for participants to network and connect.
Interactive opportunities can include any of the following:
- Telling jokes
- Conducting polls
- Using props or demonstrations
- Using a custom Twitter hashtag
- Incorporating activities to get to know others
- Anything else that’s fun for the audience to encourage them to get involved and get more out of the experience (get their money’s worth).
Pro tip: consider approaching a subject or topic that isn’t overdone for more credibility and audience interactions.
Additionally, include enough time for questions and answers throughout the instruction session, not just at the end. This will ensure the audience doesn’t get bored, encourages them to actively participate, and divides the lecture into more dynamic parts.
4. Visually Engage the Audience
Seminar content must be educational; therefore, ensure that you’re not relying simply on a long lecture to entertain the audience. Instead, include visual elements such as slides, videos, GIFs, animations, or demonstrations. The subject matter experts you choose must also have proper presentation etiquette, including maintaining eye contact, having appropriate hand gestures, and not standing in one place.
5. Market and Promote Your Seminar
You must continue to provide value for your audience before, during, and after the seminar. Consider any of the following marketing tips to bring people in, keep them engaged, and build a relationship of trust:
- Create event materials and communications (including event invites, participant gifts, name badges, and event signage and displays)
- Set up email and social media campaigns
- Create a Facebook event
- Incorporate promo videos in your communications.
If you provide value for your audience, sales will naturally follow. And similarly to conference event marketing, seminar marketing doesn’t end when the event is over.
Pro tip: it’s an excellent idea to charge your audience at least enough to cover the cost of the event.
Don’t forget to take advantage of some of the best content management systems we put together for additional help with event details.
Orvium Helps You Be a Good Seminar Host
Remember to set your objectives based on your audience, target the right speakers, offer interactive opportunities, visually engage the audience, and promote your seminar. Additionally, ensure that your seminar is educational and that you choose the topic, target audience, and location carefully. With these five steps, you’re on your way to starting to make money from seminars!
As the seminar day comes closer, remember that some attendees may arrive earlier or later (or not at all), you may run into some technical glitches, or speakers may have issues. But don’t let any of these things discourage you!
Orvium wants to encourage and help you find the resources you need to get started; that’s why we put an entire community of researchers at your disposal so that you can increase interactions within your community. Check out more information on our platform.