What’s the Difference Between a Seminar, Workshop and Conference?
What You Name Your Event Can Communicate Volumes About the Experience
Seminars, workshops, conference, symposia, user conferences, summits -- the type of events you can host are varied. Choosing the right description for your event is critical because it communicates volumes about the type of experience your participants can expect.
To ensure that you’re fully leveraging the marketing power of your event title, select the type of event that best fits the experience you want to create. Here’s a quick explanation of each type of event.
Seminars are educational events that feature one or more subject matter experts delivering information primarily via lecture and discussion.
Free Seminars are an increasingly popular way to generate qualified leads for your business. Many professionals and organizations recognize that the best way to convince prospects of their expertise is to deliver high-quality education and, therefore, deliver free seminars that are high in content. Others, however, use the promise of free education to lure information-seeking prospects to a sales pitch. As a result, many prospective customers are wary about attending a free seminar for fear of being subjected to a high-pressure sales pitch.
Introductory or Preview Seminar implies that there is more to come after this particular event. This can be a good way to name free events that are designed to give prospective attendees a taste of what they can expect in a larger, more expensive program.
Workshops tend to be smaller and more intense than seminars. This format often involves students practicing their new skills during the event under the watchful eye of the instructor.
Hands-On Workshops typically involve participants doing work on a particular issue during the program. The promise is that when they leave, they’ll have at least a rough plan or tools in place to address the challenge.
Conferences often features keynote presentations delivered to all attendees, as well as multiple break-out sessions. Attendees often expect to receive information about industry trends and developments.
User Conferences are gatherings hosted by providers of products and services to educate and build relationships with their customers. Attendees learn about product enhancements, as well as new and advanced strategies for using the product to achieve business goals and solve problems.
Trade Shows or Expos are exhibitions where vendors can display their goods and services in hopes of generating customer leads. Typically held at least annually, these events are a good place to discover trends and developments in a particular industry.
A Symposium is typically a more formal or academic gathering, featuring multiple experts delivering short presentations on a particular topic.
A Summit is a gathering of the highest level of leaders and experts.
Teleseminars are seminars that are delivered via a conference call over the telephone and/or over the Internet. The instructor moderates the call, while the attendees listen. To engage listeners, many instructors provide outlines, notes sheets or copies of PowerPoint slides to follow when listening to the presentation.
Webinars or Webconferences are presentations that involve an audio and video component. The audio portion of the event is delivered via phone or over the Internet, so that participants can listen via their computer speakers. The video portion of the event is delivered via the Internet, giving participants a presentation to watch while listening to the instructor.
When determining how to label your event, consider the type of presentation you want to deliver. Also consider what your competitors are doing. If your niche is already crowded with seminars, position your event as different by increasing the level of instructor-attendee interaction and making it a workshop … or by involving other experts and offering multiple breakout sessions to transform it into a conference.
By carefully choosing the words you use to describe your event, you’ll be able to subtly communicate the benefits of participating … and attract the right kind of attendee for your event.
This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Seminars and Workshops. The Official Guide to Seminars and Workshops is Jenny Hamby. Jenny Hamby is a direct-response copywriter and Certified Guerrilla Marketer who helps consultants, speakers, and coaches to create Internet, advertising and direct-mail campaigns to boost revenue and generate qualified leads for their businesses. She is also author of "How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops," a home-study course that shows professionals how to develop marketing plans and promotional materials to fill seminar seats. For a free copy of her e-course, "31 Secrets to Jumpstart Your Seminar Promotions," visit www.FreeSeminarTips.com.
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