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Seminars and workshops are interactive sessions. They differ from lectures and
presentations, which are primarily one-way communications where the presenter
speaks and the audience listens. Leading a seminar or workshop is a good way
to get the word out about your business. You’ll find a variety of organizations
that offer seminars and workshops—learning annexes, community colleges, and
universities, conferences, corporate training programs, small business services,
or you can put one on yourself. No matter who hosts your seminar or workshop,
you should optimize attendance by doing your own promotion through your
Web site, flyers, community e-boards, and other advertising. If you don’t, you
could wind up talking to
Although there are some differences between seminars and workshops
(seminars are advanced, specialized discussions whereas workshops feature
hands-on work), the content often overlaps. Because the skills and processes
involved are similar, we’ll discuss them
The interactive nature of seminars and workshops requires you, the leader, to
be flexible in reacting and responding to group dynamics and individual personalities.
Here are some strategies to stay focused while still giving your participants
room to learn. They require that you prepare in advance so that you
have the freedom during the seminar or workshop to keep groups on task and
• Make notes about the points you want to cover during the session. Some people prefer note cards, others an outline or a • Plan activities for group work that help participants understand the major concepts and learn to apply them to their own situations and concerns. Decide how much time you will allot to each activity. (Leave some time for the unexpected—questions, tangential discussions, etc.) • Develop open-ended questions that encourage • Create helpful hand-outs. Be sure to print your name, business, and contact information on every sheet. (While you’re at it, make sure that you have enough business cards to hand out at the session.) • Create evaluation sheets for feedback and demographic collection, unless the host is taking care of this Leading the Session If you have prepared sufficiently, the actual session will be simple to lead. Still, you may have to work at the following • Manage the time. You have decided in advance how much time you will allot to each activity. Let the group(s) know at the beginning of each activity so that they can pace themselves. (For example, you have twenty minutes for this exercise, which means five minutes per person or task.) Remind them at the five-minute mark of time left. • Direct each group to choose a timekeeper, recorder, or another taskmaster who will keep them on • During small-group work, walk around from group to group to check on time issues, answer questions, and monitor key points that arise for later large group • Don’t second-guess you. Remember that people get better with practice. If you’re well prepared, the workshop participants will remember the activities and instruction you provided, and they won’t dwell on your After the Session • Handout evaluation sheets for feedback. • Pass out contact information via business cards • Remain around for those who may want personal time with you • Shortly after your presentation, review the evaluation sheets and