The seminar business is big these days, in demand by individual consumers, organizations, associations, small businesses and giant corporations alike. And although it's a fairly young industry, having only come into its own within the last two decades, it's primed for continued growth and success.
- Target Market
- Startup Costs
- Finding Presenters
- Income and Billing
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people pay to attend meetings, seminars, workshops and training programs where professional presenters encourage, enlighten and enliven them. Some of these folks are sent by their companies to learn new skills--everything from time management to basic math smarts to super sales techniques. Others attend on their own, seeking personal growth--how to communicate better with spouses, significant others and kids; manage stress; assert themselves; or invest for the future. Still others sign up for seminars and workshops as part of a professional or social association to learn everything from quilting to romance writing to tax preparation.
As a seminar professional, you can choose from among three different operating modes. You can:
1. act as a speaker, trainer or presenter, working directly with your audiences and booking your programs on your own or through a speakers bureau (which is sort of like a talent agency)
2. act as a promoter, seminar company or training firm, setting up programs and engaging other people to do the speaking, training or presenting
3. do both, setting up programs at which you present and at which you also bring others on board to share the speaking or training chores
Most seminar professionals choose the first option, but you can go with any one that feels comfortable to you.
Do You Have What It Takes?
Not everybody is cut out to be a seminar production professional. This is not, for example, a career for the creativity-challenged. It takes lots of foresight to figure out what will be a winning program, to design and construct it so it sells, and to promote it effectively. If you're one of those folks who'd rather undergo a root canal than have to come up with peppy advertising copy, then you don't want to be in the seminar business.
This is also not a career for the time-management-deficient. Seminars must be planned and organized months in advance, with everything from the topic and speaker to the dining reservations nailed down early on.
And if you plan on presenting your own programs, this isn't--obviously--a career for the terminally shy or the terminally boring. You must be able to keep an audience interested and entertained for the length of your seminar and beyond. This doesn't mean you need to be trained by both the Royal Shakespeare Academy and the Ringling Brothers Circus school, just that you need to have a natural enthusiasm for your subjects and be able to communicate it.