Friday, September 6, 2013

How to Teach at a Seminar

In my previous post I talked about the possibility of making a profit by sharing your expertise as a teacher at a seminar. Facilitating a seminar is one of the best ways to come into contact with other like-minded professionals. And as a by-product, you will get first-hand training in public speaking.

Now, there are no cut-and-dried rules in making your seminar a success, since there are a wide range of skills that can be taught. But here's a rundown of the basics that you must consider:

Determine the scope of your seminar.

Focus only on one or two specific topics so you can tackle it with greater depth and breadth. To illustrate, a seminar about business email etiquette can cover several aspects like what to include in the Subject portion, the appropriate length of the email, how to obtain relevant information, etc.

The number of participants that you'll be willing to accommodate will depend mainly on the scope of your seminar. A seminar is different from a lecture in such a way that you as a teacher should get your students involved by preparing interactive exercises and drills. Interaction will take up a lot of time, that's why in specialized and highly intensive classes, no more than two dozen students are allowed to participate.

Pick a venue.

In the Philippines, most seminars are held at places like community centers, hotels, computer institutes, or within the campuses of colleges and universities.

You can look around and ask if you can rent a room, either in a multi-purpose hall or building, or any place accessible to people, and then negotiate for the most affordable rate.

When selecting a venue, choose one that is spacious enough and properly ventilated. If you need to set up a wide-screen projector or talk with a microphone in order to make your voice as audible as possible, have your equipment tested at least a few days before the seminar date. 

Get two to three freelancers to act as assistant facilitators.

This is crucial since it's highly likely that you will find it necessary to use Powerpoint presentations and other visual aids. Also, if there are other freelancers around, they can share some valuable lessons they've learned from their own experience and dispense some sound advice to your participants.

Consider the costs of printing out certificates of attendance.

A cost-effective way to create certificates that look professional and neat is to purchase inexpensive yet quality paper (8 1/2" by 11" will do) from bookstores and choose a simple template from Microsoft Publisher and use no more than a three-font scheme to print the details of your seminar (participant's full name, title of the seminar, date and venue). Print out your name and put your signature above. 

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