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How to Give a Seminar

Giving a seminar can be a frightening proposition. Not a lot of people would recommend to give a public presentation that's interactive. Like most public speaking engagements, a seminar is the perfect opportunity to learn some skills and hone your craft of communicating effectively and listening deeply. Conquer your fear of the unknown and get started planning an insightful seminar.


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    Consider your audience. Before you do anything, think about what kind of people you'll be presenting to. If you're giving an important business seminar, you may want to go as far as doing a full evaluation of demographics. Knowing your audience will guide you in your preparation.
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    Make an outline of speaking points. When it comes to making any kind of speech or giving a presentation, it's best to have an outline to work from to make sure you highlight all your key points. Reading from a script often sounds too formal and doesn't allow for much eye contact.
    • Start with your introduction. This should inform your audience of the topic on which you're speaking and its value to them, plus give a very brief overview of the points you plan to discuss.
    • Move on to the body of your seminar and make a list of points you want to touch on. You need at least two points to get your message across; three is better. Under each heading in your list, write out a couple of details to help guide you when it's time to present.
    • Finish with your conclusion. This should be brief but tie in each point you made during the seminar. It should leave your audience on a positive note and give them some kind of action to take, if applicable.
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    Create your visual aids. These can be posters that you set on an easel, brochures you pass out, an interactive model, an overhead slide or slideshow presentation, pictures or anything that will help your audience visualize what you're saying. The goal is to get your message across clearly. The aids also help break up your seminar into chunks so you avoid monotony.
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    Practice giving your seminar using your outline. You want to appear relaxed yet professional; you should feel comfortable with what you're saying. Get feedback from others and make revisions as needed. Also practice your gestures and mannerisms. A mirror can help with this so you see if you're being too dramatic or too stiff. It can also help you get to know your gestures and behaviour.
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    Arrive to the seminar location early so you can get set up. Pass out any materials you want to use and set up your visual aids. This includes preparing the technology you will use in your seminar, like a computer or overhead projector. Greet your guests as they come in.
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    Present your seminar, using your outline. Speak up and speak clearly. Speak slower than you normally would in a conversation so people can retain the information. Periodically ask if anyone has any questions and clarify things as you go. Thank your audience for their attention when you're wrapping it up.
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    Stay for awhile after your seminar to see if anyone has any questions, feedback or comments for you. If you're giving a business seminar, people may want to follow up so they can make a purchase from your company. Address everyone who stays to talk to you.


  • If you're having trouble with the wording of your seminar during your practice sessions, try writing out a script to use. While you don't want to take this with you to the seminar, practicing from it can help you become more comfortable with what you're saying. During your final few practice runs, try not to use it and use only your speaking outline.
  • Add humor to your seminar if the topic and your audience allow for it. There are certain instances with serious subject matter where you would not want to use humor, but for most topics, it's probably okay to add a joke here and there.
  • If you'll be presenting your seminar during mealtime, find out if you can bring some light food and drink to the meeting space. For example, bagels, muffins and coffee might be good for an early morning seminar. Having cold bottled water on hand is always a plus, no matter the time of day.

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Categories: Public Speaking