What is a Seminar and How to Run One Like a Pro

Learn what is a seminar, along with 3 real-life examples and how to run one like a pro. Engage your audience and boost attendance with our insights.

Published on November 10, 2023 • Updated on April 5, 2024 • About 8 min. read
A Woman in Red Long Sleeve Shirt Giving a Presentation During a Seminar

Hosting a seminar can be the ideal solution to engage and educate your clients, partners, or industry peers.
It will also strengthen knowledge sharing and collaboration within your company.

Nobody wants to see screens go black or attendees checking their emails during a presentation.

Running a seminar comes with great responsibility, but when approached correctly, it becomes a powerful tool for audience engagement and building connections.

This article provides expert tips on running a successful seminar, ensuring that you make a lasting impact on your target audience and establish meaningful connections.

Discover how to run a seminar like a pro and optimize your event for maximum success.


Livestorm helps teams collaborate and deliver memorable live or on-demand video experiences.

What is a seminar?

A seminar, or a panel discussion, is a focused and interactive educational event where a group of people with shared interests come together to discuss, learn, and exchange ideas.

A subject matter expert or speaker usually leads the discussion and encourages attendees to ask questions and contribute to the discourse at the end. They’re typically conducted in person, but you can also host them online through video conferencing software.

The size, duration, and format largely depends on your specific needs and goals. But the key to a successful seminar is creating an environment that encourages active participation and open dialogue.

A picture of seminar attendees sitting in a venue

Key takeaways of a seminar

  • Seminars are effective tools for engaging and educating clients, partners, and teams, but require careful planning and execution.
  • There are three main types of seminars: webinars, academic seminars, and professional development seminars, each serving different purposes and audiences.
  • Running a successful seminar involves steps such as choosing the right venue or platform, creating a detailed agenda, assembling a competent team, and effectively promoting the event.
  • Keeping the audience engaged during the seminar through interactive elements like live polls, Q&A sessions, breakout rooms, and visual collaboration tools is crucial, followed by post-event follow-up and feedback gathering to improve future seminars.

Livestorm helps teams collaborate and deliver memorable live or on-demand video experiences.

3 different types of seminars

Seminars can cover a wide range of topics, from webinars and academic seminars to professional development. Let’s take a look at three different types of seminars in more detail.

1. Webinars

Webinars are virtual presentations where hosts or guest speakers share their knowledge and expertise of a certain topic with a global audience. Your attendees can access the webinar live or watch the recording on demand.

Here’s an example of upcoming webinars and on-demand events here at Livestorm:

A screenshot of Livestorm's upcoming and past webinars

You can use webinars to showcase your products, educate and onboard customers, build brand authority, and improve internal communications and employee training.

2. Academic seminars

At academic seminars, scholars, researchers, and students come together to talk about their research and share findings.

Depending on the context, they can last for a few hours or even span several days like this seminar by Harvard Business School:

A screenshot of Harvard's 2024 intensive seminar on value-based health care delivery

Seminars can happen at universities, research centers, conferences, or workshops. Their main aim is to encourage knowledge-sharing, networking, and in-depth discussions.

3. Professional development seminars

**A professional development seminar is a learning event that helps people enhance their job skills and network with other professionals in their industry. **

These seminars typically prioritize practical, hands-on learning. This way, the attendees gain insights they can directly apply in their workplace.

Some companies also host professional development seminars for their employees to help them grow and advance in their careers.

Here’s a professional development seminar example, held by the Tax Executives Institute (TEI):

A screenshot of the 2024 Tax Technology Seminar announcement

What are the advantages of running a seminar?

Seminars are a great way to educate your audience while building authority and trust. Below are some of the most useful ways seminars can benefit your businesses:

1. Educate your audience

Seminars help participants learn from experts and each other, exchange ideas, and solve problems. Your speakers can demonstrate best practices, techniques, or strategies your audience can learn from or emulate.

Whether it’s presenting a product demo or sharing industry insights, seminars let you offer practical tips, advice, or solutions they can use to overcome challenges or improve their skills.

Of course, seminars aren’t just for your customers.

You can also use them for employee training sessions and onboarding. And if your employees work remotely, webinars can be a great way to connect your team. All you need is a suitable virtual training platform.

2. Increase brand visibility and authority

When you hold informative, engaging seminars, you showcase your expertise and authority on a certain topic.

Valuable seminars lead to word-of-mouth recommendations, social media sharing, and increased recognition. Over time, this builds trust and authority, solidifying your brand's position as a go-to resource in your industry.

3. Engage your audience and foster relationships

Seminars help you connect with your audience and get them involved in the discussion. They’re different from other marketing channels in that way.

Seminars don't just engage your audience passively. Instead, they let them ask questions, communicate, and share their own insights.

This active participation creates a deeper, more meaningful connection between you and your audience. It can strengthen your brand, build community, and even improve internal communication for remote teams.

How to run a seminar in 6 steps

A successful seminar needs careful planning, informative content, and the right platform to engage your audience. Here are some steps to run a seminar:

1. Choose your venue or platform

The first step to any successful seminar is the right setting.

As you’re evaluating venue or platform options, consider:

  • Your audience: Are they local or global? What kind of problems are they struggling with? Is your seminar meant for external participants or your internal team?
  • Technology and equipment: If you’re hosting a webinar, pick a platform that lets you customize your branding, interact with your audience, and simplify attendance.
  • Accessibility and inclusivity: Ensure that the venue or platform is accessible to individuals with disabilities. This includes providing options for closed captioning or wheelchair access.
  • Advanced reporting features: If you’re using a webinar platform, make sure it allows you to measure your event’s performance and attendee engagement with detailed analytics.

2. Create a detailed agenda

A comprehensive agenda provides a clear roadmap for the event which helps your seminar stay on course and runs smoothly.

Here are a few items to include on your agenda:

  • List of key topics
  • Presenters
  • Start and end times
  • Breaks
  • Interactive elements and sessions

You can also send the agenda to your attendees beforehand so they’re familiar with the schedule and can prepare some questions in advance.

Don’t forget to give your event moderator a time estimate per item to help make sure speakers don’t go over their allotted time.

3. Find your team

Your seminar dream team helps you bring your vision to life, from planning and execution to engaging with the audience.

So choose them carefully and assign them responsibilities based on roles like:

  • Speaker: The expert who delivers the main content and insights.

  • Moderator: Guides the flow of the seminar, facilitates discussions, and ensures everything runs smoothly.

  • Assistant: Provides technical support, manages Q&A sessions, and assists with logistics.

  • Host or organizer: Oversees the entire event, ensures everything is in order, and communicates with the audience.

You can use Livestorm's roles and permissions to easily establish who can perform functions like starting and ending the event, moderating events, or presenting slides.

4. Promote your seminar

Promote your event through social media and your email list at least two weeks before the date. Segment your email list and advertise the seminar to the ones that will find it most valuable.

With Livestorm, you can even send unlimited customized reminders and follow-up emails to maximize attendance.

A screenshot of Livestorm's email cadence settings

Livestorm is also browser-based so participants can just jump into your webinar, no downloads necessary. Finally, it integrates with calendar and scheduler tools like Calendly for a better scheduling process.

5. Keep your audience engaged

During the seminar, keep your participants engaged by:

  • Conducting live polls: Use your webinar platform’s poll feature to ask questions and include your audience in the conversation.

  • Running Q&A sessions: Invite your participants to ask questions and dedicate time at the end of the event to answer them. Livestorm’s Q&A tab even lets attendees upvote their favorites so you can prioritize more easily.

  • Utilizing breakout rooms: Organize breakout rooms and let attendees collaborate and brainstorm in smaller groups.

  • Collaborating visually: If your meeting platform offers virtual whiteboards, use it for more interactive brainstorming sessions, illustrating ideas, and co-creating with your audience.

6. Follow up and gather feedback

After the event, follow up with both your attendees and no-shows, thank them for their interest, and send them a recording of the webinar.

At Livestorm, we’ve found that 31% of people who register but don’t attend actually watch the recording. So this post-event engagement method is a great way to keep potential customers interested.

Finally track your event analytics to understand your audience, what worked well, and where you can improve.

Whether you’re using Livestorm for internal and corporate communication or external events, you get detailed reports including participation data, replay analytics, and engagement metrics.

Livestorm for your upcoming seminar

The key to interesting and informative seminars is engaging your audience from start to finish.

Participants who aren’t actively involved won’t find much value in your event and they’re less likely to take the action you want them to take afterwards.

That’s why Livestorm is designed specifically to help you keep your audience hooked before, during, and after events.

Here’s how:

  • Automated emails and pre-built registration pages to make event promotion easier and maximize attendance

  • Event automation so you can focus you’re not bogged down with manual tasks

  • Live engagement features like timers, emoji reactions, hand raising, file and media sharing to interact with attendees

  • Automated recordings and on-demand session links for easy post-event follow up

With Livestorm, your seminars are more than just an event. They're a dynamic, interactive experience that leaves a lasting impact on your audience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the seminar?

Seminars serve to educate and engage participants by facilitating interactive discussions, sharing insights, and building meaningful connections within a community.

What is a seminar vs lecture?

In contrast to lectures, seminars prioritize interactive participation, discussions, and collaboration among participants rather than one-way communication.

What is a seminar class?

A seminar class in academic settings encourages small-group discussions, critical analysis, and active participation among students, fostering deeper understanding and critical thinking skills.