"How to Set Up and Market Your Own Seminar," blog #1 of 15

Somewhere about seminar 200 three attendees independently asked me if I could tell them how to set up their own seminar. I was flattered–and surprised that there was nothing in print at that time about the topic, though seminars bloomed in profusion nationwide, on week nights and weekends.

So I created a four-hour audio cassette program at about the 250th seminar called “How to Set Up and Market Your Own Seminar.” Three cassettes were me explaining the process orally. The fourth was the guidebook (workbook) divided into the sections you see below, in downloadable text should the person wish to read it as they listened.

While I was at it, I also co-wrote a book called Speaking for Money (long out of print) with Mike Frank, the former President of the National Speakers Association. In it I mostly wrote about seminarss. It seems that the process worked because I gave my 2000th paid seminar several years ago. (What did I talk about at the seminars? How to sell 75% of your freelance writing, travel writing, niche publishing, writing comedy greeting cards, how to self-publish, empire building, and lots of derivatives!)

I know. Who cares? And why am I using the public airwaves to brag about it?

It dawned on me a few weeks back, as I was packaging an order for the $50 program, that I had never shared the workbook publicly. So that’s what I’ll do in about 15 blogs this spring, probably one a week or so (with another blog about something else also about a week apart).

I will update the workbook’s contents as I go along, although I’m always surprised at how much the basic components remain about the same, as technology rushes by and there are many other ways to share the context than on audio cassettes or DVDs!

Why not start with a guideline, then an agenda, a roadmap of what you can except this spring?

One guideline for success in seminaring is:

“Sell hard-to-find but easy-to-apply information to participants who perceive that it will meet their need.”

And an agenda I will follow:

1. Introduction
2. Brief definition and overview of seminars and the potential income
3. Eight kinds of seminars; three that we will focus on here: public institutional seminars, private business/corporate seminars, and public self-sponsored seminars
4. How do you find a subject?
5. The guideline above and how that seems to help
6. Feasibility study: learn from others
7. Writing a description
8. Creating a title
9. Identifying a market most likely to pay to attend
10. Selecting the most appropriate sponsor–or doing it yourself
11. Income boosters, like B.O.R. sales
12. Workbooks
13. Booking, price, time, location, and promotion
14. What you do before your listeners arrive
15. What you do after they have left

If you’re still interested, I hope to “speak” with you next week. (You are invited to tell friends about it too.)

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

Excerpted, modified, and expanded from the workbook for Gordon Burgett’s “How to Set Up and Market Your Own Seminar” (audio CD version, 2009, with digital workbook and audio text summary). Produced by Communication Unlimited, P.O. Box 845, Novato, CA 94947. (800) 563-1454 or info@GordonBurgett.com/order3.htm.

A fetching seminar description is a must! (#8 of 15)

However you book your seminar, the sponsors and participants must know what you will talk about; thus, a concise description is your most important calling card.

It must be written around the benefits that participants will receive from (lovingly) hearing your orations. “What’s in it for me?” is what the readers ask themselves. And “Is it worth the time, hassle, and cost?” Then mix in the who, what, why, where, and how–plus prayer, if you are so given.

Since the description is usually part of a catalog or like announcement that explains the program’s location, the time, and ways to register, your job is to explain why the readers’ registration would reap hard-to-find benefits from a person with tested qualifications and experience.

A much-used format is to begin with a lead, a catchy opener, that tells why they should attend, what valuable information or skill they will learn, and how long the program lasts.

Segue into a short, bulleted list of the most important take-aways. Three to five items are best, and asterisks are much better than numbers or letters separating the benefits in the list. (This list is the biggest drawing element of the description, so do it!)

If the registrant will receive a workbook, describe what it contains and if it is free. Often the presenter’s qualifications are part of the closing copy, which reinforces the benefits already shared.

Very important is that the seminar-giver adhere to the description length required to be posted, so part of the gilded message isn’t unkindly clipped or compressed before it is shared with potential registrants. Very often the maximum length is four compact paragraphs, including the list of benefits. Make certain the sponsor will not change your title or alter the text without informing you.

What follows is a much-used description sample about this very topic that I used throughout California for more than 20 years. Study closely the other descriptions in the seminar catalogs the sponsor sends to see what will make your topic unique and sought by likely participants needing what you are sharing.


Want to earn a healthy income selling your know-how to others? Or convey knowledge to clients or prospective customers at free, informative, image-enhancing gatherings? Seminars meet the bill. In four hours you will learn the essential ingredients of seminar success:

o how to give your first seminar with no financial risk
o why topic definition and the right title are crucial to success
o which key words most titles should include
o what promotional strategies work
o why program length is more important than cost
o what four key questions seminar-givers must be able to answer about sponsorship or selection

A 24-page free workbook includes an organizational calendar, a current bibliography, two sample news releases, and a model evaluation form, plus guide sheets about publicity, mailing lists, locations, flyer/brochure preparation, budget, content and organization, and how to get scheduled at colleges and universities.

Even more, Gordon Burgett, California’s most prolific seminar-giver with over 100 offerings annually, will explain what he is doing as he does it, tying together form and content in one fact-packed program designed to provide you with the basic information and tools needed to get you speaking (and banking) quickly, confidently, and permanently.


(This information accompanies the description and is used by the booking office for their records.)

MINIMUM COST: $50, including workbook
Gordon Burgett, 185 Shevelin Rd., Novato, CA 94947
(800) 563-1454 / www.gordonburgett.com


Best wishes,
Gordon Burgett

From Gordon Burgett’s How to Set Up and Market Your Own Seminar four-cassette CD seminar program, including a digital workbook and audio text summary.