Tips for teaching a profitable (and fun) seminar

Want to begin offering workshops (by phone or in person) to attract clients and maybe build another revenue stream?

(1) What to charge?

Charge nothing and you may attract sign-ups, but they’re often no-shows. Some openly search for content they can use in their own classes. Many will disappear as soon as you ask for a dollar.

One option: start with no-fee classes and then charge as your reputation builds. However, when someone finds your class for the first time, she or he may be unfamiliar with what you offered before. And the whole dynamic of a class will change when you charge even a small fee.

(2) Motivate your participants.

If you can frame your subject to show that you will help people make money, lose weight and/or find a soul mate, you’ll attract more motivated participants.

(3) Be mindful of participants’ time.

Remember participants pay with their time, whether or not you charge for participation. Ten minutes for a sales pitch, ten minutes for roll call, twenty minutes for participants to “share” why they’re here. Now you’ve got twenty minutes to deliver content.

Better to plan on fifty-eight minutes of value with a one-hour class. You can follow up with an email to remind participants who you are.

(4) Your titles must sizzle!

When I used Midlife, Midcareer and Middle of the Maze, I got more interest than “Career Decisions at Midlife.”

And that’s not as sizzling as it could be.

A problem-solving class might be called: “Creating an ‘Aha!’ Moment Just When You Need It”

My friend calls her novel-writing class, “Write your novel — in one day!”

A class on the business of creativity was re-named, “As you earn more, keep more!”

(5) Focus on the positive.

To create titles and headlines that magnetically attract clients: Turn off your Inner Grinch and focus on moving to something wonderful, not avoiding something horrible.

“Most businesses fail! Will yours be one of them?”


“One percent of home businesses will gross six figures this year – and yours can be one of them!”

Of course, you must be able make that claim honestly and ethically — and a few testimonials wouldn’t hurt.

(6) You’re in charge!

Be prepared to cut off long-winded questions and participants who want to give “advice” to other callers. Stay focused, organized and on topic. Make sure everyone has a chance to participate — not just the most proactive callers — but I wouldn’t force participation. I believe participants have the right to “lurk” silently.

(7) Style counts.

“June” has such a charismatic personality that her classes would fill with eager prospects if she read the phone book aloud for an hour. “Bill” has such weak, tentative delivery that his classes actually turn away prospects who love his website.

Teleclasses can be fun for both leaders and participants — and there’s no more convenient way to learn information. Once you get going, you may be hooked!

Check out these tips on how to get the most out of a seminar.

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Cathy Goodwin, PhD, is an author, career consultant and speaker, who combines solid expertise with humor, commonsense and intuition. Visit her at or for more info, e-mail Cathy at

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