Have An In-House Or Public Seminar?

At first sight, it seems that the question is an easy one to answer and in many cases, this is true. If there are many attendees, then we normally go for an in-house training as this is more focused but there are also situations where the choice is not clear. With training budgets getting more scrutiny, it is no longer sufficient to just have training. Top management is demanding more concrete returns from the time and expense to be expended.
 
To attain the best results, you should be guided by a thorough study of the pros and cons of the issue. Being a provider of both types of seminars, I believe I have plenty of experience to be able to guide you which type to attend:
 
Advantages of in-house seminars
 
Discussion could be adapted to your situation. This is the greatest advantage of in-house seminars and in many cases, this can overcome the other disadvantages. For example, if you attend a seminar on sales and you are a real estate marketing company, you may find that only half of the discussion is relevant to your industry. Even if the seminar provider tries to dwell on common issues then you will be missing out on the topics specific to your trade which may be more useful to your situation.
 
The price is often cheaper. The second most important reason for picking an in-house seminar is that it is usually cheaper if you have a lot of attendees. In choosing this option, however, make sure that you have a suitable venue. Not every large room is suitable; make sure the acoustics, lighting, and other factors are conducive to learning.
 
Some confidential matters could be brought up. If you wish to minimize the chances of trade secrets leaking, then a public seminar must be avoided since there is a strong chance that a competitor may be attending, too.
 
You could choose when, how long, and what style the seminar will be conducted. You could pick the date which is most convenient for your company and you may think that a one day seminar may not be enough. If then, you could have material expanded and dealt in more detail so that the presentation would take several days. You could also request whatever style of delivery you think is most effective. If you think that your personnel would be more receptive to a technical style, then you could have it your way.
 
You could pick the place where the training would be conducted and the type of food. If the seminar is meant as an incentive, you could have it conducted in a five-star hotel with a grand buffet. Some even has the event done in resorts or even abroad.
 
Advantages of public seminars
 
If few attendees, then the price is cheaper. The top reason for choosing a public seminar is simply the lack of budget if there are only few participants. This may seem to be simple matter but you should also factor in not only the actual payments but also transportation, accommodation, lost productivity, among other factors in figuring out the total cost of attending a public seminar.
 
Networking with other attendees. It is often the case that people get to meet potential clients among the participants. Customers are often interested in the same topic and the ambiance is more likely to result in more informal conversations which may lead to future sales.
 
You get a lot of new ideas. While the discussion may not be precisely targeted to your needs, sometimes this may be an advantage. It is very possible that certain techniques, strategies or ideas from another industry may be adapted to your company’s needs. Also, there may be ideas and solutions you may pick up from the questions and interaction with attendees from other companies.
 
Sometimes the topic is only offered as a public seminar. There are times when you have no option but to attend the public seminar if the topics are very much needed and it is not possible to arrange for an in-house seminar. This is often the case where foreign experts are brought in from abroad. Their advanced know-how compels attendance to their public seminars.
 
Whether in-house or public, seminars are one of the best ways to get training. Still for those with the responsibility, it would be wise to carefully examine your options. This may mean the difference from an unproductive waste of time and money to a wonderful learning experience that would boost the company’s performance.

 
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin, C-4, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.