by Marcia Yudkin
If you are reading this article online, you may belong to the group of people who are fanatically enthusiastic about online activities. You shop online as much as possible, purchase digital products, email friends and family rather than pick up the phone, and consider requests to meet with you in person unnecessary and peculiar.
Understand, however, that you belong to a minority. The vast majority of people, even those you encounter online, keep Internet contacts in perspective. They prefer to personally select the vegetables they buy, they read paperback books and they attend face-to-face seminars.
I've been thinking about this because nearly a year ago, I launched an online mentorship program designed to deliver support, guidance and resources in technologically advanced ways like a password-protected discussion board, member-only teleclasses and searchable online articles. I designed it for the convenience of busy people who won't need to travel, I thought.
Almost as an afterthought, I announced an in-person seminar with the same focus as the online mentorship program. To my surprise, the total number of participants in this seminar (repeated every couple of months with a different group of participants since then) is running slightly ahead of the number of members in my online program.
Why do people like seminars? Here's what I've learned so that you won't overlook these powerful wants and needs.
1) Concentrated learning. Some people like to experience education in a focused, intensive time frame rather than interspersed with all their other activities. This can be especially powerful for those who are reevaluating something they've been doing for a long time, searching for fresh perspectives or facing challenges that they cannot get a handle on.
2) Social interaction. Seminars are fun because they enable people to get to know a bunch of others in a setting that makes it easy to get to know one another. Sometimes people living in separate regions of the country sign up for the same seminar to see each other and learn at the same time. Often people make friends and find clients amidst the socializing at a seminar. Very often the career-changing suggestion or insight comes not from an official leader or presenter at the program but from another participant.
3) Getting away. For women with children, going out of town to a seminar and letting the spouse take care of the home front is a delicious treat. For others, a seminar in an appealing location offers the prospect of tax-deductible travel and relaxation.
4) Learning preferences. Some people know that they get breakthroughs and galvanizing perspectives not from books or the Internet or recordings, but from real, live people in a face-to-face setting. An online program has little or no appeal for them.
5) Synergy. In a well-run, well-selected seminar, all of the above factors work together to produce surprising experiences, valuable insights and worthwhile new relationships. Somehow the whole proves more beneficial than the component parts.
So if you believe that face-to-face seminars are old-fashioned, impractical and rather useless for today's Internet Age, think again!
Marcia Yudkin is the author
of 6 Steps to Free Publicity and 10 other books. She runs an online
mentorship site, MarketingforMore.com,
business owners who are growing their businesses.
Download her free report, "Charge More & Get It," at
Or find out about her upcoming Marketing for More seminars at