Educational seminars can turn attendees into new clients

Mike Ashley
Bridgetower Media Newswires

One of the best and most effective ways to generate leads, connect with clients and build your business is to leverage your expertise. Referrals can only go so far. And, the pay-and-pray model of mailers and traditional marketing materials is a costly, time-consuming and notoriously inefficient way to connect with potential clients.

Hosting educational seminars, allows you to deploy your specialized legal expertise while establishing professional credibility and conveying a compelling value proposition to a large audience of potential clients,  likely already predisposed to seek legal advice.

There is no better way to transform leads into clients than providing people with practical information and demonstrating just how much they can benefit from further consultation. Seminars are a uniquely flexible way to forge new connections.

Here are a few foolproof suggestions on how to host a successful educational seminar and turn attendees into new clients.


Pick the right venue — Venue selection is enormously important. Hosting a seminar at your office might seem to make sense from the standpoint of cost and convenience, but that can send the wrong message. You want to emphasize this is an educational event, not a sales pitch or a bait and switch. For this reason, also avoid hotels and business centers.

The best choice: a venue associated with education and civic engagement: libraries, community centers, small colleges, town halls or chambers of commerce.

Consider access and convenience — including location, parking and event timing.

Promote the event — The more attendees, the more potential clients. You also have to know your audience and engage in smart, strategic and targeted marketing. Even the best presentation will fall on deaf ears if the message is not a good fit.

Creating effective marketing messaging is an art. The smallest details (word choice, font size, imagery, bullet points, volume of information) can affect the impact and efficacy of your messaging.

While there are some basic steps you can take to help manage registrations and spread the word  — through social media, existing clients and advertising, for example — proactive and successful seminar marketing requires a lot of time and energy.

Many attorneys outsource marketing, event planning and logistics to a professional partner who can deploy marketing resources and execute the event plan.  Some offer extensive coaching and presentation training.


Speak with passion and purpose — Demonstrate your passion and knowledge for these issues, and provide attendees with meaningful value. Attendees want to work with people they like, and nothing gets through to them faster and more effectively than a genuine love for the topic they are there to learn about.

Don’t be afraid to share personal details and anecdotes. The more personal the information, the more your audience will positively respond to that authenticity.

Educate, don’t sell — Coming across as a sales professional is the fastest way to turn your audience off. Keep your seminar educational and informative.

The only thing you should be selling is yourself, and you don’t do that through a sales pitch; you do it by proving your ability to provide attendees with valuable information and insight.

Above all, seminars are about making connections — not sales. If your mind is on your bottom line instead of the welfare and well-being of your audience, those connections won’t happen.

Speak to your audience, not at them — Your attendees are craving clarity and simplicity — not a huge download of a large volume of information. Avoid acronyms and industry jargon. Keep your messages simple, but avoid dumbing them down. Your attendees are there to learn, so oblige them. Teach, but don’t tell.

A great analogy can go a very long way. Explaining complex or easily misunderstood concepts in a way the audience can understand is one of the best methods to get their attention and their business. Practice your delivery until you present it smoothly and confidently, and avoid “reading” your presentation to the audience.

Open strong-finish strong — Grab their attention right off the bat. A bland introduction and predictable pleasantries can have your audience tuning out almost immediately. An invigorating and intriguing introduction (perhaps with something that surprises or delivers something they weren’t expecting) can get them sitting up and tuning in. You only have a few seconds to make a first impression — so make the most of it.

When you close, not only finish on a high note, but also give attendees a compelling value proposition as to why they would benefit from a complimentary follow-up meeting with you.

Pro tip: Never end your seminar with a Q&A session. This allows one attendee to dictate the last thing everyone will hear, and the air will go out of your presentation like a deflating balloon.

Leverage technology — Consider using PowerPoint or another slide presentation tool. The quality of the information is paramount, but information won’t sink in if attendees lose track or lose focus.

Keep it simple and resist the urge to get fancy with animations and exotic slides. A handful of images, clear headlines and memorable bullet points will do the trick.


Material takeaways — If you’ve done everything right, your attendees will leave your event informed and inspired — and primed for a follow-up to transform them from leads into clients. Create and distribute take-home materials: a copy of the presentation, your business card or contact information or an FAQ sheet.

Follow up — The good news is, a certain percentage of your audience will schedule a follow-up appointment. Make sure you have calendar space available in the days and weeks following, so you can strike while the iron is hot.

Hosting legal workshops is a practical and effective way to build both your brand and your business. If you put on a great event, you can not only provide helpful information to attendees, you can also forge connections with individuals and families who will recognize the value of your expertise — hopefully becoming new and loyal clients.


Mike Ashley is the CEO of White Glove Workshops. Visit