Conference or seminar? The difference between the two is subtle, but their means and ends are different. It is therefore important to distinguish between them so as not to make a mistake in the choice of the event you wish to promote.
A seminar to boost teams
The seminar is a wise choice on the part of the company, which seeks to develop exchanges and stimulate the motivation of its employees.
What is a company seminar?
A seminar is a meeting that brings together several employees around a common project. It is generally limited in time (one day, one afternoon, two hours) and its purpose is to allow employees to get to know each other and exchange ideas by working together on projects or by participating in activities outside the traditional professional framework.
But also, the seminar is often used to present new ideas or communicate important information: the integration seminar should, for example, enable the latest arrivals to understand how the company operates.
The principle of this type of event is the exchange and cooperation between participants, particularly with the aim of strengthening team cohesion. For the company, it is therefore a strategic tool that can take the form of serious or playful workshops with the idea of bringing employees together and re-motivating them.
A meeting that goes beyond the professional framework
Seminars represent several advantages for the company. They make it possible to bring everyone together at an event and to inform or draw the attention of a large number of employees to a specific point. Also, it is a moment of exchange which allows to improve the relations within a team, to talk together about the problems encountered, to improve the cohesion of the group.
The seminar can be an opportunity to develop new ideas and share them with other members of the organization. The latter are generally re-motivated by these moments of exchange.
The problem is that seminars do not always have the expected effects, especially in terms of group cohesion. These events are often too limited in time and do not meet the objectives set. Some employees also do not appreciate having to share informal time with their colleagues or superiors; they are destabilized and are unable to express themselves freely.
The symposium to inform and stimulate
The colloquium is a good alternative to the seminar. The latter is usually longer and has slightly different objectives.
Definition of a conference
Unlike the seminar, the conference often lasts several days, is more expensive and is intended to bring together a large number of participants. The idea is to invite speakers to come and confront their points of view on a problem or question defined in advance and which will be the theme of the colloquium. Its purpose is therefore not only to inform the collaborators but to encourage them to reflect on a specific theme.
The conference often requires a complex organization because it involves the travel of some participants to a location that may be outside the company premises. Its purpose is to promote ideas and to transmit them to employees by encouraging them to adopt a proactive attitude towards these issues. The aim is to challenge them, to stimulate exchanges and to give impetus to a collective dynamic.
A collective reflection that galvanizes teams
The advantage of the symposium is that it gives rise to a larger meeting, allowing everyone to meet and exchange views on a subject that sometimes poses problems within the company. It is on a larger scale than the seminar and has an interesting and galvanizing dimension because it allows the confrontation of ideas and the development of a critical attitude towards the interventions, which can lead an employee to identify certain elements that he can later use in the context of his missions.
It is also an innovative way of getting messages across to members of the company by offering them a collective reflection on elements that may be lacking in the company (a conference on leadership, for example, would be useful in a company where employees lack commitment) or on the difficulties the company is facing.
Nevertheless, corporate conferences are often very expensive because they involve the intervention of external people and experts on the chosen theme, but also because they bring together a large number of individuals and require a substantial organization. Their price is therefore high and, as with the seminar, the benefits are not guaranteed: a conference on mutual aid will not necessarily lead to more supportive behavior.
The choice of the event must therefore be based on both the means available and the objectives sought by the company. In any case, the benefits are never guaranteed because they depend above all on the personal investment of the employees.