By Vilis Ozols, MBA, CSP

In the world of professional speaking, most professional speakers have either a “love it” or “hate it” perspective towards working for a public seminar company. Both perspectives are valid and it is important to recognize that this pathway into professional speaking has both benefits and drawbacks. Whether you have a love or hate perspective depends upon where you might be in your speaking career and how you position any affiliation with a public seminar company in relation to your professional growth.

Working For A Public Seminar Company

Living the high “volume/low price” life-style.

Some of N.S.A.’s brightest “stars” have utilized public seminars as a pathway to extremely successful and distinguished careers as acclaimed speakers and authors.

Just to name a few:

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE

Larry Johnson, CSP

Marc Hardy

Mary Marcdante

Dr. Eugene Griessman

John Patrick Dolan, CSP CPAE

Barbara Mintzer

Lisa Ford, CSP, CPAE

Thelma Wells

Melanie Mills, CSP

Additionally, NSA speakers and authors are able to utilize the Public Seminar Companies as a venue for developing and marketing speaker products. Just to name a few:

Jack Canfield, CSP

John Patrick Dolan, CSP CPAE

W. Mitchell, CSP CPAE

Mark Victor Hansen CSP

Mark Sanborn, CSP CPAE

George Walther, CSP CPAE

The assignment process

The seminar dates are assigned by a bid process.  Selection factors for you to be assigned a tour can include any of the following:

Your location relative to the seminar location

Speaker/trainer rating

Topic expertise

Back-of-the-room sales ratings

Product authorship


Number of topics you can present

Topic Areas: Just about anything goes and the trend in the industry is towards more specific topics and more technical topics.

Some Public Seminar Topic Areas

Organizational excellence

Computer software training

Management skills

Telephone skills

Self-managed teams

Time management

Coaching & team building

Communication skills

Business writing

Stress management

Internet training

Customer service


Secretary skills

Grammar skills

Receptionist training

Telephone skills

Gender specific topics

Additional Opportunities

You can develop new topics:

You can develop and pilot a full seminar.

Or you can be the designated leader for a topic they develop.

Curriculum design departments are heavily involved in topic development

The seminar company will actively test, promote and role out the seminar.

However, only a select few seminars make it to full role out

You can author audio, video, literary products:

You author and produce – they sell your audio, video or book

You author – they produce and sell your stuff

They author and they produce and they sell the product

You produce or lead a seminar and they then market it as a product

How To Get On Board With A Public Seminar Company

Who are some of the players?

ETC w/ CareerTrack (subsidiary of TCI)

3085 Center Green Drive

Boulder, CO 80301

(800) 336-9972

Corporate Recruiter ext. 2559

American Management Association

1601 Broadway

New York, NY 10019

(212) 903-8407

Trainer contact: Kay Frost

National Seminars

6901 West 63rd Street

Shawnee Mission, KS 66201

(800) 258-7246

Attn: Faculty & Screening

Skillpath Seminars

6900 Squibb Road, Suite 300

Mission, KS 66201-2768

(800) 873-7545

Attn: Faculty Director

Fred Pryor Seminars

2000 Shawnee Mission Parkway

Shawnee Mission, KS 66205

(800) 255-6139

Attn: Seminar Leader Review Committee

Dun & Bradstreet Seminars

711 – 3rd Avenue, 5th floor

New York, NY 10017

(800) 964-4237

Attn: Marie Stamos

American Management Association

(Formerly Padgett-Thompson Seminars)

11221 Roe Avenue

Lee Wood, KS 66211

(913) 451-2700

Trainer recruiter: ext. 2950

How To Apply: Procedures vary for the different companies

cover letter


bio package

demo video


boot camp

Training, time frames and getting up to full speed

These factors vary according to the seminar companies

• Training: 3 days to 2 weeks, unpaid and some you pay them to attend training

• Time frames: Count on a full year to get up to full speed

The Process for getting to full speed:

1. Video demo used to screen applicants

2. You create an audition audio demo of a full day seminar

3. Corporate indoctrination (3-day to 2-week) session

4. Debut tour (substitution tour or standard booking process)

5. Test your limits of human endurance doing lots of seminars!

The Benefits Drawbacks and Realities of Working For A Public Seminar Company

Five Reasons To Never Work For A Public Seminar Company!

1. It’s too much like work!

2. It’s like leasing versus buying

3. Physical burnout

4. You develop a dependency relationship

5. The value/earnings ratio

Five Reasons This Might Be A Great Career Choice For You!

1. Experience and exposure

2. Booking/Marketing security

3. Resume builder

4. Instant access to the profession

5. Authorship

On-site seminars: The hidden seminar company market

You present to specific clients, not the general public

More personal, customized seminars

Multiple dates and repeat business bonus

No “back of the room” selling

Experience building

Client list building

More than just seminars:





Strategic Planning

Domestic and international travel opportunities: 48 contiguous states, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, Bahamas, Canadian provinces, United Kingdom (Scotland, England, Ireland), Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Australia and more!

You can make it work for you,

or you can make it work for the seminar company …

or you can do both!

Vilis Ozols is the president of the Ozols Business Group, a leadership training, motivational speaking and business consulting firm founded in Golden, Colorado and currently located in Southwest Florida (Orlando, Tampa, Sarasota). He was also an independent contractor for ETC w/ CareerTrack, one of the largest international public seminar companies. In 1995 he was awarded their outstanding veteran trainer award and he is featured in the CareerTrack video series “The Team Doctor,” “The 5 Traits of Emerging Leaders,” “Excelling As A First-Time Supervisor (audio series).” He has spoken in all 50 States, in 9 Canadian provinces, in 7 other countries and on three other continents.