10 Difference Between Conference and Seminar (With Table)

Formal meetings are crucial when discussing specific agendas of common interests. But the outbreak of the pandemic seems to have killed large gatherings to combat the spread.

Many organizations have opted to carry out meetings via Zoom, Skype, Webinars, and more other platforms. But the invention of vaccines seems to be a major relieve in holding formal meetings.

So, what is the main difference between conference and seminar? The former is a pre-arranged meeting carried over a period of few days to deliberate on a particular topic of common interest while the latter is an academic meeting where participants are provided with training with respect to a particular field of study.

Keep in mind that conferences and seminars are large gatherings of people with different agendas. But they are held to deliberate on topics of mutual interests among the participants.

This article provides further differences between conference and seminar in a tabular form. Take the time to also read through the similarities between seminar and conference.

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Comparison Table (Conference vs Seminar)

Basic Terms Conference Seminar
Meaning It is a large formal gathering of people or members to deliberate on topics of common interests. It is a training event where one or more experts communicate information to participants through lecture or general discussion.
Session Consultative Interactive
Objective To gather opinions or solutions for an issue. To educate, discuss and train.
Participation of Audience Limited participation. Active participation.
Organization Venue Hotel or meeting space. Arranged space or seminar halls in institutions.
Duration Few days. One or more hours.
Type of Work Presentation and exchange of views. Presentation and discussion.
Formality More formal Less formal
Year of Discovery 1527 1863
Certification No certificate offered to participants. Participants are offered certificates at the end.

What Is a Conference?

It is a large formal meeting organized by members of an organization or group to deliberate on a particular topic of common interests.

A conference is a consultive meeting where members or participants are allowed to give their opinions or suggestions concerning the matter at hand.

Keynote presentation is the critical method of providing information to the participants. Besides that, the conference usually has short break sessions.

The number of people attending conferences can range from 50 to 100 without considering their level of expertise. But these people usually share a mutual interest in the topic of discussion.

The main types of conferences are workshops, seminars, and symposiums. Keep in mind that the discussion topic between academic and business conferences are quite different.

What Is a Seminar?

It is a formal academic forum organized by the academic institution for students or professional bodies to educate and guide them on a particular topic.

Seminars have no limited number of participants since it depends on the level of the seminar being conducted. Higher-level seminars usually involve participants of high level and vice versa.

The purpose of this formal meeting is to bring all people together to whom training is compulsory. One or more experts are involved to give lectures to participants on a specific field of study.

The guest speaker usually presents topics via slides, videos, and other interactive tools. There are also question-answer sessions between experts and participants.

The main types of seminars are mini-seminars, major seminars, national seminars, and international seminars. Participants need to come with notebooks and other stationery to take note of points.

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Main Difference between Conference and Seminar

  1. The conference is a consultative forum. The seminar is an interactive forum.
  2. The conference takes few days. The seminar takes one or more hours.
  3. The seminar is meant to educate, guide, and train participants on a specific subject. The conference is meant to deliberate on topics of common interests.
  4. Participants in the conference are limited between 50 to 100. Seminar participants are not limited.
  5. The conference is held in a conference room and convention centers. Seminars are held in the institution seminar room.

Similarities between Conference and Seminar

  1. Both are formal meetings.
  2. Both involve the gathering of people.
  3. Both have topics of discussion.
  4. Both are held in a specific place.
  5. Both involve participants of mutual interests.

In Conclusion

What is the main difference between seminar and conference? Seminars are academic in nature while conferences are related to business or economy.

Both conferences and seminars offer a platform where experts deliver speeches to the participants in a confined room. But seminars entail demonstrations and discussions.

Conferences are ideal for national and international gatherings while seminars are suitable for educational purposes and short gatherings.

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