"The Seminar" is the modern version of the Grand Inquisition. It has probably taken more lives the Inquisition at this point. "The Seminar" last just a little shorter than the Six Day War. Any longer and it would be a "Convention". "Conventions" are not as immediately painful as "The Meeting" or "The Seminar" as participants are able to slip out undetected for longer than scheduled in order to partake in the team building exercise known as the liquid lunch or the extra-early-happy hour. "The Seminar" and "The Convention" are also mercifully held at a location other than your office, so they have a nice min-break appeal to them. Something to do with the cat being away and mice playing.
"The Seminar" occurs when someone in management (who has access to major budget funds) decides that life as we know it has been going a little too well, and he/she has to muck it up some how. While "The Meeting" is typically used to get workers to drink the kool-aid or a major management-to-employee flogging; "The Seminar" is used to completely F-up life as you know it. Nothing gets a CIO/CEO/CFO hotter than thinking that worker bees really give a sh*t about rewriting the company mission statement or redesigning the process-flow/task analysis of the water cooler bottle replacement system. This leads to hours upon hours of discussing the merits of totally trivial sh*t; like the toilet paper being hung with the flap forward vs. the flap facing backwards. Especially when worker-bees know it's all going to be chucked in the bin by an over-riding management brain-fart two months from now when management gets another "bright idea" to create more work than humanly possible in addition to the 80 hour work week that we now endure without complaining for fear of losing our jobs in an economy that sucks hard than the prom queen.
Management will schedule a 2-3 day confinement in a banquet room or conference hall, where a perky, overly-caffeinated, ex-prom queen consultant will tell you how you are now going to beat a dead horse to death with a new and improved beating stick. The entire stick will be used in a more timely and efficient manner. (Cause GAWD forbid, that the way you have been beating it for years isn't the right way. No matter how well it got the job done.) In the meantime, work will be piling up on your desk and you will be expected to be "on top of it" even though you are locked away for 9 hours a day, learning how beating the dead horse with the old stick is no longer efficient. And isn't the new stick all nice and shiny? The new stick will turn out to be the old stick with bows, bells and whistles added to make you think it's a new stick. Then they will ask for your input on how the company can better beat the dead horse. This little piece of input typically manifests itself in the shape of an "anonymous feedback" survey where the first question is "Name"? Usually this is when management takes note of the nay-sayers and has them taken out by the secret Gestapo when no one is looking.
I would write more, but I have to go to another meeting. Really. It's been my fifth one this week and it is only Wednesday. At this rate, I am going to have to add another meeting to my schedule because all the drinking I will be doing in order to recover from the last five meetings is going to send me straight to AA!