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November 22, 2017

5 Tips to Make Your Next Workshop Absolutely Fabulous!

How to plan a successful workshop

If your a Coach, Consultant or Wellness Practitioner, chances are you hold workshops.

These face to face learning opportunities are a great way to share your knowledge, build credibility and reach more people.

You may already have an online course, group or webinar, but if you’re anything like me, you love workshops!

Why are workshops so special?

When it comes to workshops, I believe there’s something special going on. They’re mini communities, with a common goal and a roomful of hope. And you’ve got the honour of leading the way.

I thrive in this environment, because there’s not greater joy than watching people connect, relax and open their hearts to learning.  You can probably hear the teacher in me there! And I agree, my love of teaching is never far away – it’s certainly helped to have a professional background in education.  But the reality is, as facilitator, you need to carefully plan the experience you want to create, so that your participants enjoy the journey.

Workshops are a topical theme for me at the moment, as I’m in the process of putting together a full day blogging workshop for 2018. But, like anything that’s going to be this good, it takes a lot of effort behind the scenes!

Why your workshop can unravel…

I’ve delivered over 100 hours of workshops over the last couple of years, and I speak from experience when I say it’s not the actual delivery that trips you  up – it’s the strategy! So in this blog I’m going to share with you some basic tips on how to organise and run a fabulous workshop, which includes,  thinking about how you’re going to reach the people you want to connect with.

I’m going to share my 5 P Process with you so that your workshops are focused on strategy and results.  Let’s start with  purpose.

Purpose

It’s really important to understand why you’re delivering the workshop in the first place. Although that may sound completely obvious, I know I’m guilty of having an idea running with it before identifying the purpose.

Ask yourself, is your workshop part of your lead generation strategy? If that’s the case, then the purpose is to generate interest in something that will move your ideal clients you’re your funnel. This is a great strategy to set you up to have a conversation later down the track, about a more significant product you offer.

However, you may be delivering a workshop because you’ve got knowledge that you feel others should be exposed to, and that you can help them. So, you can see that the purpose is quite different and often, that will structure how you market, promote and price your workshop.

If your purpose is to disseminate your message to many people , you’re obviously going to think about a low-cost entry point, because you want to spread your message far and wide.

If you’re going to be delivering a specific value in a workshop, so you’re sharing a skill and providing a transformation in a face-to-face workshop setting, then that’s quite a different purpose again.

My workshop is a ‘come and experience a transformative approach to writing‘. Because that’s my purpose, I’ve got very small numbers which means it’s a higher value entry point compared to a lead-generation workshop.

Once you’ve decided your purpose, the next thing to think about, “Who’s the workshop for?” The people.

People

Although many of us have a resistance to narrowing our focus on certain individuals, your workshop will be better if people really feel at home.

It’s true, many people may benefit from your workshop.

But, if you could tailor it to a specific few you focus in on their needs, give them the attention they deserve and focus on adding amazing value for them. Let’s take an example – if you were going to run a workshop on marketing copy for real estate, that would be really fantastic for all the real estate people out there, rather than giving a marketing copy workshop for the generic ‘Business Owner’.

The narrower you can be, the more useful the information is to that group.

As a copy writer, I’ve got all sorts of little gems that could be useful to all sorts of business owners, but my specific audience focus are female entrepreneurs, especially coaches, creatives and consultants.

Why? Because this group have a very specific and quite personal message. As a copywriter, it can be really tricky to convey that message on their behalf, but I believe they can learn from me to create copy in their own voice. When it comes to blogging, they’re best placed to share their own message, nobody can say it better! That’s why this blogging workshop, is designed specifically to benefit this group.

The next thing you need to consider is your platform. Think about your method of delivery, in this case it’s a workshop –  live face-to-face interaction. So platform is all about venue, seating and collaborative structures.

Platform

What kind of venue do you need? Are people going to be working on laptops? Do they actually need access to Wi-Fi? In that case, you won’t be doing it in my place, because Wi-Fi is in and out all the time.

I’ve deliberately chosen an idyllic sanctuary for my workshops because I want people to feel really creative. I want them to let go of their outside baggage and walk in to something totally different. Your venue choice is very important, modern and techy or retreat-style sanctuary?

How are people going to interact during the workshop? Will you have tables? How will they be arranged?

How will you use ice-breakers to build connection? Will you build in brain-breaks? What strategies do you have for group work?

The energy in the room is in your control, so think about the way you can structure the workshop to create the right kind of energy.

Pipeline

The next P is pipeline.

Where does your workshop take someone?

If you’ve ever been on a learning journey, you know it doesn’t have an end. Always be thinking about:

  • What next?
  • What else?
  • Is there a group setting we can continue talking?
  • Where else can we go together?

This workshop is just the start, keep building on their learning.

Profitability

Finally, your last P is Profitability.

Now, I have to give a shout-out to my Business Coach Alicia Menkveld here, because I’m not a numbers girl at all and she forces encourages me to do the numbers on everything! So, one of the most important things I want to share here is work out what it’s going to cost you to run your workshop at your venue.

If it’s going to be free, you need to have a really mapped out channel to move people along to a paid version or a paid product, because your time is a great investment and you can’t keep giving that away for free. But equally, if it’s like my workshop where it’s an intensive experience, you’ve got to communicate the amount of value people are getting to justify the price.

I know I’ll be putting in a lot of work developing the online resources like the planning component that will happen first. Then, there’s the live, interactive session which is sharing my expertise for a whole day. From there, there’s going to be an ongoing relationship where I help to move you into an accountable phase of publishing those blogs. But although I know this, it’s important to sell the benefits of all these moving parts.

So there you have it, the 5 Ps of bringing together a successful workshop.

Do you have any tips for running a successful workshop? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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