Thursday, February 20, 2014

Workshops Mean Business!

how to create a workshopWorkshops can be highly lucrative information products, especially if you market them to organizations. I have been creating and delivering workshops for myself and my clients for more than 15 years. This is not only a major source of my income, it energizes me. I enjoy being actively engaged with people who are eager to learn from me. It also has given me opportunities to create other information products, such as webinars and e-books from my workshops; established my reputation as an experienced, professional employee development consultant; and given me an entire product line creating workshops and webinars for other consultants and experts.

When planning a workshop, keep adult learning styles in mind. Build in visual, auditory, and kinesthetic tools to ensure everyone in the audience learns in their preferred style. Adults also need experiential learning opportunities, so your workshop must include lots of exercises and interactivity.

Here's how I put together workshops for myself and my clients:
  • I organize my content in 30-minute modules or segments with 15 minutes of lecture and group discussion, ten minutes devoted to an exercise that allows participants to experience the material themselves, and a five-minute debrief. This modular approach makes it easy to reconfigure content and create customized programs for clients. For example, I have a workshop on serving multi-generation customers. There is a 15-minute lecture/discussion about generational influences. Then I have participants spend a few minutes jotting down their personal influences, and I break them into groups or partner them and have them work together to share the responses. I add a five-minute debrief, and one module is completed. For a half-day workshop, I need six to seven modules. Each module can stand alone and be plugged into another program with only minor tweaking. In this example, the section on generational influences appears in a leadership program and a workshop on building effective workplace relationships.
  • Create a PowerPoint presentation that uses strong images and little text. The PowerPoint is not speaker prompts; it is a tool to reinforce learning and make a more powerful impact. Add dynamic transitions and animation and embed videos and audios. 
  • Build a workbook that includes information from the lecture part of your workshop, exercises to be done in class, space to capture notes, and images from your PowerPoint to help people follow along with you. 
  • Add your bio to the workbook with contact information and an offer, if your client allows this. Some organizations consider this a form of solicitation, which violates their anti-solicitation policy. Always ask permission when delivering workshops to organizations. 
  • Drop in a copyright notice in the workbook and the PowerPoint presentation to protect your intellectual property. 

Please share how you organize your content for workshops, or contact me at if you need help creating workshops or materials. 

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