I recently wrote about a sure-fire way to maximize your business potential, and it was a big hit: Just turn your ebook into a workshop. Then get ready to impress the socks off new prospects.
But exactly how should you set up that ebook-based workshop? How can you make sure it’s a win? I’ll tell you that too. Keep reading…
No matter what type of freelancer, consultant or business owner you might be, and no matter what sort of product or service you sell, hosting a workshop is a great idea that could bring huge benefits to your business.
Think about it: A workshop lets you show off your expertise, in person. You get to demonstrate how you solve a specific problem. You have the opportunity to engage with fresh prospects. You can talk with people one-on-one, answer their questions directly, give them some personal attention and show them just how nice a person you are.
Oh yeah, and you get to promote something you sell. Bonus.
Here’s another bonus: Hosting a workshop lets you pick up some public-speaking experience, and that’s a very valuable skill to have in your back pocket. Your event could lead to other speaking opportunities in larger venues in cooler locations. You could meet new networking contacts who tell other people what a great speech you put on.
A workshop could bring you fame. Fortune. And greater confidence.
Ah, confidence – there’s the crux of the matter. Most people hold themselves back from hosting workshops, even if they really, really know their stuff, just because they lack confidence in their ability to put on a great event.
There can be a lot of pre-event jitters. Is everything set up right? Will people like what you’ve done? Are the chairs in the right spot? Should you wave your hands when you speak, present bullet-point slides on a screen or walk about back and forth?
It’s a bit of a vicious circle: Before you feel confident you can host a successful workshop, you need to feel confident that your workshop is set for success. Here’s how to breathe a sigh of relief and build confidence in your workshop long before people start filling up the chairs in the room.
Relax. Take a few deep, slow breaths any time you start to feel anxious. Use positive affirmations and tell yourself you’ve prepared for this. You’ve nailed it. You’re ready, you know what you’ll talk about, and you can handle it. Believe in yourself. And don’t forget – the audience is interested in what you have to say!
Check your handouts. Make sure your worksheets and handouts are in an easily accessible area. Maybe have a stack near the door so you can greet people personally and offer them a worksheet right away before they sit down. You could have them on a table by the stage, so you can pick them up and pass them around to the audience personally as you speak. Maybe have them already placed on people’s seats so that when they choose a chair, they’re all ready to go.
Have pens handy. Offer pens or pencils with your handouts or pass them around as you begin. You want people to take notes or jot down questions to ask you as you speak, so make it easy for them to do so. And remind people of your contact information before they leave – and don’t forget to remind them that they have a pen in hand so they can write it down!
Review your notes. Don’t rely on the myth that you’ll remember everything you want to say, even if you know your topic intimately. Review your notes, bullet points and slide texts a few minutes before the event to re-familiarize yourself with what you plan to say. Have some index cards with notes on them nearby, just in case. You don’t need to read off them as you speak – they’re just a safety net to help you feel extra confident you’ve got this covered.
Don’t pace. Don’t pace around nervously an hour before the event. Distract yourself from your excitement with another sort of activity to avoid having a mind that’s brewing in anxiety. Call your mom and ask how her day’s going. Play Angry Birds on your iPhone. Talk to the bartender about his favorite drink. Knit.
Keep yourself occupied until it’s time for your event. That way, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. “Oh! Is it time already? Okay, gotta go!” And off you head towards the stage.
Once you’re up there and in front of people, here are a few extra tips to keep you going:
Remember to engage. By getting your audience involved and engaged, they’ll pay more attention to what you say. They’ll feel like they got a lot out of you and that this was a valuable, fun event. They’ll also take away more information and remember it longer if they have a hands-on activity to complete.
Hold a Q and A session. Or a few of them. This time is very important to your audience. Pause every now and then and ask if people have any questions about what you just covered. That way, you’ll keep questions relevant and in-the-moment instead of piling them all up at the end. Be sure to move on after one or two questions, though – keep the pace going.
Be honest. It’s honestly quite fine if you don’t know the answer to a question someone throws at you. No one expects you to know everything. If you get stumped, just say, “You know, that’s an excellent question, and I honestly don’t know the answer. Then do this:
Recover. When you don’t know the answer, you need to recover from the moment. Tell the person you’ll find out and ask them for their email address so you can contact them when you have that info. They’ll be thrilled you’d go the extra mile for them! Or you can simply move on and lead people away from that question. “What I do know, though, is that…”
Keep the conversation going. When the workshop’s all done, it doesn’t end there. Invite people to come hang out with you after the workshop on social media. Post your thoughts about how the day went on Facebook. Talk about questions people had and include your answers.
People may end up talking about your workshop for days – even weeks! And that’s good for business, so keep the conversation going.
What other ways can you think of to make your first workshop a real success?