The Secrets of Running a Successful Workshop 65

The Secrets of Running a Successful Workshop

The following article is a guest post.

Workshops have a number of different functions for businesses and business people. One thing is for certain, though: if you want to be successful in your field, you’re going to need to plan a good workshop.

Workshops help you impart your knowledge, increase your profile- and they make you money.

Why Run a Workshop?

To help people learn and advance in their field, nothing compares to a workshop. They’re way more engaging than a lecture, and have more diverse functions.

If you’re a management consultant, a workshop is a great way to set out a plan for your client and help them acquire the tools they need to make their business develop and grow.

If you run a business and have taken on new staff, a workshop can help them get up to speed on everything they need to function well in your working environment. Furthermore, it will help the new team members feel immediately engaged and welcomed. It shows you that you care about their development.

If you advertise your workshop as a method of acquiring skills in a field, imparted from an experienced mentor, you can increase your profile and make a nice amount of money. However, for the workshop to be a hit, it has to be good.

Here are five tips on how to run a successful workshop.

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1. Don’t Lecture.

The clue is in the name: it’s a workshop, not a lecture.

This means that people want to be engaged and active. People may have signed up to this above a lecture because the more traditional format just does not work for them.

Don’t just talk to people for three hours, or they won’t be enthusiastic about your program, and they won’t come back. Plan activities and get people involved, and keep them engaged.

2. Keep It Small.

More people in your workshop means more money. But if you think like that, people in your workshop will feel it, and they’ll walk away feeling like mere cash cows. That’s not good for establishing a good reputation, or generating repeated custom.

For inhouse workshops, where the imperative is to train, a workshop that’s too big means they you don’t adequately impart the skills you need for your staff to develop.

A workshop shouldn’t really be much bigger than twenty. If you’ve gone over twenty-five, you’ve oversold.

Smaller groups facilitate better networking between participants. It helps them make connections, and it allows you to devote enough time to each individual.

With smaller groups you can address everyone’s concerns and needs, and have a little one on one time with everyone; helping them get the most out of it.

3. Make It Interactive.

Interactivity can involve lots of things; even a simple group discussion is interactive. A way to facilitate the discussion fairly is to make sure no one dominates the discussion, so everyone can engage.

New developments in technology allow for a different kind of interactive engagement. Use a tool like an Event App to help engage your participants in real time, inviting them to view resources and participate in poll- and get live feedback.

4. Focus on Results-Based Activities.

To create a workshop where people feel they’ve achieved by the time they leave, focus on results-based activities.

Every activity or plan should have some sort of goal; either participants will have acquired new skills by the end of the workshop, laid the groundwork to developing new skills, or they’ll walk away without a lot of new ideas.

The best day to do that is with activities that have a clear learning objective, and simple steps on how to get there.

5. Use Diverse Resources.

By the time your workshop is done, the room should look like there’s been a workshop in it. This means lots of different resources need to be employed throughout your workshop.

The most basic is a whiteboard, to provide a visible focal point. Then there needs to be papers, pens, charts, graphs, interactive quiz sheets… The more diverse the resources, the more likely you are to keep even the most wandering of minds engaged.

Now that you know what’s necessary to run a successful workshop, you’re ready to start planning it.

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 10

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

***
Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.