As a successful business owner, you’ve probably spent years building a reputation as an expert in your field. Whether you’re a successful entrepreneur or a business broker, you have much to share with your existing customers and prospects on how they can benefit from using your products and services. An educational seminar or workshop is one of the most valuable tools you can use to share your expertise, build credibility and establish yourself as an expert in your field. At the same time, you’re generating exposure for yourself, developing new relationships and ultimately growing your business.
Here are 7 tips to grow your business giving educational seminars or workshops:
- Define your presentation’s overall objective. Whether you’re offering an educational seminar for existing clients or a workshop for new prospects, think about what you would like them to learn – giving them a worthwhile reason to attend! Will they learn how to save money? Will they learn how to lose weight fast? The overall objective can then be expanded into the information or skills you will share with your audience. From there you can develop your general description or your ‘What You’ll Learn in this Workshop’ (which can be used for marketing), plus your general outline and topic segments.
- Develop your presentation’s content. Most presentations are developed as slides using PowerPoint software. This allows for bold easy-to-read text with strong headings, as well as compelling graphics and illustrations to reinforce your message. Start your presentation by introducing yourself, your professional background, and what ties you to the topic. Next, introduce the overall objective and what the audience will learn. As you introduce each segment, clearly state the point you’re trying to make, why it’s relevant, and then expand into examples, share solutions or valuable information. Be succinct and use strong imagery to reinforce your message. After you have discussed each segment, you can wrap up your presentation with a quick summary or conclusion. Your last slide should provide important contact information, such as phone numbers, email addresses and websites. Lastly, set aside some time for attendees to ask questions.
- Choose a venue and date. Oftentimes, you’ll find opportunities to host educational workshops or seminars through professional networks, such as business associations, alumni associations, a local chamber of commerce or even a LinkedIn group. You can also host it yourself, either at your office or a local hotel. Learn what you can about the venue before your presentation. Choose a venue that’s centrally located and has ample parking available. It’s important to visit the venue ahead of time to see how many seats the room holds and what type of equipment is available. Besides presenting live, you can also present it as a webinar, using an online software platform, such as GoToWebinar or Join.me.
- Promote your event. You can use a wide variety of marketing and social media channels to get the word out to promote your workshop or seminar. This could include emailing your existing clients, posting it on social media, or promoting it as an event on Meetup or EventBrite. You can also get the word out by posting it in your local newspaper’s event calendar or distributing flyers in high trafficked areas. Whichever means you use, make sure you have a web page or email address where people can RSVP and register. If you’re hosting it as a webinar, a registration link will most likely be included.
- Prepare for your event. Always rehearse your presentation ahead of time to a friend or colleague and get constructive feedback. You’ll most likely need to make a few edits. A few days prior to your event, as well as the morning of your event, send out a reminder email to everyone who registered, including the date, time, and a map to the location. Before your attendees arrive that day, make sure there’s enough space for everyone to be comfortable and see the screen. Check all your equipment to ensure it’s working properly. Set up a welcome table near the entrance. The table should include a registration sheet, pens, name badge labels, a workbook or outline of your presentation, some sort of refreshments, plus your business card and marketing collateral.
- Give a memorable and engaging presentation. Grab your audience’s attention with a strong delivery. Your voice should be loud enough to reach the person in the back row. If you’re a naturally a soft speaker, project from your diaphragm. Speak clearly and avoiding monotones. Move about and use gestures with purpose to enhance your delivery and underscore your message. As you present your material, mention one key point, a teaser that will be unveiled at the very end. This grabs your audience and creates anticipation. Are you a great storyteller? A great way to engage your audience is by sharing real life examples related to your topic. Another way is by encouraging your audience to participate. You can spark a discussion by asking a question, or assign a short lesson or task to do. End with a strong closing summary that emphasizes your main points and leaves your audience thinking.
- Follow up and stay connected. Promptly send an email to all your attendees thanking them for attending. Include a survey so attendees can provide you with feedback and additional questions. Did you have any one-on-one discussions with attendees after the presentation concluded? This is a great opportunity to stay connected with a personal email. You can also follow up by offering additional resources, such as books, websites or articles. Perhaps not everyone was able to attend your presentation. Follow up with these people and invite them to attend on a different date. After you’re done with your presentation, consider posting your slides and sharing them on SlideShare or Scribd. It’s a great way to gain exposure and generate new leads.
Congratulations! You just completed your first educational presentation. Keep the momentum going and start planning for your next one. You can use the feedback you received from your attendees to make improvements and expand on your topic. You can even develop an entire workshop series.
Giving an educational seminar or workshop is a great way to strengthen relationships and establish new ones. Chances are, you’ve already established several new leads and strengthened your existing customer base. Plus, you’re building yourself a reputation as an expert in your field. People will remember you and refer you to their friends and colleagues.