What I learned from my workshop

My first workshop on Publicity for Small Business, held this week, left me feeling dissatisfied. Despite positive feedback from participants, something wasn’t right.

Our post-workshop debrief helped me to identify the problem. I’d been falling into the cracks in my own material.

Lack of confidence in my ability to present as an expert had been allowed to shine through during the transitional seconds between sections of my workshop. I mumbled or apologised, fumbled with papers, and even at one point asked for reassurance: ‘Am I making this sound more complicated than it is?’ Oh dear.

My solution for the next workshop is to turn those dangerous cracks to good use by paying closer attention to participants’ body language in order to draw them into useful interchange. This will help me remember that the workshop is about them, not me, and give me a purposeful way to link each section.

Paying attention to these transition times translates to other media used to educate clients. For our website, how do we move users from one page to another? For blogs – why would a reader subscribe to our rss feed? What makes them want to find out what we’re going to say next?

Then, just as I had become confident about filling the cracks, I read Learning Doesn’t Happen in the Middle – just one section of an excellent article on teaching as a marketing tool.

The gist is that readers, listeners, users, etc will tend to ‘tune out’ during the middle part of each chunk of information. They will only pay attention to the beginning and the end.

So here’s another challenge – how to structure each chunk of information to contain only a beginning and an end, and no middle. Can it be done? I like to think so – keep an eye on our website and workshops to find out.