How To Create Irresistible Intro Workshops

𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝗧𝗶𝗺𝗲: 6 minutes

Over the past few years.

I’ve created more than a dozen different intro workshops.

Some were wildly successful — while others flopped.

“But why?” I asked.

I felt my curiosity begin to grow as I thought back to what I did differently from one workshop to the next.

Meanwhile, as I pondered the secrets of what makes a workshop truly remarkable, another struggle surfaced within me.

I realized that most of the workshops I’ve created over the years, I’ve taught only once before losing interest.

“How will I ever gain traction in my business if I’m always hopping from one idea to the next?” I thought.

“I’ve got to stick to one thing long enough to make an impact.”

“But how?”

These are the two topics that I will address in today’s email on how to create irresistible intro workshops for your online education business.

  • What makes workshops work, and…
  • How to pick a topic that you’ll stick with

First up…

How To Pick A Topic That You’ll Stick With

Creating an intro workshop can be a lot of work.

And every new idea takes time to catch on.

But if you’ve spent any time building an online business, you know it’s not that simple.  Because you learn, grow and change along the way and so do your interests.

Unfortunately for me, most of the workshops I’ve created I’ve taught once and then lost interest.

One time I even spent months developing a workshop that I never ended up teaching at all.  And I even already had people lining up to attend.

“So how do I pick something I can stick to?”, you might ask.

Well, on a totally unrelated note I was using Google’s Bard as my research assistant the other day. And I was asking it to help me find quotes on education.

When I read the following quote from Richard Bach, it hit me.

“You teach best what you most need to learn.”

When you commit to teaching something you struggle with, the stakes are higher.  You’re more motivated to find a solution, and more invested in finding solutions that actually work.

And if you pick a topic that’s important enough to you, you’ll naturally want to go deep on it.

So if you’re new here.

That’s why I’ve committed to teaching The Workshop Workshop once a month for at least the next year. 

That way I can figure out how to create irresistible workshops for my business and hopefully I can teach you to do the same.

So…

“What Makes Workshops Work?”

As far as I can tell.

There’s 3 main elements to any successful intro workshop that I like to call,

The Transformation Framework:

  1. Irresistible titles (the promise)
  2. Compelling stories (the motivation), and
  3. Frameworks (the transformation)

The Title

It all starts here.

Your title is the promise you’re making and must fulfill to your audience.

Irresistible workshops begin with irresistible titles and irresistible titles begin with empathy.

You’ll need to think back to when you were just getting started.  Before you had the sudden “a-ha” moment that changed your life forever.

I remember my very first online workshop was about navigating the pandemic with resilience.

I was struggling with anxiety for nearly two weeks after all my streams of income were abruptly shut off.  But I realized that if I was feeling this way, other people must be feeling this way too.  I knew I wasn’t alone.

And as I looked around and saw what all my mentors were doing, it dawned on me.  They were showing up, inspiring people, and leading the way.

I knew that if I truly wanted to step into a leadership role, I needed to get out there and inspire others despite my own struggles with uncertainty.

Leaders aren’t chosen because they have the ability to see in the dark.

Leaders are chosen because they can lead others through the darkness while feeling around for the light switch.

So think back to how you felt when you were first getting started.

  1. Where were you at and where were you looking to go?
  2. Can you clearly state the journey from point a to point b in your title?
  3. Does your title speak directly to your interest, curiosity, or desire at the time?

Write out some different possibilities and get feedback from people who are willing to hurt your feelings.

Next up.

Compelling Stories

Looking back.

I wasn’t consciously aware that I was doing this, but my most successful workshops were always filled with stories.

And it’s the stories that have the power to transform people’s lives.

I did a workshop a while back for entrepreneurs struggling with direction and purpose in their lives.

After sharing my personal story of building a successful construction business then closing it down because I realized it wasn’t what I wanted in my life.

A woman replied, “I think just being a service based business owner is my purpose in life.”

And I didn’t mean for my story to imply that running a service business was somehow inferior.

It’s not.

So I replied, “That’s awesome.  I believe it doesn’t matter what your version of success looks like to other people.  What matters is how it feels for you on the inside.”

Within a year, she moved to the desert and became a park ranger.

Clearly it spoke to her on a level beyond logic and reason.

I didn’t tell her to leave her service business behind.

But suddenly she had permission.

It’s like my teacher Alfonso Castillo always said:

“You can only teach people your own experience.”

And lastly.

Frameworks

If stories create irresistible interest, frameworks create irresistible desire.

That’s because, if you want to make it easy for people to take healthy action to improve their lives, you’ve got to give them a plan.

In every story, the hero meets a guide.

And that guide gives them a plan.

Your plan might be a step by step guide, formula, or framework.

But ultimately, they’re all the same.

And according to Donald Miller, author of Story Brand:

“People like formulas because they work.”

But I didn’t quite realize the importance of frameworks until I tried not using them.

When I first decided to host The Workshop Workshop, I was inspired by how Carl Rogers ran encounter groups in the 1960s and 1970s.

They were like big group conversations where anyone could ask a question and anyone could answer.

And in his writings about them he suggests:

“Prepare yourselves instead of preparing plans or materials.”

When I read this, I thought I’d struck irresistible workshop gold!

All my endless hours of preparing for workshops would come to an end.

I thought I could just show up.

Host a casual conversation about workshops.

And everyone would be happy right?

Wrong.

Of course, people loved hearing the story about how I was inspired to teach using this new format.

But when push came to shove and I hosted the actual workshop — people were practically begging me to take control and teach my frameworks.

I couldn’t understand it.

“It worked for Carl Rogers, why wasn’t it working for me?”, I thought.

Suddenly all the notes I had taken from Carl Rogers’ books flashed before my eyes.

My notes were filled with lists, steps, plans, bullet points and frameworks.

Frameworks that he had created.
Frameworks that he had written about extensively, and
Frameworks that he followed religiously in every one of his workshops.

Of course it worked for him.

“Prepare yourself instead of preparing materials” — didn’t mean don’t develop frameworks, and it didn’t mean don’t teach frameworks either.

It meant the opposite.

It meant developing them so extensively that they become a part of who you are.

So frameworks are essential.

Simply refer back to The Transformation Framework I’ve doodled above and see for yourself.

It will help you write better titles.  Tell better stories.  And create better frameworks for inspiring your audience to take healthy action to improve their lives.

Here it is again:

Putting It All Together

Here’s some final thoughts to help you get started.

If you’re new to hosting workshops, don’t stress out about picking something you’ll stick with.

The truth about building a business online is that everyone will tell you first to “pick a niche”.  But in reality it’s always messy, you’ll try different things, and you’ll change your mind.

But if you’ve got some experience and you’re in the “how can I pick something I can stick to” boat then — don’t teach what you know, teach what you most need to learn.

Pick something you’re willing to commit to learning for at least the next year and get started.

And second,

Use The Transformation Framework to help you:

  • Write better titles.
  • Tell better stories, and
  • Teach better frameworks.

That way, the people who leave your workshops find it irresistible to talk about.

To your success.

Lot’s of love,
Kevin

P.S. I’m taking my own advice for the next Workshop Workshop — I’m refining who it’s for, focusing on frameworks, and giving it a new name: “Irresistible Intro Workshops”.

Shoot me a message on IG to join the waitlist — See you there!