Course Creators Weekly #53 🗓 June 28th, 2021 - How to create more engaging workshops
Before we dive into this week's content, I gotta tell you something!
A year ago tomorrow, I sent out CCW #1. That one didn't have bullet-point summaries. I started writing them in CCW #2. You liked them, so I kept going. So far, I've summarised 160 pieces of content from 79 people, and it's to safe to say I've learnt a LOT! So, I've decided it's time to start creating my own content too. I'm kickstarting that process through Ship 30 for 30—a daily writing challenge to publish 30 "Atomic Essays" in 30 days. I'll continue to curate and summarise too but instead of 3 curations each week, I'll share 2 pieces of curated content + 1 of my own Atomic Essays. I hope you enjoy them, and please feel free to give feedback, good or bad!
On to today's issue…
Cat Mulvihill shares her tips—a LOT of tips—on how to run engaging workshops. She's all about making sure people feel part of the process, and that they walk away with a positive, fruitful experience.
Before you start…
- Ask yourself what engagement means—for Cat, it's making everyone feel included
- Think about your goal for the session—what do you want people to walk away with?
- Set people's expectations early
- Make sure people know why they should pay attention and what they'll get out of it
- Be clear on how expect people to engage, e.g. chat, breakout rooms
- Create engagement right at the start—use easy prompts like where everyone's from
- Let people know when they'll get a chance to ask questions + how they'll do it
- Keep in mind that there are a mix of people on the call with different preferences
- Lighten the mood and get more people engaged by asking an easy, fun question
- Use a poll to find out the mood in the room—a temperature check
Use the chat
- Ask questions to make sure people are paying attention and learning
- Try a combination of closed and open-ended questions
- Don't read out every answer—try to acknowledge those who tend to be quiet
- Don't ask yes-or-no questions where it might be awkward for someone to say "no"
- Get people to engage using the 'Reactions' emoticons in Zoom
- Ask people to pause the chat, if necessary, to help avoid distractions
Names & Renaming
- Use people's names to acknowledge them, making them feel seen and belonging
- Don't exclude the names you're not sure how to pronounce—people notice this
- Attempt to pronounce difficult names + ask people to let you know if you get it wrong
- Ask people to rename themselves—you can use this creatively, or be practical
Visuals & Graphics
- Use visuals to draw people's attention—we've evolved to notice visual changes
- Use images and written text on screen when you ask people to take some action
Read the room
- Adapt your approach if something isn't working
- Make sure everyone's able to participate, not just the few most vocal people
- Do your best but realise you can't control everything—sometimes it's not about you
- Onboarding: get students to reflect, set clear intentions + measure their current state
- Provide a community space for students to connect, interact, and learn from peers
- Teach with pre-recorded content, then go deeper in live sessions and discussions
- Create opportunities for students to debate and explore ideas in small breakout rooms
- Use metaphors and examples to bring abstract ideas to life and make them memorable
- Let your alumni teach—being only a few steps ahead, they're often better teachers
- Design assignments with concrete deliverables—encourage students to learn by doing
- Let students exchange feedback on deliverables, helping them learn faster and better
- Make it simple for students to find support—they should be challenged, not confused
- Keep it flexible—allow room for adjusting your curriculum or scheduling extra sessions
- Celebrate achievements, lifting people's spirits by sharing wins and giving shoutouts
Check out Julia's thread, and if you're not following her, you need to fix that now!
Picking a niche becomes much easier when you understand why and how niching down can help you grow faster.
Here are 5 things that niching down allows you to do:
- Use your audience's own words—build trust by making them feel understood
- Avoid fluff in your content to deliver better, faster results for your students
- Pick a reasonable price point for your target audience—e.g. founders vs students
- Stand out from competition by becoming the go-to person in a hyper-focused market
- Make sure you're serving people you enjoy interacting with, even if they never paid you