Getting frank about filling workshops or events

I know many of you who have successfully and unsuccessfully run workshops or events. Some of you have positioned yourselves as high value, and charged accordingly, others have held free events or close to free. A special shout out to Lynda Moore of Money Mentalist who recently draw a large crowd to some and see her and two affiliates speak, simply by offering the tickets for $10. The gold in this is that if she hadn't charged at all, then many wouldn't have turned up, but $10 was enough for people to make the effort to commit AND she covered her costs. It was a wonderful and informative event, and Lynda spoke very powerfully and gave masses of value and consequently picked up some great business. Another inspiration was that she baked a bunch of cookies herself (and she is an amazing baker) and the venue were wonderfully flexible and let her serve those at the event.

I have to confess I have been wondering whether to publish this newsletter today, because at some level it sounds like excuses and not just trusting, going with the flow, and expecting a workshop to fill with ease. There is also an element of wanting to 'look good' and feeling that as a lead gen expert, I should have this nailed. But the pragmatic and upfront part of me has won out, so I am sharing (and love to hear your thoughts on the subject!). Please excuse length of today's post.

Filling an event or workshop takes something, unless you are Oprah or Taylor Swift 

Actually, there are still tickets available to Oprah's show.  I was so keen to get there, that I purchased my tickets via my phone (as I was out and about) at 10 on the dot and so I am sure that the seats are great. Although those lucky visa holders got first dibs.

But for all the rest of us, it can be just plain hard work filling our events. Personally, I think that it's not about people not seeing the value, but that we are all playing 'busy' and don't believe we have the luxury of taking a day or even couple of hours out to invest in learning. Let's face it, we are also being invited daily to attend workshops so there is lots of competition and I think the other challenge is the status quo (just easier NOT to go!). And as always, there is always the cost ('I would love to come, but simply can't afford it right now' - ironically, in these instances I think people can't afford NOT to come to any event that is going to give them the smarts to shift that dynamic).

If you are planning to host an event or workshop, here are some key tips gleaned from my own experience and others around me; (and please read to the end of my newsletter because there is a bit of a plug for my upcoming event and free webinar because I have kind of 'failed' in tip one!)

1. Book your venue early, allocate some good time to promoting your event. I think it takes a good three months to fill an event if you are charging over say $150 for a ticket, and believe it or not, the venues actually do book out. If you live in Auckland, venues that my community and I have personally used include The Clarion Room, Beaumont St, Rydges, Hotel de Brett, Spencer on Byron and Quality Hotel in Parnell. You are going to need to allocate a fair chunk of time to promoting it, so my recommendation is that when you are in a particularly busy period, best not to plan events.

2. Use social media, both organic and paid. Popping the details up on Facebook and LinkedIn is one of the most effective ways to spread the word. Remember you will probably have to post a couple of times a week, people don't make their decision on first glance. Advertising workshops is also great for positioning your brand in general, and getting known. 

3. Ask for support from those around you. This can be excruciatingly awkward for some people, but the reality is that people will be more likely to invest in you if you come recommended. Asking those who love you and rate you is a smart move (and most of us don't ask for support enough, we are generally doing it on our own. If you have trusted contacts who have a big list or following on FaceBook, they are clearly great people to ask (in a nice unattached way :-)). One way to make this easier, is to host a complimentary and value packed webinar upfront, (here's the details to mine!) which people can refer their networks to.

4. Remember to mention your event when you are out and about. Wonderful fellow coaches Karlie Brown and Lenore Miller are presently hosting wonderful Feminine Leader workshops in Sydney and Melbourne, and they got some beautiful postcards made up to promote the event. Giving these out over the preceding months is a smart move, because something physical general stays in our line of sight, and is a great reminder. I have been doing a bit of speaking and networking lately, and always forget to mention my event, which is really silly!

5. Experiment with your pricing. It would be great to be able to give you the silver bullet on this one, but there simply isn't one. As I have already mentioned, offering it for free can mean people don't turn up. I think if lead generation is a key motive, and you are looking at hosting at least 30 people, then charging around $50 to $150 is a good price point for up to a day in length. If your vibe is more intimate, say up to 20 people, I think the sweet spot is $250 to $650, which I know is quite a spread, but it really does depend on how well you are known and valued. Some people find offering a second ticket for free or at a nominal price works well.

6. Connect with people individually. It's a great reason to reach out to people you might not have spoken with for a while and face to face or even on the phone is always going to increase the chances of someone truly seeing the value in what you offer. Of course this is time consuming which is why you need to make sure you have the time to invest in filing the event.

7. Consider an offer. I haven't done this before, but now I am really excited about the prize of a night with Oprah! I am going to make it a really cool celebration, and do have great tickets. Someone mentioned to me that they thought I get more interest if I offered two tickets and for them NOT to come with me, but bugger it, I want to see Oprah and am going to make sure that the winner is totally indulged and doesn't have to think about anything for the night! Because someone at my webinar wins a seat to my workshop, they are also in with a chance to win, and really, the odds are pretty good! ( I am not planning on having any more than 20 at my event).

8. Look at a professional/public hybrid. Amy Scott I think has this sorted. She is an amazing speaker and trainer on effective communication through 'dotting' and has a brilliant following in corporate land. She also host public workshops, where lucky people like you and me can front up, but (and here's the really smart thing) she offers tables to her corporate clients who may just have a few new people they would like to attend.

9. Make sure you have your systems sorted. Fiona Hall is a systems guru, and I love that she has recently hosted a workshop, and now has put together an offering to help you create a successful and seamless workshop. There's nothing tackier than the venue door being locked at arrival, being in a noisy or interrupted location, or hiccups with purchasing tickets. On a side note, Fiona has been a trainer for years, personally I think anyone who has been a teacher is SO well suited to presenting; if you can wrestle a class of children, adults are a cinch. 

I would love you to attend my upcoming webinar or workshop (and would love to shout you my Oprah experience!)

I last hosted a public workshop around 18 months ago. They were intimate events (only six people at a time) and lots of fun (there are a group of us from the first workshop who still meet up regularly because the bonds formed over the weekend were so strong). Since then, I have been focusing on my one on one offerings and more recently speaking and workshops.

I made the decision to host my Illuminate Workshop, because I am so excited about the opportunities that people have as an employee, expert, entrepreneur or enabler, and I don't think people realise just what cool options they have. This workshop is a great way for people who are stuck to get some real clarity on their purpose. The only other way I offer this is via my one on one coaching, which is at a much higher price point. The simple truth is (and some of you I know think that I share too much, but that is the risk I am prepared to take) that I have some cool people registered, but would like more, so I have taken the price down to $347 plus GST and am including my Oprah offer (which even applies if you simply attend my free webinar) which you can find out more about on my website.

If you or someone who is tolerating a role that doesn't light them up, then I know that these days will provide some much needed clarity around what to do about it. Here is the link; I am holding one on Thursday 20 August and one on Friday 16 October. They will be from 9am to 5:30pm and at Spencer on Byron at Takapuna Beach. I am SOO excited because it is going to be a spectacular day, supporting people to get some real clarity on not only what they love/are good at, but how they can make a decent living, sharing that with the world somehow. I thought it was amazing value for $495 plus GST - but have now reduced the price to $347 plus GST.

And I am happy to share with you how I am progressing with this in the next two weeks, because I think my learnings can be your learnings too! In the meantime I would really appreciate you simply sharing the webinar and/or workshop link with your network (see there, is me stepping up and asking for support!).

And  while we are talking about events, my table at Sally Anderson's one day empowerment workshop is filling up. This is going to be a seriously cool day, and a great way to see Sal in action, over and above attending one of her advances. I think the 60 minutes documentary on her story this week said it all; her gifts are astounding. $275 plus GST for a place at my table, please let me know if you are keen to join me, here are the details for Auckland on Sept 4th, and here are the details for Sydney. 

PS Here is the link to my interview with Paul Henry on Tuesday, it was lots of fun, and I think a bit lighter than normal, because it was his birthday! 

Posted on August 6, 2015 .