Designing your first NLP workshop

Workshop design

NLP (mini) workshops are a great way of getting the name of your coaching company out there and finding potential clients. The thought of designing your own workshop can be pretty daunting while it’s actually quite simple if you take a step by step approach and make use of the NLP techniques you have already learned.

1.  Audience:  First you’ll need to decide on the audience you want to reach with your workshop. Having a specific group in mind is hugely important as it will form the basis for all the following steps. Remember your promoting your coaching company to this audience so choose a group that would be the most beneficial to you.

2.  Subject:  Next you’ll need to decide on the topic of your workshop, keep it simple for your first time presentation and choose a subject you feel comfortable with that will also generate interest within your target group. As with most things you will do, passion is a huge motivator; the more passion you have for your subject matter the easier it will be for you to design and present your workshop.

3.  Message:  Ask  yourself what message/insight/information specifically do you want your audience to walk away with at the end of your workshop. Is it your intention to give people a general idea of what NLP is and how they can use it in everyday life? Or are you looking to give them a specific resource, empowerment for example?  Whatever your answer this will form the basis for you to build on using the NLP methods and techniques you learned during your training to achieve your goal.

4.  Duration:  How long do you need to get your message across without struggling to fill the time or running the risk of it becoming tedious and a long sit? For your first workshop I’d suggest something between an hour and half to two hours, long enough to give a taste of your abilities without becoming overwhelmed with the work ahead.

5.  Content:  So now you should be ready to get down to the nitty gritty and produce the actual content of your workshop. Ideally this will contain 3 separate stages that flow seamlessly into one coherent presentation.

  • Introduction: You don’t want to make this section too long. People want to know who you are and what you’re about but Workshop designthey came for a specific reason; the topic of your workshop and they will probably be eager to get started with that.
  • Main content: This will make up the main portion of your workshop. Keep it structured, with easy to follow steps that build toward a logical conclusion. Also keep it lively, sitting and listening to anyone talk for an hour and half with no further interaction is a big ask. Remember that as an NLP coach you have also learned to be a story teller, make use of all modalities (4-tuple!) and don’t forget the Milton model.
  • Conclusion: This is the last chance you have to leave a lasting impression. Sum up what you have taught and where possible give advice as to how they can put it to immediate use in their daily life. It’s also the ideal moment to mention the follow up possibilities your company has to offer.

6.  Visual aids:  Now you have a pretty good idea about the structure of your workshop go through it again and see where you can make use of visual aids, such as flip boards or a PowerPoint presentation. Used sparingly they can make your workshop more dynamic and help you stay on track during the presentation, just keep in mind that every time you divert your attention to these aids and/or turn away from your audience you run a big risk of breaking rapport, so sparingly really is the operative word here.

7.  Practice:  At this point you should have at least started to own your workshop. Running through it with someone who doesn’t know the subject matter may help you to find your blind spots. Practice is great however trying to learn it word for word will make your presentation feel artificial and flat, something you absolutely want to avoid. If you slip up or get off track during your presentation don’t hesitate to address this, ignoring the elephant in the room is more likely to make you look incompetent than addressing it with humour.

 8.  Promote:  Time to get out there and promote your workshop. How you go about this will depend on the audience you are aiming for.  This could be anything from online marketing, cold calling companies who may be interested in your product, to hanging posters at your local community centre. Keep it simple and precise; what are you offering, where and when.

9.  Presenting:  You’ve done all your preparation and it’s time to present your work. You’re confidence and passion are the main things that will get you through this stage. Make use of your circle of excellence and all the other resources  you acquired during your NLP training to help you through and don’t forget to enjoy the satisfaction that sharing your knowledge with an eager audience can bring!

10.  Feedback and follow up:  Placing your business cards, brochures or other documentation pertaining to your company in a strategic place during your workshop is a great way of letting people know how to find you for future reference. Making use of feedback forms will help you learn your strengths and the possible areas for improvement to put to use when designing your next workshop. If your workshop was presented in a corporate environment it’s a good idea to make a follow up call a week later, your interest in the possible effects of your workshop and for the company itself will help them to keep you in mind when considering a NLP workshop in the future.