Workshops are the new speeches – why you should make your next speech interactive

Are you nervous about making a speech but you’d happily run a workshop? Well, the two are closer than you might think.

I recently delivered a workshop on behalf of Hearst Live – think the events arm of Hearst Publishing, which owns Harper’s Bazaar, Red, Esquire, Elle and a host of other household name magazine brands.Sold out pic

While I was preparing my content, two sources from within Hearst informed me that, among their audience of career women, workshops are increasingly more popular than talks.

And just recently, CareerCake, an online careers and education service, asked me to spend a day at their studios in Bristol, creating an online training course on how to be a more engaging public speaker.

What does this all mean? It means that the old style public speakers who have little or no interaction with their audiences are on the way out!

These days, audiences, especially millennials, want to get involved. They don’t want to hear a story about someone’s life unless it’s relevant to them. They want to be active and participate in the talk, whether that means answering questions with hands up, sharing in pairs and small groups or even taking part in on-stage demonstrations.

Movement and activity promote learning, and if you’re the kind of speaker who wants to inform or educate an audience, you’d better involve some engagement exercises too!

So if you’d happily run a workshop but you run a mile whenever the word ‘speech’ gets a mention, it’s time for a rethink.

Many of the skills you use to run your workshops can be transferred over to making a speech.

Here are some of the benefits of workshops over speeches

  1. By their nature, workshops are interactive and hence very engaging
  2. Your audience are active participants, which takes the focus off you
  3. You won’t need to speak for as many minutes compared to a conventional speech of the same duration
  4. A workshop allows you to demonstrate your expertise. This means your audience can see you in action. The result: a few individuals might well engage your services
  5. In a workshop you’re less likely to go off track and make it all about you
  6. Workshops typically encourage information transfer and some form of application of that knowledge. So your message and teachings are far more likely to stick.
  7. Worksheets or slides are expected which means less pressure on you to have to memorise your content
  8. Workshops are great for introverts (like me!) and those who don’t enjoy too much attention, because there’s less focus on being entertaining and more on being of service.
  9. Provided it’s the right material and delivered in an engaging way, there’s less need for you to be an accomplished speaker. Choose the right exercises, be authentic and away you go!

Next time you hear of an opportunity to make a speech, ask the organisers if you can run a short, pared-down workshop instead.

And even when you’re asked to speak/run your workshop for free, provided the audience is right for your product or service, it can still be a fantastic opportunity.

At a recent workshop, out of 35 attendees I managed to capture 31 email addresses and of those, 16 indicated they wanted a strategy session with me. Within a couple of days of the workshop I was approached by participants about 2 different corporate training opportunities and asked if I would teach on a mastermind.

Not bad from a hour long workshop where the audience did most of the talking.

Even when you can’t promote your service during the workshop, there’s a lot you can do to encourage the participants to stay in touch with you.

A few suggestions:

  • Early on, tell them you’ll email out a summary of the content so they won’t need to take notes
  • Prepare another lead magnet you can send that’s related to the content you’ve just taught them – not everyone will want your summary sheet
  • And when you discuss your business, make it a seamless part of the workshop rather than a clunky, tacked on piece that you rush through at the end because you’re too embarrassed to promote yourself properly
  • If they’re not your target market, but they have access to those you’d like to work with, you could offer some kind of low-key referral bonus like a juicy tip sheet if they connect you with a potential lead.

So let’s coin a new phrase…say hello to the ‘speech shop’ or even, the ‘work speech’. Or perhaps we should simply call it an interactive speech.

Whatever we name it, if you’ve been hiding from conventional public speaking but love running workshops, it’s time to step forward, approach some event organisers and share what you know!

Want to find out more about how you can monetise your expertise, build your list and get your name out there at the same time using workshops and public speaking? Contact me for a strategy session.

Happy speaking!

2017-12-20T20:29:40+00:00

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