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Financial Advisors Learn to Incorporate Workshops

To get the results you want from your seminars I encourage Financial Advisors to incorporate three different types of programs into their seminar calendar:

  • Workshops
  • Events
  • Seminars

Each program creates a different atmosphere and can lead to very different results.  In today’s blog I’m going to share 4 tips to creating an effective WORKSHOP:

Workshops are educational style meetings designed to be facilitative. There can be three to 20 individuals in a casual setting, creating a classroom environment. This is a roll-up-your-sleeves, interactive event. The more interactive you make it; the more effective it will be in generating new accounts. Workshops tend to attract more serious investors, investors that don’t need the enticement of a good meal or new experience to attend. A good workshop can become a repeatable program, something you host on a regular basis. These become “feeder” events, great for those people who are just beginning a relationship with you.

Invitations for workshops tend to be less formal. Invites might even include “What you will learn:” sections, so the guests are more prepared to participate. You can send pre-work to the participants, a worksheet that asks questions, reading material or a checklist of items to bring with them. This pre-work reaffirms their commitment to attend, enhances your value and level of professionalism and better prepares the participant, which elevates the whole event.

Typically, workshops are not centered on a meal, but light refreshments can be provided. The participants are there to learn, not to be entertained. A conference room is highly appropriate for a workshop, creating a more classroom-like environment. As participants arrive, you can have them sign in and distribute worksheets or PowerPoint notes. I prefer worksheets designed to be filled out during the presentation, complimenting the topic at hand.

In a workshop, it is important to set the tone early on. You can do this by asking the participants what they hope to learn at the event. Be sure to write everything they say on a flip chart. Although you have an agenda for the evening, odds are many of the statements will fall in line with what you plan to present. It is very important that when the formal presentation is over, you bring the attention back to the flip chart and cross off each item that was addressed. If something wasn’t addressed, ask permission to talk to the participant one on one. This process helps to ensure your participants leave the workshop satisfied they received what they came for.

In order to host an effective workshop keep these 4 tips in mind:

  1. Quizzes and Games:  Providing quizzes and fun learning tools can help create a more open environment. Start off with games like “Investor Jeopardy,” ask investment trivia questions or even give a short quiz about the markets to help them realize what they need to learn.

 

  1. Name Tags:  Getting the participants to interact with each other is critical to creating a facilitative environment.  Name tags eliminates the discomfort and encourages interactions Be particularly conscious of how the room is set up and how you can encourage the participants to interact with each other.

 

  1. U-Shape:  I prefer to either set up my tables in a U-shape or place the chairs in a crescent formation. This allows all of the participants to see each other as they speak and encourages discussion.  The U-shape allows you, the presenter, to walk inside the U, creating a little more intimacy than if you stayed in front of the room. Often, I sit or lean on the end of the table, creating a less formal stance.

 

  1. Flip charts:  You can’t have too many flip charts.  Flip charts and white boards is an effective tool letting the participants know you are really listening and value their feedback. 

 Watch for my next blog as I will share the tips to hosting “Events” .

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