Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Psychology of Workshop Marketing

The shape and timing of a workshop can be as important as its content. We experimented with two-hour briefings a few years ago. Our reasoning was that with tight schedules, people would appreciate the chance to get some quick and substantive management advice in a mere two hours.

It didn't work.

What we discovered was that managers and employees would rather block out a half-day or a full-day for a class, but two hours created complications. Would they be expected to return to work if the class was from 1 to 3 in the afternoon? They preferred not having to deal with that question. There was also, of course, the hidden question of whether enough substance could be conveyed in a mere two hours. [Little did many of them know how much meat we pack into our classes!]

As a result, we've gone back to half or full days.

Right now, we are experimenting with two open enrollment Harassment Prevention workshops in the Phoenix area for July. Each session is three and 1/2 hours and is priced to please the tightest budget. We know that many employers offer that subject on an in-house basis and yet employees come and go and there's always someone who could use the training. With that in mind, we decided to offer the open enrollments.

Will the format, price, and timing work? We have no idea. Most of our training is done on an in-house basis and this particular subject has been a great success in that arena. When you are dealing with a subject as sensitive as harassment, nothing beats getting people into a room with an experienced trainer and discussing how to handle specific case examples. On the other hand, on-line training is no substutute for an instructor who can pick up the vibrations and in-person sessions that drag on and on are counter-productive.

You want the attendees to leave with knowledge of the danger zones and the confidence that if certain steps are taken, major problems can be avoided. You don't want them to leave scared or cynical. The half-day sessions neatly meet those criteria. The training has to be fast-paced. It must convey practical information that is easily understood and which can be put to immediate use.

I''l let you know how they go.*

[*For additional info, contact]

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