A great idea: the beginning of the one-hour Keep-it-Simple workshop

How many times have you been to a workshop and staggered away, burdened with information overload? However, by the time we become presenters, many of us forget this experience and try to pack everything we know into an hour.

Packaging is the perfect analogy here. Think about your last vacation. Did you really use everything you packed, or packed for every possible contingency, only to return home with most of the unused items? There is a lesson in simplicity there.

Don’t confuse your audience. Find a great idea, or general concept, for your one-hour workshop. Every concept you cover relates to that big topic, and as the hour progresses, you’ll want to make sure you make connections for the audience.

The only great idea is something you want the audience to go with that will increase their knowledge, enrich their lives, and leave them wanting more. Some examples of great ideas include:

Every financially successful person follows three rules: spend less than you earn; pay yourself first; make your money work for you.

If you have a newsletter or blog, you have everything you need to write your first e-book.

Planning for the rest of your life begins with creating your personal vision.

Each of these ideas shapes the rest of the program. In curriculum design, we call the process of choosing that big idea that defines the purpose of the program. This statement of purpose is then used to generate objectives or statements of what the participant will learn. For your one-hour workshop, the objectives are your concepts.

You can facilitate the design process by using two of the basic questions to design objectives to help you think about your concepts and how you will present them:

Who is the actor? This means, who is your audience? Who needs to be able to do or understand something at the end of the hour?

What is the behavior to address? What do you want someone to be able to do differently or think differently at the end of this hour?

Find the simplest answer, stick with it, and leave your audience asking for more.

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