Are you looking for ways to get more life coaching clients and increase your sales?
Hosting your own workshops is a great way to generate new business and attract potential customers at the same time!
But the key to successful workshops is this:
The more you engage your workshop attendees, the more they will pay attention, and the better the results you’ll have at the end of the day!
Today I’m sharing 10 strategies that will help you increase engagement during workshops, provide more value to attendees, and generate more leads for your life coaching business.
If you’re ready to take your life coaching business to the next level, let’s get started!
What Makes a Good (Virtual) Workshop?
In its most basic form, a workshop is an event where you lead people through a structured class/training environment.
There are 3 common formats:
1. In-Person Workshops (high engagement rate):
You get to connect and interact with people face-to-face, which makes it easier to engage. However, there are usually more costs involved (booking a space, providing snacks, etc.).
2. Remote/Virtual workshops (one of the most accessible formats):
This format is convenient and accessible, allowing anyone from around the globe to participate. There’s also less overhead than traditional in-person workshops (you can use online spaces like Zoom, Google Meets, Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans, Slack, etc.).
3. Hybrid Workshops (not as popular, but still a powerful tool/option):
This combines in-person settings and online spaces. Normally, hosts will have attendees in-person, but also have cameras up for virtual participation. Additionally, this could involve a mixture of in-person and online events over the course of several days.
While there are plenty of other ways to attract clients, the most effective, generous, and giving way to attract clients is by teaching them through a workshop.
That’s why I say hosting your own workshop is the fastest path to a thriving, successful coaching business.
This is especially true of virtual workshops!
But the challenge of leading a good, virtual workshop is all about engagement.
In-person meetings tend to be more engaging than virtual meetings simply because there is less potential for distractions. But when people are sitting at a computer, you’ll compete against their phone, other conversations happening around them, open tabs, notifications, online messaging, etc.
It’s also more challenging to create and change the energy in a virtual setting since it’s not as obvious that people are in a group.
With that said, you’ll need a high degree of skill to hold people’s attention and engage them in an online format versus in-person.
But the greater you can engage people in your workshops, the greater results you’ll experience.
The results of a good workshop look like this:
Your audience is inspired by their dream, you’ve demonstrated the competency with your content, and perfect-fit clients feel compelled to say, “Hey, how can I work further with you?”
From there, you can offer them a free strategy session or a free discovery session.
How well you do in that workshop directly relates to the number of clients who say yes to you.
So let’s start talking about how you can accomplish that.
How Do You Keep the Audience Engaged During Training?
Engagement isn’t about luck, it’s about planning.
You should spend the majority of your preparation time anticipating how your audience will feel at strategic points of your workshop. These planned points of interaction are called your “engagement pieces”.
Practice them ahead of time so you don’t have to make them on the spot. And when you plan for engagement, you’ll see your own results go to a whole new level.
Further along we’re going to get into how you can plan and design these pieces throughout your workshop.
So let’s start there and move on to the 10 ways you can create more engagement during your workshops!
#1 Plan Engagement Pieces Ahead of Time for your Workshop
The foundational step is to plan and prepare when and how you’re going to engage your audience.
To hold a successful workshop, especially a virtual event, you have to command your audience’s attention.
The best way to do that is by creating a sense of connection and changing up how you interact with your audience.
For example, I presented a coaching training offer at DreamBuilder LIVE Virtual recently and achieved record-breaking results. As I was sharing the program and the invitation, one of our head coaches noticed something interesting.
They ended up counting the number of times I actively engaged the audience during that 50-minute presentation:
I engaged the audience 28 times.
Now this isn’t a hard-set rule where I pat you on the back and say, “Go forth and plan 28 engagement pieces for a 50-minute workshop!”
The idea is to create opportunities for engagement with your workshop participants that are natural and compelling, not intrusive or forced.
#2 – Start with “Housekeeping” to Encourage Workshop Student Engagement
I encourage you to start your workshop off with a “housekeeping” stage where you explain the benefits of being an engaged learner.
For example, a successful workshop would start off with something like this:
“Welcome, everyone. It’s great to have you here! What I would love to do is pour into you and bring you as much value as possible. I do a lot of these workshops, and I can tell you the kind of engagement that creates the biggest results!
If you came here to create some great results for yourself, then I encourage you to make sure that you are on camera. Close the door, bring your full focus, have your notepad next to you, and eliminate distractions.
And at the very minimum, have yourself on camera because we’re going to be doing some activities and some exercises together! And when you’re on camera, that will create the greatest value for you. I’ll be able to see you, you’ll be able to see me, and we’ll be able to interact with one another!”
In addition to creating a safe space for people to interact with you, setting up the invitation in this way will naturally create higher engagement during your workshops.
#3 – Notice Your Pacing and Energy
Enthusiasm and energy are essential, but they have to come in doses.
Coming in strong is often too potent and actually turns people off from the message.
Pacing your energy will help your workshop feel like more of a “safe space” for your audience to interact and engage in.
You’ve all met people who just came out of the gate too “on fire” and you’re like, “I’m not even with you yet.”
On the flipside, if you’re low energy and just not feeling it, you’re going to put people right to sleep.
Pacing is about meeting your audience where they’re at and bringing them to the energy level you’d love.
Instead, match the pacing of where your people are, go a little bit above them, then turn up the enthusiasm! You’ll draw them right along with you.
For example, we like to do “Energizers” at the start of our events. Basically, we invite everyone to stand up and dance to some upbeat music with us.
But what if I came out in the very first Energizer and yelled at the top of my lungs, “Hey, let’s energize it out! All right, everybody, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!!!”
Most of you would probably be taken back and less likely to engage.
Versus, me coming out and saying, “Welcome everyone to DreamBuilder Live. I’m so glad you’re here…My name is X, here’s my role, and we’re going to do something called Energizers.”
In short: meet them where they are and then guide the energy from there.
#4 – Use First Names to Acknowledge Participants
Calling your workshop participants by name gets their attention because people want to be seen.
“Is it really that simple, Mat?”
In a word – YES!
There’s something powerful and intimate that happens when you call people out and acknowledge them.
I remember one person that went to a virtual DreamBuilder LIVE for the first time and at the very end, Mary Morrissey was going through the crowd saying, “I see you, I see you.” Eventually, Mary got to her and said, “I see you Ann.”
Immediately, Ann felt like “Oh my God, Mary saw me!”
That was a powerful moment for her with its own personal meaning.
You can up the ante by calling people by name and mentioning something that’s going on with them.
For example, “Hey, Barbara. I love that pink on you. That looks phenomenal!”
Or, “Nicholas, great moves in that energizer!”
And because people in an online format don’t know when they’re going to get called out – BOOM – they snap to attention and start looking and engaging with the rest of the group.
#5 – Tie Stories Back to Your Audience
In the beginning of a story that you’re going to tell, invite the participants to put themselves in the main character’s shoes. You see, the stories themselves are “level one” effective. To up level the engagement, tie your stories back to the audience.
Start with, “Put yourself inside the main character, step right inside this story and see how you would act – what you would do in these moments.” And then you tell the story.
For example, one of my most effective, signature stories has two major tiebacks.
One is where I’m getting told by the college recruiter that I’m a dime in a dozen, that I’m nothing special.
At that point, I would ask my audience, “How many of you have ever heard that from somebody in your life? That you’re nothing special. You don’t have what it takes. How many of you have ever heard from your paradigm that you don’t have what it takes?” And I tie it back to them.
The second time I tie it back to the audience is when I get to the point I want to drive home.
In this case, my whole talk is about claiming your spot.
So, I talk about how claiming your spot is about having a burning desire:
“When your desire goes from a want to a must and how I had a burning desire to get on the field and play football because my brothers were visiting.”
And then I would use this engagement piece to tie the loop, “What would it take for you or your desire to go from a want to a must? What would it take? What would be required?
Connect the Story By “Identifying” with your Audience
Another way to make your stories more engaging is by “identifying” your audience with relatable, simple phrases like:
“Maybe you’re a person who…”
Or, “Perhaps you’re there now or had a similar experience…”
It gives your workshop participants a sense of “permission” that it’s okay for them to feel stuck or afraid.
That attending your workshop and relating to your story as someone “imperfect” is perfectly okay.
In turn, they’ll be more receptive and open to engage.
#6 – Find New Ways to Ask Questions
Asking questions is an easy way to create more engagement during workshops, especially in virtual meetings where people can type in their answers.
It can be as easy as asking “If…?”
Ex: IF you resonate with this, raise your hand…
You could even redirect attention during an activity by saying something along the lines of:
“IF you’re done journaling right now – if you follow what I’m saying right now – raise your hand.”
This will bring people right back. It commands active listening.
During a virtual workshop where there are more distractions, you can re-engage your audience by physically changing what they’re doing.
For example, while they’re writing notes, you can ask them to get ready to chat a response to a question you’re about to ask.
What you’re doing is setting a “pattern interrupt” that brings them back into active learning.
Any time you ask the audience a question, it draws the learning experience back to them.
This is one of the easiest and highest value strategies to create more engagement during workshops.
I encourage you to empower people to share their thoughts, ideas, and answers with you.
Ask them relatable, thought-provoking questions like:
How long has it been this way for you?
How long has this situation been going on?
What would you love?
If you could be working from anywhere in the world, where would you love to work from? Where would you be?
If you could travel anywhere, where would you love to travel?
Then ask them to go ahead and chat their answers in.
It can be that easy.
#7 – Speak to “One Person”
The more you can speak to one person, look them in the eye, and speak to that one person, the better.
It builds instant connection, makes the workshop personable, and encourages engagement.
But remember to eventually lead them back to the group.
For example, it can be easy to lose the fact that there are 50 other people in a virtual workshop.
So, when you get to your offer, they might think the offer is just for them.
To make your offer more enticing in an online format, you could say, “All of us here tuned in from around the world, this is amazing. I want you to know you’re joined by so many people…We’ve got over 300 of you in this room right now and we only have spots for 30.”
There are strategic times you can say the number of people, but the vast majority of time that you’re training it should feel like it’s just you and them.
#8 – Ask for Reactions
This strategy takes advantage of online tools that you can get super creative with!
For example, if you’re doing a multiple day event and you have people enrolling, you can say, “Hey, if you just enrolled in this program or if you’re already in this program, put a heart up!”
There’s your social proof.
People will look at those reactions and think, “Wow, look at all the people in your programs.”
In the same way, it builds connection and relatability with others.
You could ask, “If you’ve ever accomplished something that you didn’t know how you were going to achieve it – but you still achieved it – go to your reactions right now and give me a thumbs up. Click that little thumbs up button.”
These intentional points of engagement open people up, redirect attention, and make them feel like a part of the group.
#9 – Use Props
Props help people engage with the learning process. The best ones are readily available and easy to use like paper.
You could even prepare a PDF handout or workbook in advance for them to work in.
For convenience, you can use paper for just about anything. As an example, you can ask your audience to write down their paradigms and then rip it up at the end of the session.
Another engagement “prop” you can use is to simply ask each person to, “Find someone on the screen, call them by name and say, ‘There is greatness in you!’
#10 – Mirror and Invite Them into Action
A fun and straight-forward way to create more engagement during your workshops is by instructing people to perform some kind of action.
If you’ve attended any of our events, you may have joined us in “flying around the room”, waving, or celebrating!
Another action we invite people to do is: “If you are willing to stay on the green edge of growth during this presentation for the greatest benefit of your life, I invite you right now to touch your heart and say yes.”
But when you’re giving instruction, it can be easy to sound forceful. To avoid this, lead by example.
If you’re going to ask them to put their hand up, you do it first. A good rule of thumb is to always lead with the body and then ask the question.
By going first, you are encouraging your audience to follow.
Before you invite people to engage, prep these two things:
The word “If” and the phrase “I invite you to.”
It’s easy to come across as directive and a little bit “bossy” when you’re giving engagement instructions. But you can soften it by adding the words, “I invite you to.”
Ex: “If you’re feeling alive, then I invite you to put your arm up in the air and say, ‘Today is my day!'”
“If you’re willing, I invite you to close your eyes and let’s imagine this…”
“If you’re fully in, then go ahead, then I invite you to go ahead and touch your heart and say, ‘I am in.'”
As your workshop goes on and you build more rapport with them, then you can eventually drop the invitation: “If you’re feeling this, say ___!”
Workshops: A Fast Track to Growing Your Coaching Business
There’s more than one right way to grow a coaching business, but you can’t do all the ways.
You got to pick one and demonstrate. Where a lot of coaches fall off is they say, “I’m going to do this way this week.” And they try something else next week, and they try something else next week, and then they never really get grounded or rooted in any one way.
They don’t have enough traction.
So, trust the process, follow what you’ve got, generate results in that and then expand out to other things.
Consider these 10 strategies, and remember that engagement requires planning, timing, and connection. When you get those things in check, you’ll notice how easy it is to generate more leads than ever before!
Our own graduates are living proof that our high-engagement “vision workshops” deliver results:
“I have a total of 28 attendees. 8 scheduled strategy sessions. 8 more follow up strategy session reminders! I truly, deeply feel enthusiastic to be living my highest soul mission, owning my divinity, & being in true service for humanity! The better it gets the better it gets!” – Chessa del Rosario, Life Mastery Consultant
“Did my first 2 workshops in December. Started my first 2 clients on 12/23. I am now at 10 clients and have reached the 5 figure mark in my first 60 days! This stuff really works – if a girl takes action that is. If I can do it, you can do it” – Michell Fournier, DreamBuilder Coach
We would love to help you create similar results!
If you’d love to learn more surefire ways to generate leads, I invite you to download our free e-book “How to Enroll 10 New Clients in Less Than 90 Days“.
– An insider’s guide to client attraction and enrollment…
– Proven networking and promotion strategies…
– And a step-by-step process on how to conduct heart-centered sales and stay true to your sacred calling.
– The key to highly engaging, high-impact workshops and other marketing strategies!
So, if you’re ready to take your coaching business to the next level, make the decision today to go all in and download your e-book today!
To your passion and growth,