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Ten Easy Steps to Teaching a Course in the Community

By Edited Nov 24, 2016 0 0

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Make money sharing information with others in the community! So many people have skills and information to offer.   Consider the ten easy steps to setting up such a presentation or course to share information.  The steps do not necessarily need completing

Community Classroom
in the order given.  The steps to design the course, handouts, and time requirements happen at the front end of the process purposefully.  Doing these  first brings into focus specifications to consider in finding a location for the event.

Planning is the key to producing a quality course.  Put the time into organization at the start.  The process can then be easily duplicated for a repeat performance of the course or future topics.   Sometimes keeping track of the plethora of notes on such an event is cumbersome. A plain spiral notebook works as a vehicle for doing so.    A suggestion is to use Evernote note taking system.  Everything tracks for the user and is available with the push of a button on the computer or  smart phone. Plan ahead and keep track of all notes, regardless of the system used.

1.     Choose the topic for the class.  Hobbies make great sessions. Structure  the material for presentation. Use appropriate media such as PowerPoint and videos.

2.    Consider the need for a handout for participants.  Typically, participants expect a handout when paying for a course.  An alternative to printing is to get email addresses and send a handout in PDF form.  If that is the plan, it is helpful to have a note taking device at the course as a minimum.  The 'notes view' on PowerPoint serves this purpose.

3.    Determine the length of the course.  The most popular sessions  in the ‘fast course’ market typically are  anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours in length.

4.    Choose a date.   Sometimes it is helpful to offer a couple of options, like a repeat session during the working day, evening, or weekend hours.

5.    Determine a site.  This is tricky, but  lots of options are possible.  Check out restaurants that have a private meeting room.  These typically will be available at a much reduced cost compared to that of hotel space, but certainly hotel space is an option.  Restaurants usually will need a minimum dollar amount  to reserve the room.  Food establishments  specializing in breakfast and Mexican food tend to have the lowest costs. Go to the restaurant during the time of the day in which the event would be held as the location is considered.  Lighting and noise levels need examining in finding a good place.   Do not fear the cost. Add the meal cost to the registration price for participants.  They get a good meal and good content through the course!  Another option is to use library meeting rooms.  These are low-cost or no cost in most instances.

6.    Determine a price for the course.  Make a mini business plan. First figure fixed costs.   An Excel grid works just great for that.  Costs to include; printing and all costs for handout, advertising, registration costs, and  location fees. Determine a smallest number of participants for the event to materialize.  Always maintain the right to cancel should the least number of participants in the plan not be met. Divide that total cost by the least number of participants acceptable to hold the event.  That figure gives the gross cost of the event for the organizer.  Then, add in what the presenter/planner cost is for doing the event.  Divide that by the number of participants.  Add the two figures together to get a participant fee for registering for the event.

7.    Get an automated system through which participants register and pay for the course.  Do not let this step be a scary one.  Take it one step at a time. Inexpensive software is available for taking participant registrations.  A few to check our are;  regonline, eventvrite, acteva, suretomeet, eventsbot, and rsvpbook.  The good news is that these sites offer help in setting up a merchant account to take care of payment.  A merchant account handles  money going from the registrant’s credit card to the workshop promoter’s account.  A prmoter can set this up with a bank.  Using Pay Pal is an easier option.  A bank is a bit more difficult to find for someone without a track record.  Being able to accept credit cards is good for business. Customers appreciate the convenience.   The workshop developer gets money faster and does not have to worry about amounts due to them.  This type  system gives customer contact information for future marketing. There is a charge associated with the benefit of taking a credit card through a bank or PayPal.  Fees range anywhere from two to five percent.  A good, easy starting place  is PayPal. Registration is free. Instructions are clear about how to get started.

8.    Market the event. Posting to blogs in the area is a great idea.  A low-tech option is placing flyers on bulletin boards in coffee houses and community businesses. Networking works too.   Depending on the nature of the course, distribute information to schools or other entities. Put information on the event as a signature on every email sent out. The organizer can purchase  an email domain for the course.  This is relatively inexpensive and easy to do.  A myriad of places exist for purchasing a domain.  Choose a name for the event based on an email domain available.  Get the site hosted. Insert WordPress on that site.  In one page, describe the event and give registration information. Then, set up a Facebook and Twitter accounts pointing to the website. Taking all of this one step at a time is doable.  A quick search online provides exact information on each of these steps.  Take the time to set everything up correctly for this first course.  This makes for easy replication of the process later.

9.    Gather all material and be over-prepared.  Make a checklist.  Like Santa, check the list at least twice.  Go by the site before the event to make certain of the details.  Is there a wall right for projection of a PowerPoint or is a screen needed?  Where are the electrical plugs?  Will an extension cord be needed?  Does the business pipe in music?  If so, with whom would one need to speak to get it turned off during the presentation?   The ability to turn off that music exists at places with meeting rooms.

10.    Teach the course and get feedback from participants. A great, non intimidating way to do so is just to make a one-sheet handout. Divide the sheet  into three parts.  The first question asks what a participant best liked about the class. A second question asks what if anything  would improve the experience.  The last question references what other information would be helpful for the future.  That helps set up a reason for communicating with attendees again.  Today’s marketplace is all about contact lists.  Be certain of getting the contact information from participants.

Have fun with the planning.  Not only does it feel good to share information with others but can form a super income stream!
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