Creating a Virtual Workshop From Scratch

Creating a Virtual Workshop From Scratch

The way that I've been working with startups has changed quite a bit during the pandemic. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to bridge the gap between the work I was doing before covid to what I want to be doing now, in this new reality.

In the next couple of weeks, I'll be launching a virtual workshop called What's your story?

While I'm excited to share the content, I'm extra excited about the opportunity this creates for me to work with more founders and startups — everywhere and anywhere.

Since I just went through the process of building this workshop from scratch, I figured I’d share the play-by-play.

What do I want to teach? Pick a topic.

To begin, I started at the end.

I knew that I wanted to create something tangible during my time with these startups. I wanted people to leave with something they could use to improve their brand or business over and over and over again. I wanted to teach them a skill that could help them solve a different problem in the future. I wanted to provide the most value as possible, as quickly as possible.

I've worked with all kinds of tech companies to improve their marketing, sales, product, and operations and I almost always hear things like...

"I need a better pitch deck. Investors just don’t get it."
"Our sales proposal sucks. How can we make this better?"
"We’re having a hard time hiring. What are we doing wrong?"
"Our referral program isn't working. Any ideas on how to fix it?”

What's the common denominator here? What the one thing that can help solve all of these problems?

A good story.

Stories are currency. They provide so much value. We use stories to make sense of our world, share that understanding, and work collectively. They foster connection, empathy, and understanding between people.

Stories bridge gaps. They get us from A to B — together.

My goal with this workshop is to help startups create stories that bridge the gap between where they are today and where they want to be tomorrow. It could be…

The gap between product and customer.
The gap between manager and team.
The gap between founder and investor.
The gap between HR and potential employee.

To make a business work, you need to bridge gaps. And the gaps are everywhere. I like to bridge them with stories.

Who do I want to teach it to? Choose an audience.

This one was easy. Teach what you know. I know startups. I work best with startup founders and their teams — they're my people.

How am I going to do this? I needed a new set of tools.

Everyone is comfortable using Zoom, so that will be the video conferencing tool.

I love moving shit around a page or board…because there is no right order to things. Forget what you think you know about beginning, middle, and end. Start in the middle if you want. In fact, your best shit is probably buried in the middle somewhere!

I’m used to whiteboarding with teams, and I don’t want to lose that just because we’re not together, so I researched visual collaboration tools. I did the usual — asked friends, read reviews, looked at the G2 chart.

The two big competitors out there are Mural (which I have used before) and Miro (which I haven’t). There isn’t a huge difference between the two.

I'm an art nerd. I like Joan Miro, so I picked Miro.

Names matter, people! Know your customers! 🤣

And yes, they have a free plan (:

Note: You most definitely want to think about your audience when selecting these tools. Since I work with tech companies, most of my participants are tech-savvy. That might not be the case for your audience.

Now that I had that out of the way, I could start on content.

Create a workshop outline.

My book editors have made sure that I understand the benefits of a good outline. I used to think I could skip this part. I’d build things as I went. Not anymore.

Creating an outline provides lets me see how my ideas relate to each other. I can see how the pieces fit together before I start to do the actual work. I can't tell you how many times I've designed or written something and then thrown it away because it didn't fit the narrative after all.

Historically, I wasn't putting enough thought into things upfront. Create an outline first and it will save you time later.

I also end up generating a lot of new ideas while building the outline.

I fleshed out the idea for the workshop in Notion. The thought process went like this.

  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Decide what needs to be said.
  • Organize ideas into frames / slides / sections
  • Create the overall workshop structure
  • Fill in the gaps

Once that was done, I needed some visual assistance.

Create rough slides.

I'm a visual person. At this stage, I need to be able to see something, with some actual design elements, on the screen in front of me. I created the slides in Canva, since it's where I design stuff, and I used Flaticon and Undraw to grab free icons and illustrations.

Build the workshop in Miro.

It was time to start moving all of the elements I'd created into Miro. This is where I am in the process right now.

Since Miro is new to me as a teacher, I'm spending more time than usual transferring my work over. In fact, as I'm typing this, I'm asking myself, “Could I be using Notion as a presentation / collaboration tool?”

I might explore this a bit. I'll keep you posted as I wrap the project at the end of this week.

Create worksheets.

Some people generate ideas better by putting pen to paper. Knowing this, I'm going to create a worksheet to accompany each teaching, breakout, and brainstorming section of the workshop. Participants can print them out and to jot down notes and generate ideas during the session. Yes, I'll be building these in Canva.

Write the script.

And finally, write all of the words.

Even if I don't follow the script — I most likely won't — I do like to have exactly what I want to say in front of me during a workshop. A script helps me not forget, because we will be asking questions, brainstorming, and going off on tangents.

The script is what I can fall back on to hit reset and get us back on track.

And finally, before I go live live, I need to test it!

Are you a female founder? Would you like some help writing a story? If so, I have an offer.

If you're willing to tolerate some technical glitches, I'll run you and your team through the half-day workshop for free. I have time set aside to do this with three teams.

If you're interested, pop on over to my website and fill out the form. I promise it'll be fun and you'll walk away with something that you can use to help your business.

If you have any questions, hit me up!

Until next time ✌️