ever been to a ‘gross’ workshop – share your story!

How do we run workshops that sustain us financially – without selling out soul?

That’s a question that’s been on my mind a lot lately.

So, I’ve been in the seminar industry since I was in high school.

It started out with working for a franchise of Anthony Robbins and Associates, then leading workshops across Alberta for high school students and eventually into the marketing work.

And I’ve noticed a trend in the workshop industry that feels kind of ‘gross’.

I’m curious if you’ve experienced the same thing . . . but I hear this a lot.

There’s the evening intro – which ends up just being a pitch for a higher level weekend or coaching program. And, it’s not that I take issue with them having more they offer – but there’s something about the way it’s pitched and offered at the end that feels off.

The three big critiques I keep hearing of the workshop industry:

1) They Are Over Hyped: These intros are sometimes sold as ‘the complete solution’ when they’re just a teaser. So people feel ‘tricked’ and mislead.

2) Contrived Facilitation Style: The facilitation style is very, in my experience, contrived. “Raise your hand if you want to make more money!” They’re not actually curious – they just want to get your responding and compliant.

3) Huge, High Pressure Pitch at the End: You know the one. The ‘only 27 seats left in our upcoming workshop where you’ll learn the REAL secrets! Run to the back of the room and sign up now and we’ll slash the price 3 times with different coloured markers.’

Here’s what i want to invite from you:

Can you share a story of a workshop you attended that felt gross? Let’s leave out names (we’re here to learn not bash).


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About Tad

112 Responses to “ever been to a ‘gross’ workshop – share your story!”

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  6. CONNIE – your openness to learning and humility inspires me so much.

  7. Vrinda says:

    Wow, smokin discussion Tad! You’re a maverick and leader in the marketing world. I’ll just add a short note here.

    The most important thing for a workshop to feel great is to deliver on the original event promise, as marketed. Then people get what they came for and trust grows. From that place of true delivery, it’s then possible sell with authenticity and power the next step that clients need.

    Give them a choice to keep growing with you, the mentor. My motto is, underpromise and overdeliver and you have happy clients who get even more value than they signed up for.

  8. VRINDA – you’re so kind. and yes. i love what you’re saying. people don’t mind being offered a next step if the first step was really great. a good point.

  9. Laurentina says:

    Hyping it…
    Hyping it…
    Hyping it…

    I once listened to a teleseminar that had so much hype at the beginning, I checked the timer and it actually took 18 minutes until the first solid point was made!

    He started off with numbered lists. “8 reasons why what I’m about to say is so important…” “7 reasons why it took me so long to realise it…” “6 reasons why you’re probably not doing it now…” “But first, let me tell you a little about myself.”

    I was sitting anxiously with my notebook and pen, but eventually put them down and started sweeping my floor. I needed to take advantage of that time when I wasn’t learning anything.

    When he did get to the point, there was some useful information. But then life happened and I got interrupted, I had to leave halfway through the teleseminar. I left the recording open on my computer for a week. In the end, though, I never listened to the rest of it. I couldn’t stand his slow and hypey speaking style, I was too annoyed with how much of my time he had wasted, and I couldn’t trust whether it would be worth listening to the rest of his information, or whether everything he said was going to be laden with more hype and delays.

  10. thanks so much for your words. hrmm. i think so much of it comes down to knowing who our crowd is. chances are if they’re on a call about a topic – they already know it’s important. they don’t need to hear 8 reasons. and it’s always such a balancing act – how much context to provide? what context? and, maybe most importantly, what did you promise to cover on the call? because to promise really actionable stuff and not really get to it is not cool. thanks for lifting this all up.

  11. Brandy B says:

    Mine is the “YES or YES” when a question is asked. Nothing like giving your audience choice. Also the shock and owe, with bad volume control of presenter/ motivators/ facilitator voices. Makes my ears and my head hurt so much that I process little in the interaction.

  12. What feel gross to me is (not just in workshops) :
    – Being specially selected for a ‘free tuition’ when it’s free for everyone
    – I’ve also paid high money for a online weekend workshop and the whole time there was technical issues. i was left hanging in a room by myself not being able to ‘practice’ because there were ‘technical’ issues and just bad organization. There is only so much you can blame on technology. We barely got any information and there was no satisfaction or money back guarantee…
    – i’ve also worked with a coach that pressured me so much into signing up that the whole time i could not feel good working with her and wasn’t even sure what I was suppose to say or do or work on. I appreciate a plan or direction.