So you are getting ready to create a short, but focused 2-Day Intensive and want to make sure it goes well? Where do you start? How do you ensure success?Not only do you want it to be successful for YOU, but you want to make sure your clients and attendees get everything out of it that they were hoping. Who wants to let people down? You want to change peoples’ lives! So, what is the right formula for success? These things will help you determine what you need to do before, and after, your intensive to make sure everything goes as planned!
1. Figure Out Your Goals for the Intensive
What is your wish list? Where do you want to hold it? What is your budget?
In order to figure out how you’re going to set up your intensive to make sure it’s as successful as possible, make sure you have clear goals laid out for what you want everyone to accomplish. Are you going to hold the 2-Day intensive and send everyone on their way? Are you going to offer support for a specific amount of time after the session for people to talk to you and make sure they are on track to achieve success?
A big goal to determine is the budget. You need to know how much you are going to be charging and how much you are willing to spend on a venue for your intensive. Don't go looking for things outside of your price range, or you will end up spending more money than you bring in just to hold your 2-day intensive. Are you going to offer meals during the event or is everyone on their own? Are you providing transportation?
During the intensive, are you going to offer speakers to help drive different points home? Is it going to include a lot items that attendees will need to do a little pre-work for? Make sure you create a specific agenda before the event and send it out for people to become familiar with as soon as possible. Let them know beforehand when they are going to get breaks, how long their days are going to be and what they can specifically expect so they are prepared to get down to business when your intensive starts! Let them know what is going to be offered during the day, as well. Will there be drinks readily available and appetizers throughout the day? Are you bringing in lunch so they don't have to concern themselves with it? Make sure the agenda is specific enough so they know what they have to plan for on their own!
Also determine how big you want your intensives to be. With something as intimate and content-rich as intensives, it's always wise to limit your attendance. You want to make sure everyone is gaining the most out of the experience and the whole point of offering an intensive is to make sure that everyone is access to YOU and you are available for interaction throughout the event. Don't overwhelm yourself or limit others' experiences by having too many people register for it!
It's never a bad idea to add a cushion to your intensive when figuring out your budget goals. Build in an extra 15-20% in your budget to cover the expenses you may not have thought about. You don't want to be caught off-guard and it's a great way to make sure you don't get in over you're head. That's what goals are all about! Sweat the small stuff ahead of time so you don't have to worry about it once your intensive starts and are fully concentrating on the business at hand!
2. Marketing It
Make sure you are doing everything possible to market the intensive as carefully as possible! Create a specific logo that will go with this intensive, particularly if you plan on offering this intensive multiple times in the future. Use a color scheme for the event and display it on your website with online registration. Make sure to make it as easy as possible for people to register and pay for the intensive online, in order to cause less confusion and have a streamlined process. Spread the word through your newsletters, on social media, target different groups that may be interested online, such as in LinkedIn or Facebook. And rally the troops! Have former attendees who would be willing to share it on their social media pages? Collaborators who will step up and share it for you? Think of anyone and everyone who could help you get the word out, and have them spread the information!
Also, everyone loves thinking they are getting a deal. Consider offering discounts for signing up by a specific date, or if more than one person from an organization is going to attend. Spark that interest! Offering a money-back guarantee is another way to garner interest, as well. You may not want to do this the first couple times you offer your intensive, but over time, this may be something you are comfortable with offering to garner additional interest. That being said, it's always wise to have disclaimers attached to a money-back guarantee to make sure you aren't being taken advantage of.
3. Creating Interactive Content
Since a majority of 2-day intensives will focus on a smaller group and on a specific issue or content, make sure you're making the time that you are spending in the intensive as pain-free and educational as possible. This may mean you want to find ways to connect with everyone in a better way than standing up front and giving your presentation. Make things interactive!
Have the group test out some of the new techniques and material that you are going through during the day. Give them the opportunity to let you know specifically why they are there and what they are hoping to gain from the intensive. Everyone may have a slightly different perspective and when they hear each others' stories, things may resonate with another person and they may be able to form a connection outside of just being there for your 2-day intensive! How great would that be?!
Make sure you let everyone know that now is the time for mistakes! Now is the time to take risks in a nonjudgmental and less formal environment. How would they handle different things in their real lives in order to use the information they're learning to the best of their ability?
Bringing something different will help to keep things interactive, as well. Have them do presentations on different things relating to the event and put them in situations they would find in their real lives. Or bring in s speaker that may not necessarily be directly related to the field of the intensive. It may seem illogical at first, but getting a fresh perspective form a fresh face might bring the interaction that you are craving in your 2-day intensive!
One thing to make sure you do while providing interaction for your attendees is to make sure you get out of the way! Be the one asking the questions and let things flow organically, while still staying on track with an overall agenda. Another great way to follow this is when questions get asked, see if anyone else has any thoughts before inserting yourself into the answer. You'd be surprised and happy how often people talk themselves into different outcomes once they are talking about it out loud!
Make sure you're giving your attendees some space when the busy day is over. By holding your intensive somewhere where they will have a space of their own (hotel, resort, bed & breakfast, etc.), you're making sure they have a little time to unwind in private after an intense day of learning. You want to make sure everyone stays refreshed!
Also, make sure there are events and opportunities that your attendees can take to get a flair of the local life, particularly if you're holding an intensive where many people are coming in from out of town. At the very least, make sure you have something to handout that includes suggestions on different types of activities they can participate in, along with restaurants that they can try out.
If possible, go the extra step and plan the fun yourself! Since their days can be intense with all of the information they are taking in, plan a "stress-free" afternoon or night for everyone to get better acquainted and relax. Depending on where you are staying, it can range from offering wine tour events, to outdoor activities, to time where they can pamper themselves at a spa. Your attendees will remember it!
5. Constantly Refine and Improve
This is particularly important if the intensive course you are offering is going to be one that you continue to offer in the future. Many successful intensive conferences are ones that have spread through word-of-mouth and before you know it, your audience may grow larger than you ever imagined! This means you may be offering your 2-day intensive on a quarterly or bi-annual basis.
Because of this, make sure you watch and improve on things that are and aren't working in your intensive. If something is particularly standing out as a sore spot, think about either replacing it or talking to past attendees on ways they feel it could have been more smooth. To this end, it's a great idea to have all attendees fill out a sheet at the end of the intensive to provide you with feedback on how the event went. By having them fill out something after class or electronically from home, it will allow you to filter, refine and test everything so you can offer the most up-to-date tools and techniques within your intensive! Make sure your attendees get the maximum benefits that they can through signing up for your intensive.
Overall, planning a 2-day intensive can be stressful and can be a lot of work. But by following these guidelines on how to best plan an intensive that will be successful, you'll be ahead of the curve and will see positive results!