Saturday, September 22, 2007

Demo Corner

My class at church Thursday night went really well. We ended up with 13 people but I was fine with the 13:1 ratio considering none of them had stamped before! At the end of the night one of the elderly ladies commented that it been the most enjoyable craft night she had ever experienced. She went home feeling very successful and that just thrilled me.

That got me to thinking about what I do and how I do it, in terms of teaching and demonstrating. My mind works in a very organized, methodical fashion. I often take it for granted, it's just who I am. I assume sometimes that everyone works that way, but in reality they don't. My 2 sons and husband have taught me that, LOL!!! Sometimes it makes others crazy, I am not totally unaware of that either. If you are a demo or a teacher, how do you go about preparing and running a class? What is your goal? Obviously, if you are a demo you are interested in selling product. But beyond that, what is your goal? For me it is sharing my love for stamping and doing so in a way that others feel successful enough in the end to try it themselves. I love to see people walk away at the end of the night beaming over their creation, already thinking of who they can send it to. Some will become customers, others will just leave having had a fun, informative and creative time....both are okay. How you present your class and ideas is very important to accomplishing the goal.
I am going to share one of my organizational methods for teaching a class. Maybe it will be helpful to someone. If not, come again tomorrow! No hard feelings.
I believe being organized makes your job easier and thus makes you come across better to your customers. I purchased a stack of those plastic shoe boxes from Walmart, they run about a dollar. I like that they are sturdy, clear and stackable. When I design a project, I make a list of my ingredients. I cut all the card stock ahead. I use one shoe box per project. I even do this if I am holding the class in my studio. I put all the items I need into the box. I have accumulated multiples of certain items over time to make this easier such as bone folders, scissors, rulers and black ink pads. When I demo in a workshop having multiples isn't as important since I only show one project at a time. But the boxes keep me from having unnecessary items in front of me that can cause confusion and make me look unprepared. When I do classes, I demo every project at the beginning, arrange one project per table and then allow the stampers to move from table to table at their own pace. When I do the classes I also take the time to type up step by step instructions that I print up on card stock (the cheap stuff) and display in the center of each table. This makes it possible that I don't need to be everywhere at once and keeps me from one like the teacher to hover, LOL!! It also keeps you from having to repeat yourself when someone comes to class late, and there is always at least one who comes late. I also leave my cut card stock and envelopes in the box on the table. Too many times someone has dropped an ink pad or maker and gotten supplies inked up so I find it best to keep them neatly in the box.

I have held many stamp a stacks and classes in the last few years and have several regular stampers. I didn't set out to "train" them but they know what to expect when they come to one of my events. I think they feel sorta at home with my set-up. They are great about helping out newbies, again making my job easier. I don't get overwhelmed at the thought of 20 people next week for a Christmas card stamp a stack because I spend time preparing and organizing. If you find you are frazzled at your events perhaps some of these ideas will help with your next event. There are at least 3 benefits for you...things will go more smoothly, you will come across better and your stampers will feel more successful in the end.

I have two friends from Rochester visiting today, I am so excited for them to be here. We're going out to lunch and having some much needed girl time. Tootles for now!


Barbara Vogt said...

Thanks for sharing your workshop agenda...I found that quite helpful. I have an event coming up at the Senior Center and am a bit nervous as there will be several non-stampers (who are eager to learn) attending. Your tips helped me a lot!

Barbara V (Oldstmpr)

Dale Anne said...

Tracy - this is exactly how I go to my workshops, classes, etc. I put everything into a tote.

Anonymous said...

I love your tip about having all supplies in one plastic box! Thanks for sharing! I am a new demo and started out being a hobby demo, but I think I'd like to hold a couple open houses. This is an excellent idea to organize a make & take.

Linda McClain said...

Tracy - Great post. My agenda for classes is to give them some new idea or technique they've never done before and help them incorporate it into their repertoire of techniques. So it's a real high for me when someone tells me they created something at home using something they learned in my workshop/class/party.

I set up workshops up exactly like you. I set up stations with the supplies in clear plastic boxes. Sometimes I give them a bag with all the cut paper for the night, and sometimes I just lay the paper out at each station. I get a few started at each station, and then I check back through the session. They often help each other, which means, guess what, they could be demonstrators, too.