Mistake #1 of The 3 Workshop Design Mistakes Sex Educators Need To Avoid

by Reid on March 1, 2020


Mistake #1 of The 3 Workshop Design Mistakes Sex Educators Need To Avoid


Join Reid Mihalko for this FREE TRAINING on what embarrassing mistakes to avoid so YOU can build a thriving sex ed career that pays the bills while reaching more people and transforming more lives!

Reid: Hey everybody! Welcome to the three workshop design mistakes to avoid free mini training where we’re going to dive deep into these videos. I’ll try to keep them short but we’re going keep them juicy because I want to share with you mistakes I made early on in my career that kept my workshops from being really powerful in helping people learn. And if you’re an educator whether it’s a sex educator or relationship intimacy coach, health care professional or healer who….who’s imparting information to people. If you’re in that…under that umbrella of what I would call a sex positive entrepreneur if you’re helping people with relationships and intimacy and sexuality then you’re one of my fellow sex geeks. And I just want to say thank you for being interested and curious on how you can make your workshops more powerful because now more than ever and I think for the years to come, people need information presented to them in ways that allow them to learn it more powerfully, to anchor and embody the information so that they can actually go and transform their lives. If you’re like me, you’ve probably gone to a bad workshop that maybe the teacher was good but the design of the event or the….the online curriculum or the program the….the design was lacking and you know thank goodness we’re smarter enough for we were able to take the information that we needed and….and sift through all the garbage and walk away with it but understand many of your workshop attendees aren’t going be the in this same ballpark, they’re not necessarily going to be geeks and nerds and you know like a little gold miners sitting by the stream panning for gold. They’re not going to be able to always sift through and leave with the information.


And in these series while I go through these mistakes to avoid, I’ll also be dropping in the…some of the current research that is pointing to how adults learn best and how you can avoid these mistakes but weaving the good things that we know about teaching and about how people learn so that your workshops, your presentations, your lectures, your podcast interviews they’re just juicer and more powerful and I’m a big believer that the better you can design your workshops in your curriculum one, you’ll be helping people more but because your design is tight and powerful. People see you as just a better teacher, a better educator, a better Sex Ed celebrity or what…you know however you’re identifying or want to be….be seen in your community because people who teach crappy workshops or design crappy workshops and content well some of them might become famous I think they started to became famous for the wrong reasons. And overall, I would like to help uplift our entire industry the education in self-help world especially around something is fraught for many people as intimacy and relationships and sexuality. I would like to up level our career in our industry space and just feel it with people that just kick ass when it comes to teaching.


So for those of you who haven’t meet me yet, my name is Reid Mihalko the creator of a website called https://reidaboutsex.com/. In 2004, I created a workshop called cuddle party which is what launched my career. I’ll talk about that in a minute and how unknowingly I did something really right with cuddle party that then I didn’t do for the next couple of workshops I created. I just got lucky and did something intuitively but it wasn’t embodied so when I design the next couple of workshops after I became famous, those workshops were kind of crappy and I needed to go in and redesign them. And for those of you who have workshops already in existence, the great news for all of us is that we can always go back in and tinker. We can always be upgrading and up leveling and improving everything that we do because we also never stop becoming students. So, for those of you who are like you know black belt varsity workshop facilitators, hopefully some of this stuff that we’ll cover in these series is going to just have you maybe have  an “aha”  moment that allows you to take what was what was good in working well and make it freaking fantastic and something that really from good to great and then as even more powerful and I wish that upon all of us and even me I’m sure one day I’ll revisit this training and want to reshoot the whole thing because there’s a better way that I could be doing it and I just want to I want to role model that we’re always going to be growing and that we can support and cheer each other on even if it means going back to that workshop you created in 2004 and get none of the hood again and tinkering it, and supping it up so it’s even better.


Other things that I’ve created that you might have heard about, sex geek summer camp is my five day business retreat. It’s an actual sleep away summer camp for sex educators to learn how to get better at the business side of doing and making a living at sex education. So, this free training, I’m excited for you because hopefully while I’m sharing these tips and techniques. You’ll start to see how you can take the workshops, the presentations, the online courses and curriculum that you’re designing and also kind of leverage it so that you can start paying your bills doing this. I know a lot of us as educators, we’re struggling, we’re frustrated, and we have to hustle all the time to pay our bills and I was somebody back in the cuddle party days early on, I had several other jobs I was bartending to make sure that brand always got paid, I was also an actor and a behind the scenes film producer which you know was another way of that I was making a little bit of money. And cuddle party became a huge news story in 2004 because New Yorkers were all of the sudden paying money to cuddle and the….a big blog at that time, Gawker announced and kind of brought the news story on cuddle party and Gawker had you know months earlier broke in the Monica Lewinsky story with Bill Clinton and so when they started talking about cuddle party, all of the sudden all of the media wanted to start talking about cuddle party and Marcia Baczynski who’s another amazing sex educator and workshop facilitator, she came to the second cuddle party that I’ve ever run and was so inspired and…and this was so in alignment with where she was at in  life and what she was doing that we partnered up and luckily that we did because together we were able to build a  website that was mostly Marcia’s doing ‘coz she knew how to code thank God and then Marcia if you’re watching this, thank you again. But we were able to harness and ride this amazing media wave. That was the cuddle party news stories. All of the sudden, Marcia and I run Montel Williams. We taped in an episode of the Tyra Banks show. Marcia’s picture was all of the sudden in people magazine and we were able to kind of ride this amazing wave of interest that had Marcia and I become basically the spokespeople for non-sexual intimate touch and a communication workshop called cuddle party. One of the things that I did in cuddle party that was as huge lucky boom that actually I think is very responsible for the success of cuddle party is that we created or I created when….when I founded cuddle party is the rules of cuddling and the rules of cuddling if you go to http://www.cuddleparty.com/ and click on rules basically walk you through step by step the rules of cuddle party so that you could understand what the event actually kind of was and those rules gave people a framework to be able to wrap their head around the event. An event that people didn’t believe that was actually real and those rules as a framework are going to be the first mistake that I want you to avoid when you design workshops because in the next couple of workshops I designed, I didn’t necessarily have rules or more importantly a framework.


So the first mistake that so many people make that they don’t have to if you spend a little extra time geeking out is building frameworks and teaching your workshops in frameworks. So that first mistake that so many people make is that their workshops, their online courses, their lectures, their….their content is lacking a framework. Lacking frameworks certainly you can have a workshop that is successful but frameworks go so far in helping people learn and retain the information that you’re talking about. And what I mean by frameworks and I’ll….I’ll you know we’ll do like a little mini version here of a….of what I mean by frameworks is a framework is something that helps people understand what you’re talking about and be able to retain it more powerfully. Another way that I’ll…to think about it or when I’m designing workshops and trying to create a framework is, what can I give people in my workshop that if they went home to their….their spouse or their boyfriend or girlfriend or their best friend or even their parents, what can I create that when they try to explain what they just learned allows them to show or retell to their….their loved one what just happened? So many people teach these amazing workshops but and people get these powerful experiences but when they leave, they can’t quite describe what it is that just happened to a loved one. And if somebody leaves your workshop and doesn’t have a way of regurgitating the information, that means they don’t have a way necessarily of re-anchoring the information which means it just going to be a lot harder for them to integrate or embody that information and then start actually implementing it on a day to day basis.


So, three easy things to…to look at or to look for around frameworks are these ideas of you know can you create what you’re teaching people with steps or like a formula you know do A plus B equals result C. Is there a way that you can diagram what you’re trying to show people or talk about? And then the last one, and there’s lots of different ways to think about frameworks these are these are the first three that I would recommend. These also happen to be the first three that are easiest for me to kind of demonstrate for you so that you see what I’m talking about. But the third is an acronym and acronym being a made up word or a word that sorry in existence but that when you take the letters, the letters themselves stand for a phrase or something bigger. Let’s create an example SCUBA you know stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. So it….you can take what you’re teaching and design it in a way that the…the message that you want people to walk away with actually allows them to remember it because it actually turns into a…..a already existing word or a made up word. Scuba had apparently I don’t think ever existed before then all of the sudden it was a word, you learn the word and it helps you remember the information that you’re trying to trying to walk away with. Examples of these things from my life, cuddle party we nailed it. The rules of cuddle party not only did it walk people through a context for what’s going to happen, what’s allowed, what’s not allowed at the event which helped people feel safer ‘coz now they could wrap their head around how it was going to go. But the rules were also really useful as kind of like guiding principles for how you create safe space for yourself and communicate what your wants, needs and boundaries where? So now if anyone wants to you know remind themselves about the principles of cuddle party, they just click on the rules you know. The rules or something that we can have on a website, we could put on….on a piece of paper or even like you could create like a business card version of it so that people have something to leave your workshop with that helps them re-anchor and remember the information so that they can start to embody it more.


A great example of a diagram, one for me as a as a…. a diagram out of somebody else’s life and I think I can edit it into the….the video here is Stephen Covey’s book not only just….are these seven habits, seven steps but he created a….a diagram and lots of people have created other diagrams based on that so that not only do you have the steps but you have a visual. Cuddle party doesn’t have a visual like that but it doesn’t necessarily need one but anytime you can start to stack these things that makes it even more powerful ‘coz now, not only can I show you, tell you about the steps but I can show you how they fit into a picture and example from one of my workshops is the Battling the Eight-Armed Octopus of Jealousy workshop which that’s the title. Actually whenever I teach it, I actually draw an octopus and I label the arms with the principles of what we’re going to be talk about in the workshop around jealousy. These eight basic principles that really are clues to what do you need in your life that might help you un-trigger or unravel the ticking time bomb that can be jealousy. So, for me drawing the octopus now is super….super useful from an educator perspective because with people especially since they’re like “Ahhhh, you know jealousy is so…is a monster.” I get to create a cute little leviathan of an octopus and labeled the tentacles so that now people have a picture not technically a diagram but….but they have a….a picture that….that helps them anchor the principles. So now, when I’m wrestling with jealousy, I’m not so overwhelmed because I’m like “okay, there are only eight arms. What are the eight arms again?” And then they can start to recall what the arms are or look at the picture to re-anchor the things that we talked about in the workshop. So think about when you’re designing your courses and your programs is there a way to take the information or the step or the formula and can you create it and put it into a diagram?


The third piece is the acronym. Is there an acronym that you can create that allows people to remember things? Now, sometimes it won’t be a word. It could be like if the octopus if all of the arms started with a letter L, then it would be the Eight L’s of Jealousy or something like that. Brendon Burchard who’s one of my business mentors who’s an amazing geek around you know creating content. He talks about he likes the letter C and he has a whole bunch of different things that tend to start with a letter C…and he loves this as source and flip in through it and so you know and actually talks about the power of creating frameworks in ways that things become easier for people.


One of the things that we created at sex geek summer camp is the acronym ABE. Which stands for Always Be Educating and then whenever we talk about ABE I usually draw a little cartoon picture of Abraham Lincoln. ABE as a concept as an acronym helps people remember Always Be Educating which is one of these founding principles for how we like to teach and discuss education and building a career at camp which is you know even this video is an example I’m…. I’m always educating. I’m just….I’m teaching you some neat things I think will help make your life easier and more powerful as an educator I’m….I’m just going to Always Be Educating and that you educate people for free, this is a free training and then you invite people who want to go deeper in this particular topic to a course or an events or program so you can be using these principles to let’s say you have a lecture for a college or something like that you create some of your frameworks, you present these frameworks and then after your lecture or at the end of your lecture you can invite people you know if want to go deeper in these principles come to camp. We have a whole summer camp just for learning the business of education.


Another example from my world is the difficult conversation formula and that is an actual formula, step by step formula where you know it helps people get learn how to initiate a conversation that is difficult for them and how to figure out where they’re….where they’re blocked, what they’re stucked, where the fear is, what they’d like to have happen in having the conversation and then how to actually initiate the conversation. So I have a formula for that to walk people through it. When you have a formula and this I guess is a….a this would be like the bonus fourth thing that you could think of and again there a many different ways to use frameworks but once you have a formula, now it’s so much easier to create a hand out. Something that explains the concept to people and more importantly I was able to create a worksheet so I’ve got a difficult conversation formula worksheet that people can print out over and over again and fill out to practice and anchor how to have a difficult conversation. Without the framework, I wouldn’t be able to have the worksheet necessarily or it wouldn’t be a one page easy to do worksheet and it would be really difficult for me to have a handout.


For those of you who are Eckhart Tolle fans who loved the book The Power of Now then this is something Brendon talks about at Experts Academy like The Power of Now doesn’t have a framework. You kind of can’t create a one page worksheet for The Power of Now. So again like that book is really powerful and really important to people but very hard for people to regurgitate the information to somebody who’s never read the book like to get The Power of Now, you have to sit down and actually read the entire book whereas with the difficult conversation formula you give your….your loved one this hand out and this worksheet and they can almost teach themselves how to use the content. And this will be where we’ll end this video is we bring it in for a landing, this ability to creating frameworks is so powerful not only does it make more…simple for people to actually implement the advice and more powerful because people can recall and remember things. Now, whenever you see an octopus you might actually be like “oh my goodness, you know I remember Reid’s jealousy piece which can you know remind people of the content. But one of the…the big bonuses of creating in frameworks is that it really kind of locks in the content as yours. My safer sex elevator speech is pretty well-known by now but if somebody were to create their own version of that, people would automatically if they know about my stuff compare the thing that they’re creating to “oh, you know Reid Mihalko has a safer sex elevator speech that has those kinds of steps and that’s been out there for a long time.” So another advantage to creating frameworks is that they can also help you kind of establish and lock-down the content and advice that you give and make it yours so that it’s always associated with you.


So, if you’re looking to teach workshops and create content and programs that also build your career and have people remember you as a leader in your business space then doing framework is huge because now whenever people talk about you know “oh, I’m having a problem having a conversation with my loved one.” People recommend my difficult conversation formula all of the time. They send people to the works….to the website which is https://reidaboutsex.com/convo there’s an article that explains it and then there’s the invite for people to sign up to get the download and the worksheet and now I have therapists all over the world who recommend their clients to that particular tool. So the framework also helps you helps other people look at your content and your expertise as tools that they can use in their businesses, in their careers. The difficult conversation formula has appeared in several books, books I never wrote where people accredit that information to me. Similar things with the safer sex elevator speech of mine which if you want to look at another framework it’s more of steps and formulas you can go to https://reidaboutsex.com/elevator and then there’s things like social awkwardness I have the embrace the awkward formula. So, again like what I want you to…to learn in this video is the power of being able to create in frameworks so you don’t make this common workshop mistake which is you put all this work into creating these amazing experiences but again the mistake is you’re lacking frameworks.


So I’m going to end this video here.  I hope this was useful. Share in the comment section you know something that was useful for you. What was the take away for you from this video? And I’m going to shortly send you a link to the next training video where we’re going to go over number two. The number two mistake or the second mistake that you can avoid in creating your workshops and I’ll give you a hint right now, it has to do with a mistake that educators make that sends their attendees into overwhelm and when you overwhelm your attendees it’s even harder for them to walk away remembering anything that you said which means they can’t actually recall it or implement it or practice it or embody it which means they can’t change their lives. And if you’re somebody who wants to change lives powerfully, leave the campsites all over the place better than you found them, and learning how to avoid these common mistakes I think will just make you a better educator and help you build your brand and have people see you that you’re pretty kick ass and awesome and then we’ll geek out and tinker on ways that you can leverage that so you can get paid to do what you love. So we’re changing lives, making a world a better place and paying our bills.


This is Reid Mihalko from your first video. Thank you so much for joining us. Next video is coming up soon. Leave a comment. Share this video with somebody. Thank you so much for being a part of the sex geek community and whatever facet you do. Share. Leave a comment. See you on the next video.




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