BBO.SHOW #17 – The 8 stages to taking your first course from idea, to a script, to getting it ready to be delivered to an audience online
Hey Harms here, thanks for watching today’s show, if you have not yet then…
What you will learn in today’s show:
The focus area is: online course creation.
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Harms: If you’re coming in today with those pieces of paper ready and you’re saying, right what do
I do now?
How do we take that and turn it into an organised piece of work that we can later share?
We asked you to sleep on it but the idea is you download all the information then we step back a bit and now what we’re going to do is come back to this information with fresh eyes hopefully and start to structure it.
Start to go through a series of steps taking all of this information, all of this expertise and knowledge that you have and starting to structure it into a clear learning pathway.
A way to get that knowledge over to the people you’re talking to.
These people are your students for now but they will be your customers later.
We have broken it down into eight stages and we’re going to be working you through step by step by step how you would convert all of this information into a course.
Putting everything together
Kyle: Let’s call this information a complete mess on your paper so the key, here by the end of today is giving you an eight-stage process which will allow you to organise the mess.
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Harms: Stage one we’re going to take Post-it notes.
Let’s say we’re doing a three-stage course for now. I just want to take three Post-it notes and write the name of each step. That’s all, these are going to be titles and I’m going to stick them up.
If we have three steps in the course we want three columns eventually, if we have five steps it’s going to be five Post-it notes.
You need space for this because we’re going to be reordering and moving things around. Stick them on the wall and these are going to be column headers.
Stage two this is a bit more work.
We are going to get our sheets of paper that we wrote our notes on, we are going to start transferring each of those onto Post-it notes.
Yes, we’re going to use quite a lot of Post-it notes, but the end result will be worth it. We’re going to take these notes and move onto stage three of the process.
As you are writing them down, stick them with their step on the wall so we have step one, step two, step three as our title Post-it, we’re going to start sticking our ideas that are related to each stage below.
A big mess is absolutely fine at the moment, you might find depending on how your brain works you might already be starting to order them like some things you’ll be writing on a Post-it, some ideas and you’re thinking this is quite important I’m going to put that near the top.
You might start to do this anyway but you don’t need to at this point, a big mess and just getting them into the columns is enough for now.
Kyle: Now we’re going to be combining things into stacks, we’re starting to clump them into that fits there nicely. It’s about getting things together, pairing, matching, maybe there are three items that you want to interlink and deliver as part of a message, we’re going to start clumping items.
Stage four is exactly what Harms said, using the very nontechnical term, but clumping we are going to take similar ideas, similar tools, similar methods put them together.
When they were on a bit of paper initially it’s hard to connect them. Now that we have them on post it we can physically take one Post-it note and say okay this story is connected to this learning moment or to this method, and you just place them near to each other.
Post it notes are great because it allows you to move, re-order, but the key here is the fact that we can now pair things.
It allows flexibility without having to worry about whether I need to re-write that item or I need to copy and paste, all of those things are going to slow this process down whereas post It notes are a quick, rapid process.
Harms: This is a creative process and we need to remove all of those barriers and if you are writing longhand all steps and all of the points each time and then changing it around it’s just too slow.
That’s stage four clumping, starting to bring together combining similar themes, similar tools, similar ideas, similar stories into these clumps and then we move into stage five which is ordering.
We are going to order the clumps we have just made.
Let’s say we have three or four Post-it notes here all around creating a product for your market. This is the idea that you’re going to be discussing, so you have a method for creating a product, you have a story about creating a product you have maybe an anecdote about your first product, which was rubbish and therefore you have learning moments.
These are all clumped together in this product creation.
What we are going to start doing in stage five is ordering these clumps into a natural order.
This will be a few Post-it notes stuck together and moving them up and down within a particular step. We’re going to give you a rough structure within a step. This is not the structure of a course; this is you’ve got at the top the name of your steps.
Step one business for example, and then you’re going to have Post-it notes underneath.
This is a one method for ordering the clumps within those steps; it’s not the whole course.
It’s one step.
Kyle: The purpose of this is to create a course section within step one that is engaging, allows you to distil all this information in a way that’s digestible, it’s not repetitive, it is boring.
That’s the reason we are sharing this sort of structure with you again the structure is a guideline, it’s not a you must do this, but the assumption again is this may be the first course, and it is your first course, then feel free to use the structure and then adapt it on your second, third, fourth.
By the time you’ve done your 10th expert course out there in the world you’ll have your own formula. Here’s a rough structure that you can adopt so number one is a 10-step process.
Number one is what I’m going to show you.
You may want to tell them stage two which is how I learnt it and I learnt it because this is the current situation I’m in. I wasn’t always in that situation. I was doing something else. I transitioned but now I’m in that situation which is why I learnt and am open to sharing it with.
Now let’s dive into a tool and techniques number three.
Maybe your first tool, the first technique or the first method you would like to share with them. Number four may be a story or an exercise.
You may ask your listener to take a pause. Or you may share a story or anecdote analogy at this stage.
Number five is going into number two, and then again off the back of the tool you present them with another story to reinforce the learning.
Another analogy to reinforce the learning or it could be an exercise for to again reinforce learning. That’s the technique there, give them something logical and give them something emotional to then anchor back to that story so they don’t forget it.
Number seven, eight is a repeat process of the same thing.
Method number three, tool three, technique three and again a story, exercise analogy to help solidify that within the learning.
Finally number nine and 10 are typically challenges that you may have come across this is you speaking to the audience directly and saying, here’s some things that people typically get hung up on.
Here are some of the things that may be a challenge or used to be a block for me, plus how to get past them.
Finally some actionables, some to dos.
If you listen to the BBO Show at the end of the show we’ve always got one or two things to do straight off the bat. It’s nice, it allows practice for the go-getters, the action takers and the actionable could be anything. It could be to visit this blog post and read up on this subject in more detail and the blog post could be featured on your website.
Harms: We are in stage five still, which is ordering we’re moving our clumps around. That brief structure we gave you is basically an introduction which is I’m going to show you this, and this is why I am qualified to talk about it and then we do tool one or method one, tool two or method two, tool three and method three.
Within that sandwich filler we’re moving from logical this is how you do this to emotional or active.
Here’s a story about it or here’s an exercise you should do. We are alternating between different learning modalities at that point, it also means it’s less dry.
If I were just giving you three tools it’s a bit boring, so we’re breaking it up a little bit with more emotional story or anecdote. Then we round the whole thing off with, okay, I’ve given you the content here are a few things that people often get stuck on, and here’s why you shouldn’t. we’re objection busting we’re moving through common frequently asked questions and we round up with the actionable. It is just a really nice structure.
We’re trying to give you the basics but at the same time, it’s possible for us to talk about what we are doing now, which can be confusing, but at least you can see that we are using the same methods of teaching as well and we’re giving you the good stuff basically.
Kyle: Stage six which is probably the most difficult one for most people which is cutting.
The best way to think about this is when you are clearing out your wardrobe at the end of the season and thinking about, what do I give away to charity?
What do I sell?
What do I throw away?
It is all about how we now cut away things that shouldn’t be there and don’t serve the original message that can distract the audience and the learning outcome.
But also take away from the journey. If you remember the journey is an entry-level product which takes them from a core product to a premium product that you have to offer.
Anything which distracts them from that process will also lower your conversions in the long run.
Remember with this with your ideas with your stories, etcetera what we’re going to be doing is yes if you take a Post-it note off the wall here and it’s not going in this step, that can go on another course that can go in a blog article, then go somewhere else like.
It doesn’t have to live in this course, if it is truly precious it can live somewhere else and it can be used for content elsewhere.
We’re not really losing anything. Right now we are just editing and making sure the flow of this particular course is the most efficient way to teach somebody, to build trust and build your authority.
So cutting anything that is not needed we need to get rid of it.
This is the hard thing to do.
One useful thing to do is to look at the learning outcome. So what’s at the top?
What’s on that step one?
Referring to the learning outcome and the name of the step that you’re working on is irrelevant. If not then you can probably take that out, put that Post-it note elsewhere.
Another really useful way to do this is you’ve clumped everything together and then you have three or four Post-it notes that don’t clump with anything else.
They don’t really fit anywhere you really want to put them in but you don’t know where to put them. Cut them, they go out.
If they do not fit into those other clumps then they’re going to end up as just pieces of information floating around and get in the way of the through line. That’s another benefit of having the Post-it note approach is that you can immediately see, I call them orphans, the orphan notes they don’t really go anywhere.
That’s not me being mean about kids, it’s from programming SEO. If you have these Post-it notes that don’t fit in this particular structure, we can keep them for another time.
And if they’re really valuable maybe they become their own blog article, video.
If they are really useful, they could become their own course further down the line, but right now they don’t fit within the structure.
The core question is does this help the learning outcome?
Does this help the audience member with the specific learning outcome if the answer is yes, it stays in. If the answer is no it stays out and we’re even being ruthless to the point if it’s maybe then it goes.
The next stage now is stage seven so image on your wall or table you’ve got these steps. Step one, step two, step three within the steps now we’ve got clumps and they’re ordered in order that we are happy with, we’ve removed things that don’t serve.
We’ve done a cutting process but now we’re faced with a different challenge, which is step one has loads of things, step two has a couple of things and step three has even more than step one.
So something within this step-by-step process for this course looks unbalanced.
What we call stage seven is balancing out the course so it’s consistent, each step has the same level of effort required by the audience and the person producing it.
Harms: We want consistency throughout, so we want people to turn up each week for the lesson or to watch the lesson on that schedule and for it to be roughly the same amount of time. Imagine how annoying it would be if you go to class and one day it’s 20 minutes and the next day is two hours long, and then the next one is 50 minutes it would just be very confusing.
The actual length doesn’t matter if you set the expectations and your lessons are an hour long and they are an hour long every single time, fine.
That’s not going to be for everybody, and that’s another debate about the length of content. But in your lesson, your course, your masterclass the main thing is consistency.
That’s why we can look at the Post-it notes and we can see if they’re balanced.
Harms: What happens if they’re not balanced?
Kyle: There’s a couple of things you can do.
The first would be if there are any clumps that can go to another stage, then you can do that. That’s nice and simple.
However, if you see something massively dramatically different as we just talked about. Like a hundred Post-it notes in step one, 20 in step two and 200 in step three.
Chances are there what we need to do is break up, step three, which has 200 notes that needs to break into step three and four and that’s going to help balance out and then maybe step two, which only has 20 notes in this example should be subsumed into step one for example. It’s going to depend or you create more content for step two but you need to at this point make a decision because you’re looking at it and step three has this amount of content.
Step two has one tenth of the content. Is step two as important to step three?
Chances are it is not. The main thing here is we can rebalance by adding new content or removing content.
We can split steps or we can combine steps, but at the end we want everything to be roughly the same length roughly the same amount of ideas and tools and techniques.
Kyle: This is why we do encourage you to try and get this down to a three step, four step process from the get go, because if you are in this scenario now you will be going from a three-step system course to a four-step course.
You’ll have them to expand the steps.
At this stage if you have to that’s great. What we’re not doing is going from an eight step up to a 10 step, 12 steps.
We’ve narrowed it down to the worst case at this stage if you’re realising actually, this step could be divided into two topics now is a good time to do that.
The reason for balance is important for consistency and the expectation and just having a course which also visually looks right. Moving onto the final stage, stage eight.
Converting into a Syntax
Harms: Once you have all your steps up there with all the ideas underneath and it’s looking roughly balanced and they’re nicely structured, you basically have your course and you have it down.
It’s just not in a very useful format right now it’s covering your fridge. It’s not a very efficient way to deliver your course and because it’s a bit messy so what we’re going to do in stage eight is we convert all of this work into a syntax.
It’s basically a reforming of the format so that we have a document that we can use that we have in front of us, which we can use in the delivery of our course because the Post-it notes are great for structuring the course, they’re not great for delivering.
Harms: The first question is what is a syntax?
It’s your crib sheet. It’s your flashcards, quick reference guide. It’s your blueprint and I’m using a few names there because each of those means something different to somebody else.
But what it essentially is going to be doing is taking all of the information that we now organised in stage one to seven and solidifying that into one place, one go to document which provides you the same outcome that a quick reference guide will allow you to do.
One of the key things is it is not to take all of these notes and turn that into a whole script like you’re writing a book. That’s a lengthy process, but it’s quite important to differentiate between a script and prompts.
So what we are looking for are prompts which live in our syntax not a script.
My personal viewpoint for that is because if you think about the written word it’s very different to the spoken word.
The way I’ve experienced it as an audience member, if I listen to an author dictate their book to me via audible or audiobook it’s great, but it is as if I am reading along.
It’s not natural, but it’s as if I’m reading the book, just digesting it in audio format. We want to avoid that, what we want to do is get your natural voice and by doing that, your personality naturally shines as well.
Kyle: Plus you’re an expert, remember this is off the back of an expert funnel. If somebody asked you a question about any information within your particular expertise you’d be able to answer quite freely and easily.
The tendency to try to make a script is like a comfort blanket.
However, we’re much better we’re much more engaging if somebody just asked the question and we’re like I know this, we can do that very easily.
We’re going to be doing that using the syntax instead of preparing everything advanced as it is so dull and it takes forever.
Kyle: If you’re thinking preparation is important, you’ve started the preparation process that has already begun. You’ve been preparing, you’re the expert, these are your ideas, we’ve just given you a structure.
All of that is your information so every time you go through this stage it’s becoming more solidified in your mind for the point when you deliver.
Why do we need a syntax?
We’ve roughly mentioned it, but just to keep it clean it takes the thinking and creating part of the course and leaves that on paper, document text, which now allows you to free your mind up for the delivery.
So all the creation thinking part is done and that’s stage one.
We want to prepare ourselves for the delivery stage.
What we don’t want to do in the delivery stage is think I should have done this instead. Done it’s on the syntax we’re now rolling with that information and then we can focus on delivering.
It allows us to be able to focus on the delivery, which is hard enough, that’s setting up the camera, speaking to camera, having the syntax, all of that becomes a different challenge in itself which we will help you overcome.
But that’s what the syntax allows to do. It’s converting the structure into a syntax.
We’ve got the order of things.
What we want to do is convert that structure, which is currently Post-it notes, convert that into what we call a syntax. We spoke about why we use a syntax, why it’s important and where it allows you to focus which is the delivery not the creation.
Everybody prefers a different mechanism but to keep it very simple where the syntax will live will either be in a handwritten grid format or a word document or Excel document.
My preference is Word because I like the table format.
Now think about opening a word document and you’re going to create a table with four columns and lots and lots of rows. In these columns are the following headers and remember we’re turning the structure into a document now.
Heading one is timing. Heading two is the section, heading three is the content and heading four is the notes.
Now what you put in here will ultimately be up to you that’s the reality of it, but my suggestion for each section is column one is the timing.
Timing is critical because you are an expert and there’s no doubt you can talk about this topic for days and days, but the audience at this entry point does not have days to spend with you. Let’s think about putting some rough times in there don’t become too anal about it.
We’re talking about like five minutes or 10 minutes.
Round the times.
Column two now is the section. It’s up to you how you want to break the section down, my suggestion is you’ve got 10 different clumps under the main topic.
Each of those clumps will become a section. So now I’ll take that and start to populate it in sections. You’re going to have 10 rows for each of those sections.
Kyle: The next row is the content.
This is where rather than have a script we have bullet points to remind us and prompt us within each of those sections.
Let’s take tool or technique number one, you’ll title what that is for you.
For us it might be finding out how big my audience is. That becomes a section now in that section.
I may want to talk about three or four things again we’re not going to write a paragraph. I’m going to put three, four bullets that remind me of the sequence that I want to speak about things in and also what I actually want to talk about within that section.
It is no more than that.
The temptation will be to write a script just to avoid it, avoid the paragraphs or the sentences sticking to a bullet point.
Sometimes you may want to include a quote, the name of a book by all means put the whole quote in as it may be easy just to read it off, statistics and figures as well.
The final header is notes.
Notes may be anything from using this prop, it could be as simple as remember to show them the sticky notes as an example. It is a reminder for you for prompts.
Kyle: It is really useful if there are two of you.
If you’re doing a two-hander while Harminder is talking about something I could be pulling up a screen share on my laptop or when I’m talking he does this a lot, he’ll be drawing a diagram on a piece of paper.
You can add that thing in the notes like okay while I’m reading this bit, you should be doing this part.
It’s generally going to be whatever logistical things you should be doing.
Now we’ve taken you through an eight stage process where the final stage is you have something permanent on paper, the sticky pad notes have gone, you’ve got your document which is a permanent document now which will allow you to organise your thoughts, in preparation to deliver your course.
That’s phenomenal those eight steps I think can be used on any course.
Harms: A lot of this stuff seems common sense but when people first begin putting together their very first course, it’s a bit overwhelming.
You do need a step by step-by-step. If some of this does seem quite obvious I hope that’s because we’ve delivered it in a very step-by-step method and that you’re sitting there thinking well this is easy.
I can do this if that’s the case, fantastic we’ve done our job.
Kyle: Everything is obvious once you’ve heard it.
By working smart and using a structure like this you’re going to save time because the aim of this is how do you go from an idea to a course as quickly as possible?
You can build this in a week easily.
Once you’ve got it down to a syntax it’s there, that is your course.
It’s like a simplified script without having spent the entire process of writing this book, that’s not the purpose here.
It’s getting it simple, actionable.
Harms: Syntax in of itself is a really powerful asset because we can deliver that in multiple forms that could be the syntax for in-person workshops you deliver where each session is an hour long and you teach people a day.
It could be the syntax for an online course, that’s what we’re going to be focusing on.
It could be the syntax for an audio course it can go in many, many, many different directions. The creative process and the distilling down into the syntax has created something that’s very valuable.
Kyle: Again the fact that it is now permanent and lives on a document somewhere means it can be used again and again and again, rather than relying on memory.
Final to do is very simple, which is to convert your ideas into the syntax and have a final permanent piece of work that you can start to use to deliver your course and work through those eight stages.
Now this won’t be an overnight thing it takes you time, but certainly by the end of the week you will have the A to B process.
The one to 10 steps in order for you to actually go ahead and start to create your first course, from idea to delivery and then to sale.
What have you learned so far:
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