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Ease Your Way in: Continuing Education Classes

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Most cities have places where you can teach classes. Many of these venues are non-traditional continuing education centers. They are great places to get practice and you’ll make a little money. They also allow you to test concepts and ideas with very little risk.

Before you start, you should make sure that they allow you to sell your products. I never ask. I just do it. In most cases they are paying you so little they won’t object. As long as you follow my rules on how to sell your product, your sales efforts probably won’t draw complaints from your attendees and the issue will just never come up.

Continuing education classes are where many people get started doing their speaking. In fact, I continue to do my workshops at these locations.

If you want to work with these folks, here is how to do it.

First, get the name of the “program director” or the person who makes the decisions and selects instructors.

Second, you need to send a letter.

In that letter, follow this progression.

In the first paragraph, personalize the letter to the individual. Say that you are submitting the following materials to see if they can be included in their course catalog.

In the second paragraph in bold type put the course title, subtitle, and a one-sentence description of the class.

In the third paragraph, describe how attendees will benefit.

In the fourth paragraph, present the rationale for why you are uniquely qualified to present this class. Describe your experience, credentials, materials you publish on the topic (like a newsletter, a set of tapes, a public seminar, and your all-important book).

On the second page, create a course description. Basically, design the ad they could put into their catalog. Make it short and snappy. Give it a compelling title and a great description. Keep the description to a maximum of 200 words. Use bullet points for the hot stuff.

On the third page, put your complete resumé or biography. Include everything you can to make you look like the guru on the topic. This will be different for each class. For whatever class you propose, skew your resumé in that direction.

In an appendix put everything you have to back up all of your claims. Letters of recommendation, press releases, possibly even a set of materials (books and tapes). If you have a video of you doing a presentation, include that as well.

Follow up a few days after you send your letter. Don’t become a pest, but persistence pays here as in so many other promotional and marketing situations.

Finally, contact all the continuing education venues in your area, not just one! 

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