Don't Waste Your Investment in Learning Opportunities

As I prepare for art-marketing workshops in Pennsylvania and Delaware this coming week, I thought I'd share some advice that I give to my workshop participants.
Use these tips for any workshop, seminar, or class you attend. After all, you paid good money.

1. Do your homework. Research the presenters and their topics. If they have a blog, leave comments and mention the upcoming event. I'm always delighted when my workshop participants start appearing on my blog. It shows they're tuned in. You can also start following presenters on Twitter, liking their pages on Facebook, and signing up for their newsletters.
2. Get plenty of sleep. You need to be well rested in order to absorb as much as possible. Presenters can only do so much of the work. Your heart and brain have to meet them halfway.
3. Arrive with an open mind. If you come with a bunch of excuses as to why something can’t be done, you might as well stay home. I’m a hard-ass about this. Presenters will show you what’s possible, but you have to believe.
4. Come prepared to learn and implement. Be excited about getting new information or having previous knowledge confirmed. Then, get ready to implement what is right for you after the workshop. After all, it doesn’t help to learn a bunch of stuff and never use the knowledge.
5. Be ready to meet other people (code: Network). Workshops and seminars offer a terrific opportunity for you to expand your web of friends. Everyone is there for the same reason. You all share a common goal, although the means to achieving that goal will vary. Bring your business cards, your portfolio (just in case), and share, share, share! Don’t be afraid to offer a handshake and introduce yourself to someone you’ve never met. You never know where it might lead.
6. Set realistic expectations. No single workshop is going to give you everything you need. Even if it did, you still have to be responsible for making sense of all the information. Promise yourself that you will absorb as much as possible without being stressed about implementing every idea right away.

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4 thoughts on “Don't Waste Your Investment in Learning Opportunities”

  1. Debora L. Stewart

    One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself was attending the Split Rock Arts Program in Minneapolis and taking a week long workshop from artist Clive King on Intuitive Drawing. I had been looking for an experimental drawing workshop for a long time and discovered this three years ago. It gave me a definite “jump start” and really helped me go farther with the direction I was seeking. I highly recommend Split Rock as they offer so many wonderful experiences for artists. I would go every year if I could afford it.

  2. Alyson, I took your Blast Off class last Autumn, which was a wonderful wealth of information! In the last week or so I started going through all of the handouts and work again, following them sequentially, and I was amazed at how much MORE I was getting out of it. I definitely recommend going back and revisiting class information with fresh eyes months after you’ve taken a course, it gives you an opportunity to pick out more bits that you may not have fully implemented the first time around, and also to fine-tune what you have employed. I’m also reading one of the authors you mentioned in the course, Alyson, and that too has been extremely helpful.

  3. Alyson, looking very forward to being one of 41 artists attending your workshop this week in Millersville, PA (near Lancaster). Your workshops have come very highly recommended by other artist/friends of mine. I expect it will be well worth the investment. I hope to make some new friends too! See you on Tuesday…

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