How to teach a coupon class (part 1 of 3)

I got an email yesterday that I thought would be great inspiration for a post:

My question is that a lot of people at church have become interested and I have been asked to teach a class. I do have powerpoint capabilities, but no one around here is at the level of teaching coupon classes.  Would you happen to be able to help me with preparing for my first class? Thanks…and the video helped so much.

Well Michelle, I would LOVE to help you! I do think this is a meatier topic, so I’ll be breaking this out into three posts:

  1. Organizing your presentation.
  2. Getting ready for your class.
  3. Tips for an engaging presentation.

Setting the mood with an intro slideshow

After some trial and error, I now have two presentations.

My first presentation consists of photos of my trips, reader trips, and testimonials. This will play the 10-15 minutes prior to my presentation and give folks something to look at while they find their seat. The purpose is to also 1) create energy and 2) demonstrate that this can be done.

Here’s an example of one of my slides:

If you don’t want to go this route? I would suggest having some sort of visual for people when they walk in. Perhaps it’s a table of items you’ve gotten for free, a poster board of your best receipts, something. Create excitement for your class the moment the attendees walk in.

How I organize my PowerPoint Classes

I always try to start my classes with some “attention grabber.” Here are some of the different things I’ve done before:

  • Shared my own story about how I got into couponing.
  • Shared some startling statistics about coupon redemption increases.
  • Shared a list of items I’ve been able to get for free using coupons.

Don’t ease in, start in with a punch!

From there, I’ve learned that folks really like to know what’s going to be on the agenda, and the order of the class. This will also prevent people from asking questions that precede your content. (If you click on the image below to enlarge it, you’ll see exactly what is on my agenda!)

It’s easy to jam pack your coupon class with a lot of information, so do work to create slides that have simple, short statements on them. This slide appears very early on in my presentation. I want folks to get the main point of my presentation early on. I reinforce concepts like these multiple times throughout my presentation.

From there, I go into stockpiling. I like to provide a high-level perspective before getting into the nuts and bolts of stacking coupons or rolling Catalinas. Start with simple concepts first.

After stockpiling, I describe the various kinds of coupons you can find, and where to find them. Here is where a Powerpoint presentation is so handy: you can include visuals! Consider taking photos of your coupons, coupon binder, stockpile, trips, and other things you can use to illustrate your points. It’s easier for people to see an image of a coupon up on an overhead screen than just have you hold it up.

At this point, I talk about organizing coupons, and I share a few slides on different methods. After that, I have a bathroom break. I literally have a slide in my presentation for this – it’s a visual cue to take a break.

After the break, what happens next depends on how much time I have. If I have a two-hour class (typically), I will dive into how to shop at drugstores and grocery stores, store sales cycles, tips for finding deals, how to shop when there are no coupons, and I like to finish up on coupon etiquette.

One thing I really like to do with my presentations is to illustrate key concepts. So after I’ve discussed how mix and match sales and loss leaders work, I share this post:

If it’s a shorter class, I may omit some of the more complex concepts, like how Register Rewards at Walgreens work. One thing you can do if time is of the essence is to supplement your presentation with handouts. I also direct folks back to my blog for more in-depth posts and recorded webcasts.

3 Tips for using Powerpoint

I know I’ve spoken more today on how to organize your Powerpoint presentation. But let me provide just a few software tips too:

  • Powerpoint has many design templates to choose from! You can change the entire look of your slide show with a mouse click. Just make sure your design enhances your visuals and isn’t a distraction from them.
  • You can change the layout easily. Try varying your slides – some with pictures, some without. Create visual interest.
  • You can easily sort the slides. If you are not sure how you want to organize your presentation, here’s a tip. Just create all the slides you want. Then, you can view them in “slide sorter” mode and drag and drop the slides until you have the correct order.

Finally: Be open to feedback!

I am continually tweaking my presentations to make them feel more natural to me, and more helpful to the people that attend.

I recently received some feedback from class attendees on how I could improve my presentation. While it’s never fun to hear your presentation wasn’t 100% perfect, feedback like this is so valuable because it makes it better. In fact, I was able to test out the new tweaks for a coupon class last week and I have to say – I think the feedback from the past attendees was right on the money.

If you plan on doing more coupon classes, or you are already regularly teaching classes, ask for some honest, objective feedback. You could do this by asking trusted friends in attendance, or via an anonymous survey.

Up next: what things should you do to get ready for your class?

PS If you haven’t seen it already, I have a recorded webcast for you on How to teach a coupon class.

 


Comments

  1. says

    Seriously, how are you always so on point and helpful? I have taught several classes, but most have been pretty informal. I recently was asked to teach a class for a teacher’s conference and was paid a sizable chunk of money for it, which really made me feel the pressure.

    I felt like the class went really well, but I definitely felt like I needed some realignment and “tweaking”. All the info is there, but not always 100% cohesive. I love the idea of running a presentation while people are getting seated and I also feel like a PowerPoint presentation would be much more eye-grabbing than just a hand-out.

    Thanks as always for sharing your knowledge, you’re so generous! It’s really nice having someone “in the trenches” sharing their info, instead of someone who isn’t necessarily a deal blogger but knows how to teach classes. Your info is super relatable!

    • arussell says

      Melody, thank you! You are so sweet!

      Please do feel to pipe in an share any tips that have worked for you, too! (And that would go for anyone else who teaches classes, too!)

      • says

        I do include a short section at the end of some of my favorite non-couponing methods of saving money and have people really interested in those. For example: chicken from Zaycon Foods, the CSA we belong to, online shopping, cash back sites, Swagbucks.

        I know several people at my last class were there mainly to see what this craze brought on by that EC-monster was all about. I could tell that just by the questions they were asking. They were the ones that were the most interested in the non-couponing methods, oddly enough.

        • arussell says

          I now have a slide on Extreme Couponing, too. ;) I tell people if they came to learn “extreme couponing,” sorry, they are in the wrong class. ;)

  2. Julie says

    I just started having a running loop for guests to look at before the regular presentation starts, and I’ve gotten pretty positive feedback.
    Mine addresses some of the common objections people have for using coupons. For example, one slide says “Aren’t coupons only for junk food?” and has pictures of all kinds of healthy foods that can be nearly free with coupons.

  3. says

    do you charge $ for your classes?

    once you get your presentation on power point, are there locations with projectors that you can borrow?

    • arussell says

      Clara, I do charge for my classes. ;)

      I feel I give away so much for free – including live webcasts – here at the blog. ;)

      I feel justified in charging for my classes because it’s above and beyond what I offer here. It also takes considerable time & effort to assemble a coupon class. Plus, there are costs involved with gas and sometimes childcare.

      You can see more about what I charge and my classes here:
      http://thecouponproject.com/getting-started/coupon-classes

      As far as the projector goes, I have found most places that have booked me have one available. You could also look at renting one, I suppose, if you were interested. If I didn’t have one, I’d be looking for easy visuals to bring.

  4. Kristy J. says

    I currently attend a community college and the counselors have asked if i would be willing to do a class for the school. I am really nervous about this because I have only been seriously couponing for about 6 months now, what do you think?

  5. shauna says

    Thank you soo much for this! I am going to be teaching a coupon class and this has been so helpfull to me!
    The company that I am going to be doing my classes out of is asking that I show proof of Business insurance..I have been having trouble gettng an insurance company to insure me because they are not familiar with this feild (Do you opperate with business insurance? any tips?) thank you so much for any feedback!

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