The following article is a guest post.
Workshops have a number of different functions for businesses and business people. One thing is for certain, though: if you want to be successful in your field, you’re going to need to plan a good workshop.
Workshops help you impart your knowledge, increase your profile- and they make you money.
Why Run a Workshop?
To help people learn and advance in their field, nothing compares to a workshop. They’re way more engaging than a lecture, and have more diverse functions.
If you’re a management consultant, a workshop is a great way to set out a plan for your client and help them acquire the tools they need to make their business develop and grow.
If you run a business and have taken on new staff, a workshop can help them get up to speed on everything they need to function well in your working environment. Furthermore, it will help the new team members feel immediately engaged and welcomed. It shows you that you care about their development.
If you advertise your workshop as a method of acquiring skills in a field, imparted from an experienced mentor, you can increase your profile and make a nice amount of money. However, for the workshop to be a hit, it has to be good.
Here are five tips on how to run a successful workshop.
1. Don’t Lecture.
The clue is in the name: it’s a workshop, not a lecture.
This means that people want to be engaged and active. People may have signed up to this above a lecture because the more traditional format just does not work for them.
Don’t just talk to people for three hours, or they won’t be enthusiastic about your program, and they won’t come back. Plan activities and get people involved, and keep them engaged.
2. Keep It Small.
More people in your workshop means more money. But if you think like that, people in your workshop will feel it, and they’ll walk away feeling like mere cash cows. That’s not good for establishing a good reputation, or generating repeated custom.
For inhouse workshops, where the imperative is to train, a workshop that’s too big means they you don’t adequately impart the skills you need for your staff to develop.
A workshop shouldn’t really be much bigger than twenty. If you’ve gone over twenty-five, you’ve oversold.
Smaller groups facilitate better networking between participants. It helps them make connections, and it allows you to devote enough time to each individual.
With smaller groups you can address everyone’s concerns and needs, and have a little one on one time with everyone; helping them get the most out of it.
3. Make It Interactive.
Interactivity can involve lots of things; even a simple group discussion is interactive. A way to facilitate the discussion fairly is to make sure no one dominates the discussion, so everyone can engage.
New developments in technology allow for a different kind of interactive engagement. Use a tool like an Event App to help engage your participants in real time, inviting them to view resources and participate in poll- and get live feedback.
4. Focus on Results-Based Activities.
To create a workshop where people feel they’ve achieved by the time they leave, focus on results-based activities.
Every activity or plan should have some sort of goal; either participants will have acquired new skills by the end of the workshop, laid the groundwork to developing new skills, or they’ll walk away without a lot of new ideas.
The best day to do that is with activities that have a clear learning objective, and simple steps on how to get there.
5. Use Diverse Resources.
By the time your workshop is done, the room should look like there’s been a workshop in it. This means lots of different resources need to be employed throughout your workshop.
The most basic is a whiteboard, to provide a visible focal point. Then there needs to be papers, pens, charts, graphs, interactive quiz sheets… The more diverse the resources, the more likely you are to keep even the most wandering of minds engaged.
Now that you know what’s necessary to run a successful workshop, you’re ready to start planning it.