Running a workshop for your staff or business acquaintances is a great way of bouncing new ideas off one another, learning in new ways and gaining support. However, it can be a very daunting task to stand up in front of others and deliver a well-produced workshop that will reach out to everyone. This article will help you to plan a great workshop that will have the participants looking forward to the next!
What do you want to achieve?
This needs to be your first question. Before you invite your participants, before you start writing ideas and before you start to book in guest speakers or demonstrations etc. You need to work out what this workshop is going to deliver to everyone attending. If you intend on running these once a month you may want to theme each workshop to allow a focus on development across the board. You may be running this for your staff and want to focus on a particular area of your business that needs growth or improvement. This is purely down to you and it needs to be thought about thoroughly in order to be successful on the day.
Who do you invite?
Once you have your plan in place you need to think about who would benefit from your workshop. Hopefully, most people will benefit from your day and you won’t struggle to find participants. We all need to brush up on techniques to be able to improve in our jobs and even those who have been doing the role for many years still need refresher courses to keep them up to date. Do not overlook somebody who you may think won’t take anything away from the day, they may be surprised at what you have to say and find a new way of working or developing themselves. These people may also have something to bring to the table themselves and having them there may benefit others.
In order to plan your workshop, you will need to organise your timings and before you can do this you will need to have a clear idea of who else may speak on the day. Would your workshop benefit from having another expert in the field speaking? Would you offer mini-sessions from other business owners? Do you need to allocate times for product demonstrations? All of these will break up your speech, they will keep your listeners engaged and make the day much more interactive.
Are you planning on having set activities during your workshop? I would lean towards this being a positive for your participants and including icebreakers at the start of the day to help everybody to relax and get to know one another. Your activities could include:
- Sharing areas where people struggle in business
- Sharing best practices
- Working as a team to put together a marketing scheme
- Working as a team to create a presentation
- Providing problem-solving tasks
Prepare your booklets, handouts activities and so on before the day and put these in order ready for handing out at the correct times and during the right sessions. It never hurts to be over-prepared.
This is where you will need to sit down and plan exactly how you want your session to run. You will probably have a set number of hours that you will need to adhere to so this will give you your starting point. You need to include an introduction to yourself, the day, thank everyone for attending and explain what will be taking place. You may also want to give time for everybody else to introduce themselves and explain what they do. This can end up taking up more time than you would imagine so take into consideration how many people will be attending to work out approximately how long this section will take.
Divide each talk/session up and work out how much time you would like to focus on these topics. Which ones may create discussion? Which ones can be rushed through? Which ones will create chatter/laughter etc? You may also want to consider which session could be easily dropped if you run over time on another one. If one session is popular and proves to be getting the participant’s juices flowing allow this to happen, it will be more beneficial to spend extra time on an area like this rather than rushing through to get everything you planned in. You can always send a follow-up email with anything that was missed or run it into another workshop.
Once you have your plan and speech you will need to rehearse this with a timer. This is where you can edit sections down and work out which areas are worth keeping or deciding which ones, if any, could be cut. If you are tied to an end time and need to leave a venue you will want your timings to be as sharp as possible.
I would most definitely use a presentation on a screen to get your points across. Online presentations are so easy to put together now that you don’t need to be a graphic design whizz to create something outstanding. A presentation can do so much for you; you can include images, videos, text, animation and fun transitions that will all have your audience pulled in and engaged. You can even live stream your video from sites such as YouTube.
Presbee offers a wide range of ready to use templates so if you haven’t got that design flair to create your own you can simply adapt an existing one on their site. And once your presentation is set up you can even share it online, via social media, with particular colleagues or clients or keep it private ready to showcase at your workshop.
Create the buzz
Your main goal of the day is to ensure that everybody goes away having taken something away with them that they can utilise in their job. The way to achieve this is to make sure that your day has a constant buzz about it. The room needn’t be serious and lacklustre, it needs to be fun and positive with action points made and a buzz created amongst those who attend. They need to leave the room feeling empowered and ready to take on the world. Give them the right ideas and tools and they can develop their own roles or business.
Follow-up emails show that you care about your employees/clients/colleagues and that you have a vested interest in them and their role. Say thank you, recap what happened on the day and attach relevant documents for them to use. You could also send the online presentation as a refresher for them to refer to at any point.
Good luck with your workshop and let us know if you have any points to add