Planning a Workshop? Tips for beginners

Life in the office is more than just sitting in front of your computer. Workshops are a good way of hearing people’s views and receiving feedback, as well as teaching participants practical skills, techniques, or about ideas that they can use, not only in their work, but also in their daily lives. Workshops create an educational experience in a short amount of time and are useful tools when certain circumstances arise, such as the beginning of something new, the demonstration of a new concept, initial training of staff and volunteers and updates on their development. If you are facing your first workshop do not panic, here are some tips to help you to prepare a good one!

When not done well, workshops can be a waste of time and money, therefore, you should take into account the following points in your planning:

#1 Goals: Every workshop must have a goal on which you focus, otherwise, there is no point in getting people together.

#2 Participants: Your target group is directly related to your objective so be specific when you decide who will attend, but leave a few openings for last-minute additions.

#3 Location: You have to be conscious about the number of attendants you will have, the logistics you may need and practical details such as the visibility of your visual aids.

#4 Agenda: After having cleared the previous points you can start to develop an outline of how you will achieve your goals. You will have to record the main points of your workshop with some details you want to communicate to the audience, list the visual aids you will use, if any, and be specific about the details of your group discussions and activities, considering the time you have available.

#5 Follow-up plan: It is essential that you find out the participants’ opinions about your workshop. Even if sometimes they are not positive, they will help you to learn from your mistakes and improve for the next time. Another important point is to have a plan to communicate the decisions that were reached during the workshop. And if your ultimate goal is to make a decision about something, remember that the more people who attend, the less likely it is that you will reach a decision, so you have to reduce your audience and be selective.

Once you have figured these points out and you have a solid plan, your only concern will be adding some excitement into your activity, since getting the attendants involved is the key to a successful workshop. If you organise the event by splitting them into groups, it is important that you mix different types of people in each group. Also, keep in mind that some people become nervous when speaking in front of an audience, therefore, in order to make them feel more comfortable interacting, you can keep the size of each group small.

In conclusion, the centre of all your planning should be the workshop’s main goal. Do not forget to keep the exercises creative to help everyone relax and to encourage them to get involved, and that in the follow-up afterwards you will be able to correct any little mistakes you may have made. And remember, the more detailed your plan, the more it ensures that your workshop will be on time and be successful.

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