Workshop info

5 Steps to Running a Successful Workshop

by Philip Bradbury

Henry Brooks Adams said, “A teacher affects eternity – he can never tell where his influence stops.”

A workshop is a life-changing opportunity for everyone. Some attendees may learn nothing but may meet someone important to their future. Some attendees may feel they’ve learned nothing but, years later, that workshop information aids them. No matter what we do to help the learning, it is up to attendees whether they take up the opportunity or not.
So, let’s make it as amazing as possible but not get too upset if some attendees don’t see the value that everyone else did – be a little gentle with yourself. Let’s see what we can do to make it an amazing event, anyway!

1. Preparation
Be there early, set up, make sure you have more than you need for attendees (paper, pens, crayons, seats, desks, food and drink) and make sure all the equipment you need works – overhead projector, data-show, whiteboard pens and duster (eraser), microphone, music, wall posters, your advertising material for your next workshops, your business cards, assessment forms.

2. Welcome
Introduce yourself to every attendee as they come in (or have someone in your team do this) as they’re coming into your space, your “home”. As guests, they’re unsure, fearful even. Start relaxing them before the workshop starts and they’ll participate earlier on. This makes it easier for you… and them!
Start with an ice-breaker (see my article called Running Workshops – Great Ice-Breakers) so they can feel more comfortable with you, the other attendees and the venue.

3. Learning styles
They say that we all learn via one of seven ways. You will have a learning style and if it’s, say, talking, you’ll prefer standing and talking. Those who do not learn best that way (six sevenths of your group) will find it difficult to keep focused if that’s all you do. Try to have as many different styles catered for by having:


  • Auditory – facilitator talks.
  • Visual – whiteboard, powerpoint or some visual presentation.
  • Music – soft, background music playing at the start and during breaks.
  • Kinesthetic – action activities.
  • Group – small-group discussions.Meditative – time for quiet, solo consideration.
  • Verbal – opportunity for them to address the group.
  • It may be hard to incorporate all these learning styles but the more you have interspersed throughout, the more they will get from your presentation.

4. Ending
Have a way for people to acknowledge each other – maybe they each write their name on a piece of paper and it gets passed around for everyone else to write a positive comment (anonymous or otherwise) on.

5. Assessments
Don’t forget to have assessments forms completed – how else will you know how to improve next time? See my article Running Workshops – How to Get the Right Feedback and What to Do With it.

I am a writer with business qualifications and experience…I am a qualified accountant (BBS ACA) and have been a company director and business owner, university lecturer, business coach and corporate trainer. Then I was a newspaper reporter. Then I was editor and then publisher (owner) of a national, monthly magazine for several years. I have 9 published books – 6 paper ones and 3 ebooks on SmashWords website. And now I am a freelance writer, writing for clients in Australia, Czech Republic, Norway, Germany, Romania, Arabia, Britain and America…

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