successful workshopping | first lessonsPosted: May 4, 2013
What did I learn from my first ever workshop? How did I make it successful?
Here’s a few tidbits that I thought I’d share from my January 2013 workshop. Things that worked, and things to improve.
Things that worked:
- Survey for Success – I sent out a free SurveyMonkey survey to the participants to get to now them and their interests better. The survey was only a few questions long so that it would be easy to complete. It helped me get related to them quicker since I knew a bit about them. The opening survey worked really well. I also sent out a survey after the workshop was complete to get some feedback but only 2 out of 5 responded – something to improve!
- Be Authentic – You’re you. Why try to be anyone else? If you’re not into helping to develop others, or aren’t a people person – perhaps you shouldn’t be delivering workshops? I felt 100% at ease and was honest when I was giving opinion versus facts. Let people know that there’s nothing wrong with a little #fail.
- Ask Strategic Questions – Figure out what people are interested in. Find out what they want to know more about. Discover what information will most likely produce the results they’re looking for.
- Offer Information in small chunks – Too much information can be overwhelming. It can be hard to retain. I kept thing manageable by giving participants things to think about and then time to put their new knowledge into practice. Information + practice = retention.
- Have a Plan, Be Ready to Change it – I had a general sequence I wanted to go through with the participants based on the survey I sent. I kept a close watch on everyone to see how they were doing with the tasks I suggested and their overall motivation during different sections. Sometimes we stayed in a location longer than planned, and other times we moved on quickly. I felt it out and think I got a good balance.
- Keep the Group-size Manageable – I chose to open the workshop up to 5 participants, because I knew I could manage this many people and also make sure they had a great experience. I could maybe fit a couple more in, but not at the expense of the experience for each individual.
- Have Fun – Do I seriously have to explain this one?
Things to improve:
- Timing – Its hard to be sure about this, since I only got 2 responses to my post-workshop survey, but it seems like the timing could have been better. It was an easy time for people to fit into their schedule which was a good thing. I could have started it earlier to leave a bit more light, especially since this wasn’t a tripod workshop.
- Niche it up – Offering a variety of workshops that tailor to certain niches would allow me to really get to focus in on the skills and techniques that would allow people to reach their goal. This is based on feedback from one of the participants and I agree wholeheartedly.
- Clear Outcomes – There was a few outcomes that I was unsuccessful in achieving. This was because I wasn’t 100% clear on what I wanted the participants to get out of their experience. Of course what the participant is looking for is important here and I feel that targeted workshops would facilitate this.
Do you have any advice to share from your own experiences of running OR attending a workshop?