It seems as if we are in workshop mania--there everywhere and nowhere. The choices are overwhelming to say the least.

If you teach you want yours to stand out. Many workshops are fabulous and well worth the investment, when they're not trying to provide you with everything. They're really only meant to provide insight or introduce a new skill set. 

Q: What should be the intention of a workshop?

A: Workshops should provide a short intensive overview on a subject. In general they are only intended to introduce or freshen up techniques or ideas. 

They're not time intensive. When I teach my communication workshops they are on the shorter side time wise (although shorter could be anywhere from 60 minutes to a weekend long bootcamp). 

I think the following 3 steps are important to keep in mind when teaching workshops.

They should be:

  • Casual: There should be a good deal of group discussion that takes place either with the entire room or in break out sessions. A workshop is not the place to just teach from the front of the room on a white board. Encourage people to join in on the "conversation" and give them time to react. Workshops are over in a blink of eye, learners should walk away with a feeling of empowerment, and that they were part of the overall process. 
  • Interactive: Learners need to be active in the process. Engage them with thought-provoking questions and allow them to gently influence the direction of the workshop. Also, they should have a chance to practice the techniques, skills, etc. that are being taught. Being able to practice a skill is an invaluable experience. 
  • Contained. A workshop is often meant to stand on it's own, unlike a more in-depth course that may have coaching, homework, reading and other scheduled times to meet. Although, feel free to end the workshop with handouts and suggest further resources, and it's also the perfect time to let learners know about what you offer in addition. 

Love to hear your thoughts! 

Check out my PPT where I go into a little more detail.