Nine Tips for Successful Workshops

December 4, 2015

Eureka! Your genius just struck and you have an awesome idea for a workshop. But how do you share that special wisdom effectively with others?

We’ve outlined our nine favorite tips for creating successful workshops below.

Before the Workshop

#1: Create a Simple Outline

Planning is key for any effective presentation; however, it’s important to find the balance between “going with the flow” and micromanaging every minute of your time. Creating a thirteen page plan that breaks down every minute of your workshop will only make you anxious and overwhelm your workshop participants. Instead, devise a simple outline that touches on the important points you want to deliver. Try to limit yourself to five topics. The less time you have, the fewer topics you should focus on.

#2: Add Visuals

People learn in many different ways. While some may absorb information from a simple lecture or discussion, not everyone will benefit from this sort of presentation. Incorporate visuals like PowerPoint slides, props, models, videos, etc. to ensure all workshop participants can learn in their unique way.

#3: Plan an Activity or Hands-On Experience

In addition to adding visuals to your workshop, consider creating a short activity to facilitate experiential learning. For example, if you’re doing a workshop on communication, you may want to try a 30 second public speaking exercise or five minute writing prompt.

#4: Practice

Prior to the live workshop, make sure to practice a few times to not only get comfortable with the material but to go through how you present it. Instead of trying to memorize a script, practice each piece of the workshop separately—the introduction, the main points and the conclusion. After you feel comfortable with each piece, practice how you’ll transition between them.

During the Workshop

#5: Set Expectations

At the beginning of your workshop, share your outline with your participants—in written form or verbally. Walk them through what you’ll cover and what they can expect to know by the end of your time together. By setting their expectations, you’ll better prepare your participants so they aren’t surprised or disappointed by the workshop.

#6: Ask for Feedback

At some point during the workshop, ask for feedback—especially if the workshop is more than an hour long. A perfect time to do so is before or after a break. Soliciting feedback allows you to gauge the room: are your participants understanding the information? Is there something you need to spend more time on? Do they have any questions?
Asking for feedback can be a bit difficult to do if you’re teaching a workshop online. Since online training is usually much shorter, create a mini-break halfway through and ask your participants to virtually submit questions. Some platforms even allow for your participants to “raise their hands” or send in feedback through a quick poll.

#7: Keep an Eye on the Time

Time management is crucial to successful workshops. Periodically check the time to ensure you’re getting through all of the content you’ve planned. For example, if your workshop covers three main points or topics, you’ll want to spend one third of your time on each topic to cover them equally. Practicing your workshop in advance can also help so you anticipate how much time you’ll need on each topic or activity.

After the Workshop

#8: Ask for Feedback (Again!)

Yes, you read correctly—ask for feedback again after the workshop is over. Send out a short survey to participants with simple questions about what they learned, if they would recommend it to a friend and if they have any suggestions for future workshops. Their feedback can help you continually tweak and adjust your course to make it more enjoyable and effective.

#9: Reconnect with Your Participants

Keep in touch with the participants of your workshops and get to know them better by connecting with them on social media or via email. By establishing personal, authentic relationships, you can slowly build a following of people who are interested in what you have to offer because they’re interested in you. And, more importantly, you can create long-lasting friendships and a stronger yoga community.


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