How to Build a Successful Event Workshop

Over the past few years we’ve seen an increase in the number of event workshops our clients are choosing to run. Big ticket speakers are replaced with smaller inspirational workshop leaders, and large conference venues are replaced by intimate meeting rooms, all in the name of increased delegate interaction. And while that makes perfect sense in theory, in reality the decision to switch your traditional conference out for a more familiar and informal space doesn’t guarantee more participation.

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While it might take place in a smaller space, planning a workshop definitely isn’t a smaller job. Planning a successful event workshop takes organisation, focus, a lot of creativity, and when done wrong, can be a big waste of time and money. So, how do you ensure that they’re not only valuable for everyone involved, but are also presented in a way that invites participation?

Building a successful event workshop.

Start with your goals.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – defining your event goals and objectives from the very start is imperative to a successful event, and this is especially true when it comes to workshops. Make sure that you know exactly why the workshop is taking place, what you hope to get out of it and build the content around that.

Ensure it’s what your audience actually wants.

Just because you switch your event into an interactive format, doesn’t mean that everyone will immediately start interacting. Keep the event goal in mind, and structure the workshops in a way that will actually provide value for those attending. If the end result is something that will benefit the people there, they’ll have a vested interest in adding to it, and they’re far more likely to step up to the participation plate.

Pick the right facilitator.

Not everybody loves speaking in public, and a workshop without someone strong at its helm is bound to dissolve into chaos and not deliverable output. If you’re running several workshops at once then you’ll want to appoint a good leader for each one, or if you’re running the same workshop with different audiences over several sessions, ensure you pick a facilitator that can handle presenting the same content a few times without losing steam. Don’t be afraid to be picky about your facilitators, because the right one can make all the difference to a really successful workshop.

Begin with some ice breakers.

We get it – ice breakers can be cheesy and awkward. But, they exist for a reason. Beginning a workshop session with an introductory activity can go a long way to making people feel relaxed and comfortable, and it’s also a good way for the facilitator to get a feel for the crowd and the personalities it’s made of. Choose your ice breakers wisely – you want something that’ll loosen everybody up, but which won’t make them feel silly, and the perfect ice breaker will also be relevant to the workshop. Lastly, have fun with it! Ice breakers aren’t meant to be serious.

What’s Next?

Make sure you have a next step in mind – this can be invaluable in getting insights/information but then you need to be prepared to act on them – otherwise it can end up with converse effect of teams being even more dissolution. At the end of the day, an event workshop can be a hugely valuable and successful experience for both your team and your attendees. Just remember to keep your core goals at the heart of everything you do, and you’re guaranteed a winner.
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