How to conduct a workshop

Geological Challenges in Radioactive Waste Isolation – Fifth Worldwide Review

Geological Challenges in Radioactive Waste Isolation – Fifth Worldwide Review

The overall objective of the Fifth Worldwide Review (WWR-5) Workshop is to summarize the experience and lessons learned documented in the Fifth Worldwide Review Report, and to establish future cooperation/collaboration between the participating countries pursuing geological disposal programs.

The Workshop will include oral presentations of the countries, followed by group discussions of the materials. The materials of the group discussions will be summarized as individual chapters and included in the final edition of the Fifth Worldwide Review report, which will be issued after the workshop (see all Worldwide Review reports). The Fifth Worldwide Review report will be published as an e-book, and the Oxford Research Encyclopedia (ORE) will publish an article-summary of the report which will feature links to individual chapters of the report.

In particular, the presentations will include the following types of information: the current status of the deep geological repository programs for high nuclear waste and low- and intermediate nuclear waste and in each of the countries, concepts of siting and radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel management in different countries (with the emphasis of nuclear waste disposal under different climatic conditions and different geological formations), progress in repository site selection and site characterization, technology development, buffer/backfill materials studies and testing, support activities, programs, and projects, international cooperation, and future plans, as well as regulatory issues and transboundary problems.

  • Contact
    • Boris Faybishenko | (510) 486-4852
    • [email protected]

A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Managed by the University of California

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory · Earth and Environmental Sciences Area

How to conduct a workshop

Nov 14, 2017 · 7 min read

How to conduct a workshop

Cooking the perfect dinner for your friends once doesn’t make you a chef.

Serving the same quality dish night by night requires quality ingredients, skills, creativity, flexibility, practice and knowing your recipe by heart.

The same goes for running and facilitating workshops. Successful workshops are barely a matter of luck or your participants’ individual taste. They are the result of carefully planning and crafting an experience, applying tools and techniques and complying with rules and principles.

How many times have you walked out of a workshop and asked yourself: «Why have I just wasted eight hours of my life? What was the point?»

There are t echniques, rules and tools you want to embrace and apply. Some might seem obvious and elementary. Nevertheless, people ignore or violate them over and over again. Thus, here are 11 ingredients that you can use.

How to conduct a workshop

As with any product or service that is meant to serve people a workshop is no different. You are providing an experience to people and everyone wants to get some use out of it. Find out who’s attending your workshop and what these people’s needs and pain points are related to the workshop. They are what you want to address.

How to conduct a workshop

There is nothing worse than wasting your and other people’s time. So don’t. Define and agree on why you meet in the first place. Set a clear vision and measurable goals. Make them transparent or even have attendees collaboratively agree on them. This will help you stay focused and measure success at the end of a workshop.

A team canvas can help you define a vision, goals, values, rules and roles.

Team Canvas – Bring Your Team on the Same Page

The Team Canvas is Business Model Canvas for teamwork. It is a free tool for leaders, facilitators and consultants to…

How to conduct a workshop

It’s great to know where you want to go but you don’t want to get lost and stuck on the way. You don’t have to plan through every minute of your workshop but set topics or milestones. Providing a structure helps people to stay focused and orient themselves. Here is a potential structure:

Make your agenda permanently visible during a workshop – e.g. on a whiteboard. Use Post-it®’s to outline the agenda. This leaves you with the flexibility to adjust it on the go. In addition, flipping a post-it when you are done is a great way to convey a sense of achievement.

How to conduct a workshop

Send your participants a rough agenda prior to the workshop. This helps them prepare and provides transparency.

Ice breakers and energisers involve people and keep them in a good mood. This is especially beneficial if you are dealing with topics, not everyone is familiar with or if people need to get to know one another. There are countless ways to apply ice-breakers and energisers. Here are two links:

Ice breakers

The 10 Best Ice Breaker Activities for Any Work Event

Are you interested in trying out some of my best ice breaker activities? These top ten ice breaker activities are not…


Methods & Tools curated by Hyper Island

This is a resource for anyone who wants to do things more creatively and collaboratively in their team or organization…

An ice breaker I love is «phototelling». Here’s a version I use and tweak based on the context (check the tool called «phototelling» in the link below):

Hyper Island & Teamweek

Are you on a brand new team? Does your current team need a boost? The #HITeamweek tools for teams toolbox provides…

A workshop is a place for people to collaborate. Make sure everyone has the same understanding of how to do so. Set some rules and have everybody agree on them or create them together. I have been using these:

How to conduct a workshop

Once again the team canvas can help.

Team Canvas — Bring Your Team on the Same Page

The Team Canvas is Business Model Canvas for teamwork. It is a free tool for leaders, facilitators and consultants to…

An important part of ending a workshop is recapping what you have done and what you have achieved. This sums up your workshop and helps you measure of why you have come together in the first place. Reflect on your workshop from a content, a process and a personal perspective. Let people share their thoughts and provide their feedback. After all, you want to learn from your attendees and constantly improve your workshops. Furthermore, you convey a feeling of caring, personal interest and involvement. A number of great reflection and feedback tools and techniques may be found here:

Reflection: Team

Create a welcoming, calm, and quiet space for the session to take place. You might want to start with a check-in to…

Feedback: I appreciate.

Regular, effective feedback is one of the most important ingredients in building constructive relationships and…

How to conduct a workshop

I love this one!

Even when following a strict agenda you often find yourself getting lost in detail discussion or being carried away. Thus, you lose focus and get off track in your quest to reach your goal. Setup a «parking lot». This is nothing else but a space called «parking lot». You jot down thoughts, questions or ideas that are off-topic or cannot be handled during the workshop but need to be tackled at some point.

Regular breaks are essential and boost our productivity. Ever wondered why TED talks usually last around 18–20min? It’s because this is considered the maximal amount of time we can pay attention to someone speaking. There might be input talks during your workshop. Keep them short or break them up with participative activities or discussions. The same goes for actual work. After all, you are in a WORKshop. Make sure you put in breaks. Buffer’s published a great piece presenting multiple concepts of taking breaks such as the Pomodoro cycle.

Many of us are currently facing the challenge of turning an in-person workshop into a virtual one. Whereas many facilitators are incredibly good at leading a group of people in a physical space, virtual facilitation can bring a new set of concerns and questions to the table. The same rules still apply to facilitating any workshop — there needs to be a purpose and a goal with everything as well as a carefully planned timeline.

Common challenges with virtual workshop facilitation

1. How to activate people and create a relaxed and trust-filled environment in a digital workshop?

When a group meets in person, it may be a little tricky at first, but usually, discussions start to flourish and people feel more relaxed over time. Brainstorming and post-it exercises take place, alternatives are discussed, and sometimes, even decisions are made. But what happens when the group meets virtually?

If we translate this example into a virtual workshop, many times I hear people say that there is not as much activity. “People do not participate in the same way.” “Nobody is engaged or seems willing to contribute.” I often asks facilitators if they planned the process as well in the digital space as they did in the physical. Do they facilitate the process in the same way that they would do if they were with the group in front of them? Are they asking the same questions and using the same methods and approaches to create engagement?

In virtual workshops, it’s even more important that you make the participants feel safe and secure to start the dialogue. Therefore, don’t oversee the importance of the traditional check-ins. One way to do this is to pose a short question that’s easy to answer from a personal perspective. People need to get warmed up. Also, if you are in a video meeting, make sure you have the same rules for everyone. For example, instruct participants to keep their cameras on or off and when they have the opportunity to speak. With the tools of today, you are still able to make use of your well-earned skills of facilitation.

2. How to manage the tools? Which are the right tools to use?

It’s important that you as a facilitator feel like you have control and understanding of the tools you are using. As we all know, there are plenty of choices in workshop tools. The combination we tend to favor is any video conferencing tool that you feel comfortable with, like Zoom, Teams or Hangouts, but also an addition (and separate) digital facilitation platform. In big workshops, when everyone tries to take turns sharing their thoughts and experiences on a video call, it will end up with a lot of participants just staying quiet. It’s a good idea to mix different methods just like you would in a live setting. Which questions are best answered in polls or multiple choice? Is talking more effective for the question at hand or writing? Post ideas, cluster them, and create groups based on them. Vote and prioritize on ideas in real-time.

Make sure to have a script of what happens when and with which tool, and clearly communicate that to participants as well. Test new things and tool combinations beforehand with a colleague or a friend so that you can start the workshop relaxed and with a plan in mind.

3. How to hold people’s focus and attention for the whole virtual workshop?

Maybe you can’t. And that’s why I would never suggest turning a full-day live workshop into a digital one, as is. Instead, it’s better to have a plan based on smaller interventions mixed with shorter synchronous video calls. In general, people tend to have a shorter attention span when it comes to working in a digital environment. It’s also much harder to tell how the energy in the group is. Mix things up with a higher frequency than usual, even during a 1-hour video session.

It’s also valuable to think about what the participants can do beforehand to be able to start effectively when you have shared time online. Can you take some parts of the discussions in smaller teams, or maybe have smaller groups discuss in writing on a facilitation platform based on their own interests?

It’s very important to set clear expectations

You need to facilitate each digital interaction as much as you would if you met face-to-face. What is your meeting culture for online interaction? Maybe you haven’t talked about that.

Leading in the digital space is not the same as leading in the physical. It can definitely have the same purpose and goals, but it still requires some new type of skills and insights on what works and what doesn’t.

If you’d like to explore the world of digital facilitation in more detail, go ahead and download our free eBook: Top 5 tips and tricks for powerful digital facilitation.

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The writing workshop is the heart of the successful writing classroom. In these workshops, instructors use student papers (in part or in whole) as the basis of discussion and instruction. Most classrooms at Dartmouth are smart classrooms, where student work can be projected from Blackboard or via a document camera. If you’re not in a smart classroom, you can share papers the old fashioned way (i.e., photocopy them).

Talking about student writing in class signals to your students that their writing is important. Treating student writing as one of the many course texts lets them know that they have, indeed, entered into the ongoing conversation of scholarship.

Guiding Principles

To run a successful writing workshop, you’ll want to read the materials we’ve posted regarding Active Learning, Collaborative Learning, and Diagnosing and Responding to Student Writing. The first explains how and why engaging students in writing workshops facilitates learning; the second offers several methods for teaching students how to respond to their peers’ writing; the third offers strategies for diagnosis and response that you can model in the writing workshops.

Conducting an engaging and constructive workshop draws on skills you already have as a discussion leader. However, if you’ve never critiqued student papers in class, you will discover that talking about student writing differs in some important ways from talking about the other readings in your class. First, the writer is in the room. Writing workshops must therefore be sensitively conducted. Second, the aim of the writing workshop is to enhance students’ authority and responsibility as readers and writers. The instructor must therefore facilitate rather than direct the discussion. Third, the writing workshop emphasizes the complex role of the reader in a writer’s process. Instructors will want to encourage readers to “out” their questions and concerns about a paper so that writers understand the myriad of responses their work has evoked. They will internalize this sense of audience and draw on it as they revise.

While every instructor will discover workshop methods that work for his or her particular classroom, we offer some proven strategies below.

We also have some guidelines for peer review that you might find useful.

Strategies for Success

  1. Ask students to post their papers on the Canvas discussion board so that you have easy access to them in class. The first time you run a workshop, you may want to review the essays before class and choose those that best illustrate the writing issues you’d like to discuss. As you and your students get more comfortable with workshopping, you can ask for volunteers when you arrive in class. If you’ve been running your workshops successfully, students will be eager to volunteer—they’ll have seen how helpful the process is and will want the “leg up” that an in-class critique can offer.
  2. Model the methods that you want your students to use to diagnose and respond to their classmates’ work. If you like the methods that we recommend on the pages we linked to above, model these methods and discuss why you think they work. For instance, if you want students to practice the Common Reader method, take the time to walk them through that method and explain to them what you expect them to gain. Using simple, clearly articulated methods of response like these prevents students from offering unproductive comments like “I liked it!” or “It’s really good!” rather than providing solid analysis.
  3. Ensure that this process is student-driven. After reading the paper aloud, ask students to offer their perspectives before you offer your own. If you’ve modeled diagnosis and response methods for them, you shouldn’t encounter any awkward silences. If you do, you can ask students to take a moment and jot down their responses. Or you can instruct them to turn to the classmate next to them and chat about the paper before reconvening the group for discussion. As a last resort, return to the model and walk them through it again. Resist the temptation to take over the critique. Instead, facilitate, asking questions and summing up, as necessary.
  4. Engage students first in a discussion of what’s good about the paper. Student writers are more open to criticism of their papers once they’ve received positive feedback. They also need to know what they’re doing right before they tackle what they’re doing wrong. Be sure that you offer your praise before moving on to the critique.
  5. Insist that students be respectfully and critically engaged with the paper. Generally, you won’t encounter students who are out to hurt one another during peer critiques. Indeed, instructors more often find that they have a hard time getting students to offer comments that are even gently critical. To avoid comments that are too harsh or too soft, show your students that you are both respectfully and critically engaged with student work, and they will respond in kind.
  6. Encourage differences of opinion. Don’t get nervous if conversation heats up. It’s important for student writers to understand that readers respond differently. You’ll want to explore why, exactly, these responses are different. Writers will have to sort from among the readers’ opinions and make choices as they revise.
  7. Be sure to give students suggestions for how to improve their papers. Students are not eager to participate in critiques that limit themselves to what’s wrong with a paper. They will, however, be eager to hear what, specifically, they can do to make their papers better. If the introduction isn’t working, ask the class to come up with other strategies. If the thesis is muddled, suggest alternatives. In other words, offer students a “pay-off” for submitting to the class critique. Students will soon see that having their papers workshopped is a valuable experience.

Nuts and Bolts

Frequency of Use. Instructors often ask how much class time they should devote to writing workshops. We have no rule about how often writing workshops should be held. Most instructors hold them the day a first draft is due, in order to facilitate the revision process. Some use them more frequently early in the term, when student writers are most in need of instruction, and then taper off as the term goes on.

Supporting Collaborative Learning. Some instructors who use Collaborative Learning methods (like peer editing groups) see the writing workshop as a way of modeling peer critique strategies for their students. Once students understand these strategies, they can work independently. Instructors who use Canvas can monitor their students’ critiques on the discussion board. Others hold conferences with the editing groups, in order to make sure that all students are giving thoughtful, constructive advice to their peers.

Efficient Use of Class Time. If you’re concerned about the amount of time it takes to workshop papers in class, consider workshopping parts of papers. You can workshop students’ questions, thesis sentences, introductions, body paragraphs, or conclusions. Working with smaller parts allows you to discuss the work of several different students, and to address several different kinds of writing problems.

How to conduct a workshopConducting a successful workshop requires hours of long planning. If you are someone who has conducted several workshops you must know how having a general template can save many hours and direct all your time, energy, and focus on the content you want to present.

This is a workshop proposal template that will tell you exactly what should be in your planning checklist, what you need to arrange, what should be the interactive workshop activities, how to market your workshop; all in all how to conduct a successful workshop.

When you follow up on this template you will only have to fill it or customize it for future workshops, saving your time and energy.

Workshop goal

This is the first thing you need to clarify: what is exactly what you are trying to achieve from the workshop? For example, if you want to conduct a workshop on health and safety awareness in your company, your goal should be: all employees have a better understanding of health and safety.

Who will attend?

This is to decide who your target participants are and who can benefit from this workshop. For the example mentioned above, all the company employees would be the participants.

How many participants?

This depends very much on your workshop goal(s). For example, if your goal is to raise awareness about some topic, say “career counseling” then you would want many participants like parents, psychologists, teachers, and other professionals to be present.

However if your goal is to find a focused and detailed solution to a problem then fewer participants would be needed, around 10.

The venue of workshop and logistics

In order to pick a suitable venue for your workshop, you need to think of some logistics and the practicality of it. You need a venue big enough to accommodate everyone, the visual equipment, refreshments, and enough space for the facilitator to move about.

Ask yourself how convenient would it be for your participants and would they be able to reach the venue. You also need to think about what visual equipment you would need, how much space would it occupy, what additional devices would it need, and how much would the venue cost.

Consider what would be the seating arrangement, is it u-shaped or in rows? The U-shaped arrangement gives a lot of space for the visual equipment and promises maximum interaction as everyone can see you and you them but, this arrangement is not possible if there are 20 people or more.

You can decide on your seating arrangement by deciding upon the level of formality you want to maintain in the workshop; will the event be very formal or you plan it to be slightly informal.

Selecting the date

Make sure that your workshop date doesn’t clash with a holiday or pre-existing events for the primary people you want in your event. The timing of the workshop should be such that your target participants can make it on time.

Create an agenda

What should happen in your workshop, in what order, and how much time should each activity take? These are the questions you need to answer while making your event’s agenda.

Create a list outlining the 4-5 main points you want to discuss and break them down further. Try to be as specific as possible keeping in mind the total time of the workshop. You need to go as per agenda or else you cannot be able to limit your words and time.

List the visual aids (if you want) related to each of your main points. If someone’s going to provide technical support in carrying out visual aids, this would clear it out to that person.

During your workshop, if you want to distribute any handout or pamphlet or flyer regarding the title, list that too.

List the interactive workshop activities you want to conduct during the session. There can be a single activity or several activities as you go by explaining your main points or after that. These activities should require input or interaction with your participants. Keep in mind they are participants and not the audience.

Market the workshop

Now that you have arranged the venue, decided your target participants, and created a timeline for your workshop, you need those people to mark their calendars for your workshop.

There are several ways you can publicize your event. However you choose to market it, it must contain the title, date, time, address of the venue, facilitator’s name (if it will help), and contact information. You may also add a title or accomplishment of the facilitator (if any)

  • Make flyers (digital and printed) and post them in offices, or circulate them via email, or post it on your social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc)
  • Post it as an ad in your local newspaper
  • Word of the mouth certainly helps a lot. Ask your friends and family to spread the word
  • Bulletin


Feedback is a gift that you would want. Design a questionnaire to be handed out at the end of the session. It should ask the participants of their opinion on the workshop. This would help you in improving your role as a facilitator and in planning future workshops.

Follow up

Giving feedback to your participants about how their input helped accomplish the workshop goal can go a long way and is a key feature of a successful workshop. They should know how they contributed to the event.

Keep your participants updated about the actions you took after the workshop. This can be done again, by circulating emails to your participants or making a group of them on Facebook.

Workshop planning checklist

  • Facilitator available (if it isn’t you)
  • Got the venue
  • Got participants
  • Planned refreshments
  • Visual aid equipment
  • Presentation (if any) ready
  • Agenda ready
  • Feedback forms
  • Technical support

Role of Facilitator

If you are the workshop facilitator you should know your contribution would be extensive and this role would require you to do the following:

  • Read and research about your title and workshop goals
  • Lead all activities
  • Manage the participants during the event
  • Answer follow up questions from participants


Planning a workshop can seem like a hefty task, one where you have so much to plan and do. A workshop planning template like this one can save your planning time by more than 50% so that all that’s left to do is build confidence and collect content to give one impactful workshop. Good luck!

How to write a letter requesting for organising workshop at an institutions. Request for arranging staff training workshop in school. Training request letter. Sample letter formats of requesting to arrange training workshop for teachers at school. This format can extend a helping hand for the awaiting persons who wished to write a script to get themselves out of trouble.

Requesting Letter for Conducting Workshop

The Principal,
New Horizon Girls Campus,
California, United States of America.

Subject: Requesting to arrange training workshop for employees/ teachers at school

With due respect and honour it is to state that as you know this era is an era of modern technology that succumbs the world into globalization. We have to meet up with the existing standard and for that reason training are must to professionally develop our teachers for better products of students. Kindly arrange the respective work shop in the school as soon as possible. Thank you.

Mr. Jazz Martin,
16th December, 2017.

With utmost respect and honor, it is stated that character building society of this college wants to hold a workshop on importance of digital world. We want to introduce technology as the modern weapon. Our main focus is to enhance knowledge of students on importance of internet, mobile phone and how they can use it for their betterment. We will be emphasizing specifically on how to
earn by using technologies properly. These trainings are very significant for the students to shape them in early stages so they don’t indulge into dark side of digital world. For this idea to come into existence, we require your permission to conduct this workshop. Thank you.

Waiting your positive feedback.

Request for Arranging Staff Training Workshop

Elite High School,
Lahore, Pakistan

Subject: Request for arranging staff training workshop in school

It is stated that a need has been felt for holding a staff training workshop for teachers of secondary school this summer, your assistance in this matter is highly needed. The school has been teaching a new curriculum this past year, the books of Science and Mathematics have been found to contain certain complicated experiments that are not easily taught in a classroom.

To alleviate this problem the teachers have felt the need to arrange a workshop, senior teachers believe that a candid discussion among the faculty should take place so that all teachers are on the same page. Along with this the workshop should also contain feedback from the publishers, as we were informed during the transition phase to the new curriculum the publishers will be willing to assist us in our requirements.

Yours Truly,
Ms. Nigar Fatima
3 rd July, 2016.

How to conduct a workshop

Teaching a workshop is not only a great way to bring in some extra income for your studio.

Workshops also give you the opportunity to meet new people in the art world, gain exposure for your art business, beef up your contact list, stimulate your own creativity, improve your public speaking skills . and the list of benefits goes on.

But, you’ve never hosted a workshop before. So how do you actually go about setting up and teaching one?

Whether you’re wondering what lessons to demonstrate or how many students you should have in each class, we’ve rounded up eight tips for teaching your first artist workshop, so your students leave feeling satisfied and ready to sign up for more.

Teach Actual Techniques

Listen to this less than desirable workshop experience from watercolor artist Angela Fehr:

“Although I didn’t know it at the time, I had chosen a teacher who was more concerned with encouraging students’ creativity than actually teaching us how to paint. From that class, I learned not to waste my time with cheap supplies, and to paint from light to dark as a rule, but I was still pretty much uninstructed where actual techniques were concerned.”

Long story short: you don’t want your students feeling this way. You want workshop participants to go home feeling empowered with the new skills they gained and confident to apply them in their own work. A fun way to do this? Angela suggests having students create cheat sheets to help recall different techniques they’ve learned.

How to conduct a workshop

Complete a Full Piece

Don’t stop at techniques, either. Have students finish an entire piece so they feel more accomplished. Having the finished artwork with them when they go home will also give them a wonderful opportunity to discuss your workshop with friends and advertise your expertise to other potential students.

Plan and Practice

Now that you have the bulk of the teaching material nailed down, focus on the two big P’s—planning and practice—because winging it probably won’t cut it.

As for the planning, sketch out the most important lessons to teach and gather the right supplies. When you get ready to practice, call a friend to walk through demonstrations with, time yourself, and write down whatever you feel is necessary. While it may take some work up front, your preparation will pay off in the long run.

How to conduct a workshop

Cover Your Costs

Knowing what to charge for workshops can be a real pickle. To help, take a look at Art Biz Coach Alyson Stanfield’s post on what other artists are getting paid for teaching workshops, and try researching similar workshop costs in your area.

Just don’t forget to include the cost of supplies for each student in the fee, or else that cost will be left for you to cover. And, if you want to give more people the chance to attend your workshop, consider offering a payment plan for those who may not be able to afford the workshop costs all at once.

What’s next?

Promote Like a Pro

Once you have your workshop planned and ready to go, promotion is key! This means hitting up fans on social media, your blog, newsletters, online groups, at art fairs, and any other outlet you can think of to spread the word.

Erase any fears students may have of signing up by clearly stating the experience level needed for the class. Some artists have success with enrollment numbers by casting a wide net with workshops open to all skill levels, and others teach more advanced techniques that attract professionals from all over the country.

Keep the Class Size Small

Know your limits. This includes knowing how many people you can instruct at once. You want to be able to have one-on-one time to answer questions and provide guidance, where students aren’t begging for your attention.

This may mean starting off with as little as two or three students and seeing what you can handle. If smaller classes are more comfortable with your teaching style, you can offer multiple workshop sessions each month to accommodate more students.

How to conduct a workshop

Leave Time to Recharge

Another tip? Determine how long you want your workshop to last. Depending on the lesson, workshops can range from a few hours to half a day, or more.

If the class spans multiple hours, don’t forget to allow for rest, water, and snack breaks as needed. One great idea is to let students walk around the room and generate conversation about everyone’s progress.

Don’t Forget to Have Fun

Finally, keep your workshop lighthearted and relaxed. While you want students to walk away with newfound knowledge and skills, this should be a fun experience! Having the right amount of excitement will make students want to come back for more, instead of treating it like a chore.

Go forth and teach!

Of course, you want teaching your first artist workshop to be a success. To make the process less daunting, keep in mind what you would want to get out of the workshop if you were the student. Aim for creating an inviting atmosphere where pupils can learn real techniques with one-on-one guidance. Follow this advice and help make artist workshops a thriving venture for your art business.

Teaching is an art form. Great teachers hold our attention, make us laugh, help us to fully understand the complex subject matter, and, most of all, inspire us.

Achieving this kind of engagement from your students takes practice and experience. But even if you’re new to teaching, you can make your in-person or virtual workshop as interesting as possible with just a few fresh ideas. Start with these nine workshop tips.

1. Make it relevant

First and foremost, to earn people’s attention, you need to make sure that the content you’re delivering is useful to them. How do you learn exactly what they want out of your course? Ask them!

Conduct some initial research with your target customers to shape your course content, or send a pre-event survey to your attendees so that they can pinpoint problems or topics they’d like to explore.

On the day of your training or workshop, start by giving a brief overview of what attendees are going to learn and how those skills will help them achieve their goals.

2. Ditch the traditional presentation

People learn in different ways. Some of us are visual learners who prefer pictures, videos, and diagrams, while others respond to the spoken and written word, music, logic, or even physical activities.

To create an inclusive learning environment, try to combine traditional teaching methods with audio and visual presentations, written handouts, interactive tasks, and group work. For example, you could start off your workshop with a quick PowerPoint, but then move into a clip from a relevant podcast. Later, you could have attendees draw short comics based on what they have learned and ask a few to present their comics to the rest of the group.

When thinking about how to host a virtual workshop, consider software like Zoom or Google Meet that allows your students to chat and interact with one another. This way, the workshop feels more like an integrated experience than a lecture. For more ways to encourage audience participation, check out these nine interactive event ideas.

3. Change the room layout

Training rooms are often laid out in the same way – rows of tables and chairs. Challenge the convention and surprise your attendees by perhaps providing beanbags instead of chairs, standing podium tables, or tables with just a few chairs to encourage small groups.

Your choice of venue can also have an impact on engagement. A space full of light, color, and texture can prove far more inspiring than a bland, windowless meeting room.

A virtual workshop can even include breakout groups or teams to allow attendees to discuss topics or play games in smaller, more intimate numbers. Platforms like Zoom allow presenters to create these separate virtual rooms for attendees to enter without completely leaving the presentation.

4. Use props

Props can make teaching even more engaging. These could be practical that literally represent your subject matter (think scales, an abacus, or a mannequin), or they could be ridiculous (try a rubber chicken or magic wand). Props liven up your session and will help people remember what they learned.

Your training or workshop might be serious, but people learn best when they’re interacting and having fun.

5. Play games

Need to keep your attendees focused? Tap into their competitive sides. Puzzles or riddles, crosswords, memory games, ordering tasks — all are great ways to keep your attendees engaged and on-task. For added drama, impose a time limit.

Try introducing a quick quiz at the end of each content section, helping to recap on what’s been learned, and offer a small prize for the winner.

For online workshop ideas, consider games that attendees can access via a shared link, like Scattergories or online bingo.

6. Tell a story

Whatever you’re teaching, try to make it relatable to everyday life by using real examples, case studies, and creative metaphors. People will sit still for hours watching a movie — why not use some cinematic tricks as engaging workshop ideas?

Stories, in fact, are central to the way memory works. We search for narrative not just in media, but in everyday life. If you can find a way to integrate the information in your course into an overarching narrative, attendees will be more engaged and have something to look forward to during breaks.

For inspiration, check out Speechless, an improv comedy show where people give PowerPoint presentations — on slides they have never seen before. Watching people create a narrative from even the most ridiculous content will show you how easy it is to do the same with your real (and actually related) content.

7. Play some tunes

Music can set the mood and get attendees energized before your session and during breaks. Play something upbeat to pump them up, and lower it back down to let them know it’s time to start.

You can also use music during the session – soothing classical pieces help people concentrate while completing tasks or group work.

Bonus idea: provide some instruments and let people jam between sessions. Not only will it be fun, but it will also build camaraderie between attendees.

8. Cut it in half

One of the best ways to keep your audience engaged is to not overload them with information. Give them too much, and their brains will simply shut off. This is particularly important for virtual events — attendees are likely to be dealing with more potential distractions than if they were attending an in-person event.

Either make your session a maximum of two hours or, if it’s taking place over the course of a day, schedule in plenty of short breaks. Give attendees a chance to get up, walk around, and grab a cup of coffee. Give them time to write and organize notes and assist them by providing pens, pads, sticky notes, and highlighters.

Our new and improved online event tools can help you to plan a great event that doesn’t overwhelm your virtual audience.

9. Provide recognition and reward

Attendees will be more motivated to successfully complete the course if their efforts are recognized — and if they have something to show for it at the end.

Let attendees know that they will receive personalized certificates to mark their participation. You should also consider extra incentives such as a competition or small prizes for the best students. Again: tap into those competitive streaks!

Get ready to lead a workshop your attendees won’t forget

Make your training or workshops lively, varied, fun, and unexpected, and your participants will learn more — and be more likely to come back. If you need more engagement workshop ideas for online events, review our virtual event best practices.

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