Find Out What a Workshop Is and How to Organize a Successful Event
We teach you how to create the perfect event from start to finish!
Do you have the heart of an entrepreneur trapped underneath that 9-to-5 disguise you wear five days a week? If so, sharing your knowledge online is one path to entrepreneurship. Think about it. Everybody knows a lot about something, no matter how niche or random the subject matter might be.
Why not share that knowledge with others? Plenty of newbie entrepreneurs are doing it successfully. So, how are they making it happen? More importantly, how can you share your own knowledge profitably?
Workshops are a viable alternative to traditional learning and a profitable way to engage a brand with its intended audience.
What is a workshop?
Workshops are gatherings comprised of like-minded people seeking knowledge about a particular subject. Participants learn how to develop specific skills through observation, instruction, hands-on activities, and group discussions.
Some workshops are run by one trainer, while others have a rteam of instructors that orient and guide the discussion. But workshops are not lectures. Audience participation is typically desired and can be required.
Why are workshops a good business?
The sky is the limit once you find your niche. The internet brought knowledge to our literal fingertips, which caused an explosion of growth in the marketplace of courses, specializations, and other knowledge-sharing methods. Your brand can reach clients across the globe who never would have known about your products and services otherwise.
Workshop organizers also become authoritative voices on their subject matter. Other content creators may begin to cite you as an authoritative source for their own related community members. People view your words, products, and services as trustworthy.
Start with a workshop plan
Your goal is to teach your audience how to solve problems while promoting the solutions your business offers. This is a soft-sell approach. You are not pounding them over the head with your brand. You simply illustrate how your products and services will streamline their own business goals.
Many people don’t like the idea of getting up in front of either an in-person or digital audience. Stagefright is a real thing. Some of the world’s greatest musicians, past and present, suffer(ed) from stage fright. Yet, they learned the coping skills to get on stage and wow audiences all over the world.
You can do the same, just on a far smaller scale. Repetition and practice in front of supportive friends and family members can help you get over some of the more challenging aspects of public speaking.
Consider the workshop size
Workshops can be small, intimate gatherings, or they can be remarkably large events involving all of a company’s employees. The venue and amenities will vary accordingly. Regardless of how many participants you expect to attend, for in-person workshops, bring along extra booklets and materials for latecomers and stragglers who didn’t sign up.
You might even be contracted for a series of workshops. These can be staggered regularly or held only when there is a need. One example might be when a company has a certain number of new hires to receive safety training. You could also get booked for a workshop after an incident of discrimination occurs in the workplace.
That can sound like an ongoing job rather than an occasional gig. It can become whatever you would like it to be — even an ongoing course.
What’s the difference between a workshop and a course? Consider the following:
- Workshops are shorter. Indeed, one-day workshops are succinct. They work best when the objective is clear and practical. Workshops may also be a series of meetings with the same groups.
- Courses are longer and more intensive. Some subjects require a deeper dive and level of understanding. They can last weeks or even months. Participants gradually learn and progress with practical applications. Courses can also cover theoretical issues and different disciplines, with several instructors leading the group.
Digital marketers often start with goals of brand exposure and offer smaller free workshops. Then, once the brand takes off, they may expand their digital repertoire to pre-paid courses.
How to run a workshop
Organizing your workshop should be your first priority. Workshop organization is the difference between successfully communicating and engaging with your group and boring them to tears with scattershot information.
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Learning how to organize your workshop is like learning about anything else – look to the experts. Our online tutorial has all the steps necessary to plan your workshop. Check them out:
1. Pick a topic.
What are you really good at doing? Is there something for which people seek you out frequently for guidance or ideas?
Once you have that figured out (and it can be anything; workplace safety, digital marketing, copywriting), that’s your topic!
You’ll interact with people who may ask questions that you’ve never considered. Think about what someone with no information (or only rudimentary knowledge) needs to know about your topic.
Remember, you are a thought leader now! Everything you bring to the table during your workshop training session should deliver the highest value to your participants. Pique the interest of your target audience so they want to learn more. Be innovative. Do things other content creators aren’t doing. Be known for your original and knowledgeable approach to your chosen topic.
Think outside the box!
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2. Know your target audience
Who is your brand targeting? Before you ever get to this point, your creative team (often only you) should develop an ideal target audience persona.
Once you’ve defined your persona, consider their challenges. Your workshop can teach them new ways to get things done better and more efficiently.
Also, consider the tone you use with your audience. If you are a former university professor of foreign languages, don’t use the same tone and approach with workshop participants that you did with your students. Relax. Make (appropriate) jokes. Use inclusive language and pronouns. Be approachable so they want to learn more.
VIDEO: How to create a buyer persona for your business | Hotmart Tips
3. Set the place, date, and time
Make sure you clear your calendar to have sufficient time to set up your workshop materials and visual and practical aids. For workshops in businesses, arrange the workshop location ahead of time with the company representative who contacted you. Work together to choose a pleasant place that favors learning and interaction between you and the participants.
4. Determine the event’s structure
Most on-the-job workshops last six to eight hours. Participants get time for coffee breaks and usually, lunch is catered or participants leave for lunch. Include time for participants to informally interact and network.
Workshops can be divided into sections, such as the example below:
- Initial opening and brief introduction of the mediators
- Explanation of the proposed content
- A coffee or lunch break
- Practical activities and space for interaction among the participants
- Coffee break
- Analysis of results achieved by the participants
- Conclusion of the event
You want the workshop to flow organically without getting thrown off your schedule. If that occurs, and it often can, guide the participants back on track.
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5. Gather the necessary materials and equipment
After you’ve established the workshop’s structure, obtain the equipment and materials you’ll need. Bring all electronic equipment, speakers, microphones, projectors, screens, computers, and teaching and writing materials. Make sure to test all the equipment beforehand, so you can replace any malfunctioning components.
6. Promote your workshop
With everything organized, it’s time to promote your event so everything runs smoothly. Start promoting it at least one month in advance.
Search for the online channels where your target audience interacts most. Focus your actions on them. Create posts on social media. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are the “Big 3.” TikTok and YouTube are also worthy contenders.
Consider planning email marketing campaigns as well. When creating promotional content, provide all essential information to the participants, e.g., the topic, date, time, duration, place, and who the mediators and/or guest speakers will be.
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7. Welcome the participants on the day of the event
The big day has arrived! Everything’s ready for your workshop and the participants will be arriving soon. Welcome the audience to the event!
Then, share the activity schedule so people know where to go. Prior to your workshop event, coordinate with the staff member responsible for checking the participants into the workshop.
Respect the scheduled times for the start and end of each activity. This avoids mistakes and problems that might jeopardize your event.
8. Don’t forget about the post-event
The work begins after the last participant leaves. The post-event is as important as the event itself. Now it’s time to keep participants engaged with your brand and message. If a certificate of participation will be available, inform them when they can expect to receive it.
9. Make sure participants connect with each other
Encourage small group discussions related to the material and allow the participants to discuss topics freely among themselves.
Immediately after the workshop ends, blast an email thanking everyone for participating. Ask participants to voluntarily share their emails and LinkedIn credentials with one another so they can network later and continue exchanging ideas.
By recording the workshop’s content, you can then offer it to the participants either for free or for a small charge. This option can be quite valuable to those who were unable to attend in person or participate online.
Include the form for video access on a website landing page. This generates more leads and website traffic for your business.
How about running an online workshop?
In-person workshops require far more work than most of the online workshops digital entrepreneurs produce and offer to their clients. Digital workshops are easier and cheaper to organize and are far more convenient for the audience to participate wherever they may be — at home, across the ocean in a foreign country, or on a family vacation by the resort pool.
Consider the length
Long presentations tend to be a real turn-off. Giving a safety class in a plant may offer very little leeway when it comes to the workshop length, as OSHA and other governmental agencies are strict about meeting qualifications.
Prior to arriving, run through your presentation several times to make sure all information and pain points get covered.
Send an evaluation form
Are your words and presentation during the workshop giving the impression you want them to? Check to find out. Ask all the participants to anonymously and honestly evaluate your workshop.
Then, with an open mind, read their feedback. Note patterns, both positive and negative. This allows you to see what works and where you need to improve. Remember, boredom equals disengagement. That is the last thing that a content creator wants to learn about their workshop.
Yet, it is necessary. Honest feedback can only help you grow your own business. You might learn that you rely too much on speaking when you should be mixing it up with slides, flowcharts, and photos.
Alternatively, too many props and facets can overwhelm participants who prefer to focus solely on the nuts and bolts of the workshop training.
Are you ready to make the leap to in-person and digital workshops?
Don’t remain a digital dinosaur. You have a lot of valuable information and knowledge to share with the world or even just your little niche on the web.
If you’d like to learn more about the subject, check out our guide with everything you need to create a successful online workshop. Get out there and create!