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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!

Workshop – The image of a flipchart with the illustration of a brain with eyes and green arrows, which represents the knowledge acquired during a workshop. On the right, there’s an image of a notebook and pencil; on the left, there’s a calendar with a date circled in red.

One of the best options for those who want to become entrepreneurs is to share one’s knowledge with other people. There are many ways of doing this, such as courses, training programs, lectures and workshops.

With a more practical and short-term focus, workshops have become quite popular in the professional market and are a great alternative for those who want to earn an extra income and engage their audience.

If this is your case, but you still aren’t sure about how to get started on organizing and promoting this type of event, keep reading this article. We’re going to explain what workshops are, their characteristics, and what you need in order to run one.

Let’s get started?

What is a workshop?

A workshop is an event that gathers people interested in learning more about a particular subject. It’s a type of training for the development of specific skills through practical activities.

Workshops are usually presented by one or more mediators/instructors who are responsible for orienting participants and guiding discussions, and they usually don’t have a long duration, since they focus on participant productivity.

In this sense, the audience participates actively in the event, whether in discussions about practical cases or in other activities.

Finally, each workshop session usually presents a brief explanation of the topic, followed by a group discussion and practical activities.

Why are workshops a good business?

Now that you’ve understood what a workshop is, you’re probably wondering if organizing one is worthwhile. After all, it must be a lot of work, right?

The truth is that producing this type of event isn’t as hard as it seems, and anyway, the advantages far outweigh the challenges.

People want to improve and learn new things. No wonder the market for courses and specializations has grown so much around the world. In other words, this represents a huge number of potential customers for your products and services.

And that’s not all. By organizing a workshop, you position yourself as an authority in a subject. After all, if you’re able to organize such an event, it means you know what you’re talking about, and your audience can trust you.

And of course, we can’t forget about the space for promotion and prospect of potential customers that workshops provide.

Let’s suppose you want to teach your audience how to solve a problem and present the solutions your business offers. Participants will certainly be more willing to close a deal with you, now that they know what your product is capable of doing.

What’s the difference between a workshop and a course?

After reading the definition above, perhaps you still have questions about the difference between a course and a workshop. Are they the same thing?

Not exactly …

Courses and workshops are two different ways of conveying knowledge to other people. And the most apparent difference is in the duration of both formats.

While workshops usually last for a day or two, a course can take several weeks or months to be completed.

Because they are shorter, the structure of a workshop is more objective and focused on practical learning. In a course, on the other hand, the longer duration also allows you to cover theoretical issues.

Both are also structured differently. In a course, the topics are divided into several disciplines, each one taught by a different professional, and covering different aspects of the course’s topic.

A workshop, on the other hand, is more objective and practical. In most cases, a single expert conducts the event and the participants are encouraged to carry out practical activities.

For example, a workshop in digital marketing can start with a technical explanation on the subject, followed by a discussion among participants. Then, everyone is divided into groups and performs a task where they put into practice everything they’ve learned. This is concluded with an analysis of the results achieved.

Anyway, courses and workshops are great formats for conveying knowledge and training people.

How to run a workshop

After reading all this information, you’ve decided you want to run a workshop so you can share your knowledge with people. But now comes the big question, “Where do I start?”

Many entrepreneurs want to create such events, but don’t know how to organize them or what it takes to make them successful.

With this in mind, we’ve created a tutorial with all the steps necessary to put your workshop into practice. Check them out:

1. Pick a topic

The first step you need to take when planning your workshop is picking the event’s topic. Only after you determine the subject to be covered, will you be able to move on to the next details.

Our first tip is to choose a subject you master. Talking about a topic you aren’t familiar with might make you prone to making mistakes, which will hurt your image with your customers. In addition to making you more anxious and nervous about speaking in public.

And even if you’re already an expert in the subject, learn more about it. Search for success cases on the internet, talk to professionals in the field, and invest in support materials, such as books, charts, videos and images. This way, you enrich your content and deliver more value to the participants.

Finally, the topic also needs to be relevant for your target audience, pique people’s interest, and be innovative. Offer something valuable to those who signed up for the event. This is the time when thinking outside the box helps.

2. Know your target audience

If your workshop’s topic needs to be relevant to your audience, it’s logical to assume that knowing your audience is crucial during the planning phase.

Therefore, make sure you build your persona so you can understand the problems faced by your audience, and how your event can help them.

Besides, knowing your target audience helps you determine important details, such as tone of voice, the event’s structure, the type of didactic material, practical activities, etc.

3. Set the place, data and time

After you’ve determined your topic and have studied it, it’s time to establish when and where your workshop will take place.

When choosing a place, take into consideration a few details, such as estimated audience size and the type of physical structure you’ll need during the event.

Find a pleasant place that favors learning and interaction with the participants.

4.  Determine the event’s structure

Another detail you need to consider is your event’s structure and duration. There is no exact rule in this sense, since it’ll depend on the workshop’s segment and what it proposes.

But keep in mind that, on average, a workshop’s duration should be between 6 and 8 hours, with coffee and lunch breaks, in addition to periods for interaction and networking among participants.

In general, a workshop can be divided into a few moments, such as:

  • Initial opening, with a 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 and the conclusion of the event.

5. Gather the necessary materials and equipment

After you’ve established the workshop’s structure, go after the equipment and materials you’ll need.

This includes electronic equipment, such as speakers, microphones, projectors, screens and computers, and even teaching and writing materials.

Have everything prepared well in advance so you aren’t caught by surprise. And of course, test all the equipment so you have time to replace any that malfunction.

6. Promote your workshop

With everything organized, it’s time to promote your event. So that everything can run smoothly, start promoting it at least one month in advance.

Search the channels in which your target audience usually interacts the most and focus your actions on them. You can create posts on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, for example; or plan email marketing campaigns.

When creating promotional content, provide all the essential information to the participants, such as the topic, date, time, place, who the mediators and/or guest speakers will be, besides the estimated duration.

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, sharing the activity schedule and where they’re supposed to go. Also, guide the staff who will be responsible for the participant’s check-in.

And make sure you keep an eye on the time! Respect the scheduled times for the start and end of each activity. This way, you avoid mistakes and problems that might jeopardize your event.

8. Don’t forget about the post-event

Don’t think that the work ends after the last participant leaves. Actually, it’s only getting started.

The post-event is as important as the event itself, since this is when you need to work to keep engaging the participants.

Immediately after the workshop ends, blast an email thanking everyone for participating. Also, inform them when the certificate of participation will be available.

If you have recorded the workshop’s content, it might also be a good idea to offer it to the participants. Or even offer it to those who were unable to participate.

Just don’t forget to condition access to the video to the filling out of a form on a landing page. This way, you generate a few more leads for your business.

How about running an online workshop?

See how organizing a quality workshop isn’t rocket science? With a lot of planning and carefully following the steps we’ve listed in this article, you can be sure that your event will be successful.

But did you know that there’s another workshop model that is as or more efficient than an in-person event?

Online workshops are the new trend among digital entrepreneurs. And there are many advantages to producing this type of event. In addition to being much easier and cheaper to organize, they are more convenient for the audience, which doesn’t need to go anywhere.

If you’d like to learn more about the subject, check out our guide with everything you need to create a successful online workshop.