Figuring out how to plan a workshop can feel like an impossible task, especially if it is your very first time doing so. Fortunately, with the right knowledge, it is entirely possible to pull it off without a hitch. Our easy-to-follow guide will walk you through all of the steps that will make your workshop a smash success.

Planning a workshop is a labor of love—one that requires a considerable amount of preparation and research. At first glance, the process might even seem overwhelming. If you are feeling this way, know that you are not alone. The team at the Heritage Center of Brooklyn Center is well-versed in all things workshop-related and we’ve compiled some tips to help ease the stress that comes with planning. Below, we have put together a simple yet effective guide, so that you can confidently walk through each of the steps needed to execute the perfect workshop experience.

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Learn More About What Makes Workshops Different

What Is a Workshop?

A workshop is an interactive and participatory session that focuses on educating or training attendees. Unlike lectures, workshops are designed to be hands-on, which allows participants to actively engage with the material through activities and discussions. With workshops, the goal is to deepen learning and skill development by putting topics into practice. 

Whether you are wondering how to run a training workshop or are looking for help with a different style of workshop, we have got you covered.

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How to Organize a Workshop

If you are not sure how to do a workshop in an effective way, start from the top. Organizing a workshop is a process that involves a considerable amount of planning, particularly in regard to the structure it will follow. From setting crystal-clear objectives to selecting the right venue, each step plays its own critical role in the success of the event. The steps for organizing a workshop include the following:

  1. Define Your Objectives and Target Audience
  2. Develop a Detailed Workshop Agenda
  3. Select the Right Venue and Equipment
  4. Promote Your Workshop

Explore Workshop Activities That Will Excite Your Audience

Define Your Objectives and Target Audience

Before getting started with a workshop outline, you will need to get clear on your objectives. What do you intend to achieve? Are you looking to share knowledge, help guests develop skills, or inspire them? Outlining clear objectives will guide the structure and content of your workshop, so that it remains on-topic.

Understanding your audience is equally important. Who are they? What are their interests and needs? Designing your workshop content to your specific audience will allow them to get the most out of it while remaining engaged throughout.

Develop a Detailed Workshop Agenda

If you still aren’t clear on how to create a workshop, start with an agenda. Having an agenda for a workshop keeps things running smoothly and helps facilitators stay on track. Outline the timing of different activities and sessions, balancing instructional time with interactive elements to keep participants engaged. 

A well-structured agenda helps with time management and ensures that all of the most important topics are covered. It should be comprehensive yet still allows the host a bit of wiggle room. Even the most structured event can have off-the-cuff moments, particularly if guests have additional questions or need further clarification on a specific topic.

Select the Right Venue and Equipment

Conducting a workshop in the right venue can be what makes or breaks it. Consider factors like location, size, accessibility, and amenities. The venue should be conducive to learning and equipped with the necessary technical tools and materials. Not all venues are going to be set up for workshops, so double-check that the space can accommodate your event. 

The Heritage Center offers several spaces to accommodate different event sizes as well as all of the necessary audiovisual equipment, making it the perfect choice for your workshop.

Discover Ways to Make Your Event More Sustainable

Promote Your Workshop

There is no better way to attract participants than through specific, targeted promotion. To properly promote your workshop, be sure to use various promotional tools like social media, email marketing, and partnerships with relevant organizations. Instagram, Facebook and TikTok are all outlets to explore. 

Once you have decided on which outlets to market on, put together compelling messages that highlight the value of attending your workshop and make it easy for potential attendees to register. The easier the process is, the more likely people are to pull the trigger and sign up.

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How to Host a Workshop

Believe it or not, hosting a workshop involves far more than just showing up on the day of the event. In fact, it requires careful preparation and attention to detail to make everything run smoothly. Hosting a workshop requires the following steps:

  1. Prepare and Set Up the Venue
  2. Facilitate Engaging Discussions and Activities
  3. Manage Time Effectively
  4. Gather Feedback

Prepare and Set Up the Venue

A well-prepared venue sets the stage for a successful workshop. In advance, double check that all technical equipment is functioning properly, and the setup is conducive to learning. Doing this will help minimize any technical errors that might pop up during the workshop, which helps keep things running smoothly and keeps the audience engaged.

As with any large event, proper organization is of the utmost importance. Move around seating, materials, and resources so that they promote as much interaction and engagement as possible. Aspects like where to sit and how to locate any papers or tools should be very clear to guests.

Facilitate Engaging Discussions and Activities

An effective workshop is one where participants remain engaged throughout its entirety. That being said, this isn’t always easy to accomplish. Facilitate discussions and lead activities that really encourage participation and learning. You could use techniques like group work, role-playing, question-and-answer, or hands-on exercises to maintain their focus.

In the event that engagement isn’t as high as you had hoped, have back-up ideas in your tool belt. This could be as simple as a game that involves everyone standing up and moving around the room. Physical movement is just one way to reset the audience and get them re-invested in the content.

Explore Team Building Activities to Promote Engagement

Manage Time Effectively

Time management is one of the most underrated aspects of a workshop. This is one of the many reasons why creating an agenda is so important. Naturally, some topics are more engaging than others, which could cause the audience to ask more questions or take more time with any activities. Be sure to stick to the agenda as closely as possible but be flexible enough to adjust should the need arise. Each session should have enough time allocated to cover the topic in depth, but don’t forget to keep an eye on the clock throughout.

Gather Feedback

To truly understand how successful your workshop was, you will want to collect feedback from those who attended. To do this, you could use surveys or informal discussions to gather insights from participants. Keep it simple yet thorough, with a few questions or prompts. You don’t want the feedback form to be overwhelming or lengthy, otherwise you risk a smaller amount of participation. 

Ultimately, this feedback will help you understand what worked well as well as help you understand which areas to focus on for improvement. Use the feedback to adjust your next workshop and continue this process to keep improving the content and flow.

Find Out How to Use Post-Event Survey Questions to Gather Feedback

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Tips on Following Up After a Workshop

Following up with participants after the workshop might seem like an unnecessary step, but we assure you that it’s not. Doing so actually helps reinforce learning and maintain engagement far beyond the workshop itself. Some ways that you can follow up are sending thank-you emails, sharing session recordings, or even just providing additional resources. Beyond that, you might also want to consider organizing follow-up sessions or other networking opportunities to keep your guests coming back.

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Host Your Minnesota Workshop at the Heritage Center of Brooklyn Center

In this guide, we have shared the in’s and out’s of workshop planning—from the initial stages to the follow-up and everything in between. Now that you have the tools and understanding of how to host a workshop, allow The Heritage Center of Brooklyn Center to take care of the rest. Our spaces are ideal for workshops of all shapes and sizes and our attentive staff will help you pull off your event without a hitch. Visit our events page for more information and to request a proposal today.