A workshop is an educational hands-on program that is designed to help participants gain experience in a particular area or learn a new skill. In business, you may be required to run workshops for employees to learn new areas of the business or for customers to get experience using a new version of your product. Carefully develop the program for your workshop and write a workshop agenda that helps attendees get the most out of the event.
Keep the Goals in Mind When Writing the Workshop Agenda
When creating your workshop agenda, it’s critical to always keep the key goals of the program top of mind. This will help you to decide how much time to allot to specific activities and how to structure the different elements.
If you’re running a customer service conflict management workshop for employees, for example, the key goal of the workshop will be to ensure that each of the attendees is able to learn conflict management tips and techniques that they can apply when dealing with irate customers.
In this case, you’ll need to ensure that you give enough time for each employee to ask questions, present their day-to-day scenarios and practice applying conflict management techniques in group role-play settings.
Vary the Content of the Workshop
A program schedule for a workshop should include a diverse array of content. People learn in different ways, have different sets of social skills and require different kinds of interactive activities to apply their knowledge. If your workshop only includes one kind of content, such as a workbook, it may be difficult for all the attendees to meet the goals of the workshop.
For example, when running a workshop to help key customers learn how to use new features in your product, you can provide interactive workshop activities such as letting the customers actually get hands-on with the product. You can then vary the program by providing hard-copy handouts with the feature information, showing a video of the features in use and having a question-and-answer session. This helps all attendees to learn about the features in different ways and keeps them engaged throughout.
Don’t Schedule Every Minute
While a workshop agenda should be structured well so as not to waste any of the attendees’ time, it’s also important to leave some free space. If a session takes a few minutes longer than expected, the free time helps you to get back on track. Having some free time in between workshop sessions also gives attendees the opportunity to take breaks and mingle with one another.
Explain How to Use the Resources
Due to their educational and hands-on nature, many workshops provide attendees with resources they can bring back with them to their workplace or home to continue the learning experience. These resources are also a great reference when the attendees are utilizing the new skills and knowledge they learned in the workshop. Build time in your workshop agenda to review the resources you’re providing the attendees.
Help them understand how these resources can be used, when they can be used and what they will help the attendees learn. If you just hand out the resources at the end of the workshop without going over the materials, the attendees may gloss over the content or not know how to apply it to their daily lives.
For example, if your workshop introduces employees to a new procedure you’re instituting in the workplace, you can provide them with a step-by-step guide that details each action they need to take. Take time in your workshop to mention how important this resource is when applying their new skills. If they forget a step, they can easily turn to the handout to find the missing information. Recommend they keep the resource handy on their desks when completing the new procedure.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.