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Page history last edited by Starr Hoffman 7 years, 7 months ago







  • Goals of the workshop?
  • Who do we want our workshop to reach?  How will we get them there?  How many people?
  • What skills and sessions are most important to our participants?
  • How long of a workshop do we want to/can we organize?
  • What is our budget for the workshop?


Venue: online system? Ability to use slides, videos, live internet, sound, chat questions?


Recruit great participants:

  • In our experience, anywhere from 15 – 40 participants can be a good size. It’s enough people to have a diversity of perspectives and quality discussions, but still small enough to have more intimate experiences and develop real, lasting relationships and bonds in the group.
  • We recommend using an application process and establishing clear criteria as to whom you are seeking for the workshop (people totally new to the issue or people with some proven leadership experience already, etc).  Be sure to reach out far and wide – this is a great recruitment opportunity!
  • Seek to get a diverse set of perspectives into the room – it will make for a richer and more educational experience for everyone!


Designate facilitators:

  • You’ll want more than one facilitator so you don’t get totally exhausted. For small groups (15-20 participants) 2-3 facilitators is sufficient. A couple more is also usually fine especially for large groups, though you want to be sure that facilitators don’t overwhelm the group dynamic.
  • It can be helpful to make sure facilitators don’t have logistical considerations on their plate as well – this will distract from their ability to be able to prepare sessions appropriately.
  • It can be important to have at least one facilitator with workshop facilitation experience.
  • Make sure your facilitators know they are responsible for keeping the workshop on time, for preparing and covering all the material and group exercises, and making sure everyone participates.  Be sure to check out our facilitation tips as well.


Organize the logistics (mostly tech-related, if it's online--also clearly communicate TIME ZONE of workshop).

Where possible, avoid holding your workshop after lunch, between 2:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon. For many people, this is their slowest, most unproductive time of day. Your group will probably be more energetic if you schedule the event in the morning or late afternoon. (If you have to run the workshop in the early afternoon, make sure there's plenty of strong coffee available!) - See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/PlanningAWorkshop.htm#sthash.cWDwGNGk.dpuf


Craft the agenda:

  • Less is more: the more you pack in, the more you’ll need to rush and the less participants will actually learn.  Cut back as much as you can so you can learn things in greater depth.
  • Ask your participants:  survey your participants to see what they most want to prioritize learning
  • Build in breaks: Free time, breaks, and informal socializing is key for bonding and to keep up motivation and focus.  If you don’t give your participants breaks, they will rebel!
  • Plan an open session: Let your participants plan their own session, whether its a skill share, a chance to share their work, or a discussion they’d like to have as a group.
  • Know that you’ll go overtime: It just happens – plan to be flexible.


More on agenda...

  • Main points – Create a list of main points to discuss, and then break down each larger point into details that you want to communicate to your audience.
  • Visual aids – List the visual aids, if any, you'll use for each point. If you need technical support, this helps the people providing it to determine where they need to focus their efforts.
  • Discussions and activities – Take time to list exactly which group discussions and activities you'll have at which point in the workshop. How much time will you allow for each exercise? Make sure your activities are appropriate for the size of the group, and ensure that your venue has the resources (for example, seminar rooms) needed to run sessions.

- See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/PlanningAWorkshop.htm#sthash.cWDwGNGk.dpuf 


Edit materials:

Prepare adequate time with your facilitators to download the materials on this site and familiarize themselves with the material.  You’ll also want to take time edit them for length, cultural appropriateness, and to include more relevant examples in the group activities beforehand.  We recommend printing out participants’ guides so that people can follow along, make notes, and refer to the agenda throughout the training.


Run the workshop:

  • Stay energized – make sure to play plenty of games and energizers throughout the training to keep people’s spirits up
  • Document – make sure to take photos and videos to remember the workshop – and send them to us too!


Creating group exercises is different for each workshop. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Many people are nervous about speaking up in an unfamiliar group. If you plan group exercises, keep the size of each group small, so people are more comfortable talking and interacting.
  • Mix up different types of people in each group. For example, if several departments participate in your workshop, don't put members of the same department in their own group. By encouraging people to interact with other departments, they can learn to look at things from different perspectives.
  • Determine how you'll record the ideas from each group. Will participants shout them out while you write them down? Or will they write down their own ideas and then give them to you? This is a small, but important, detail that's often overlooked.
  • If you have five or fewer groups, spend time allowing the entire team to evaluate the ideas from each smaller group. This is a great way to narrow down your list of ideas, and let the good ones really shine.

- See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/PlanningAWorkshop.htm#sthash.cWDwGNGk.dpuf



Follow up:

Create a questionnaire to give to all participants at the end of the event, and give them plenty of opportunity to share their opinions on how well it went. - See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/PlanningAWorkshop.htm#sthash.cWDwGNGk.dpuf


After the workshop, aside from providing time for people travel home, rest, and digest the material, it’s good to build off the positive energy and momentum created in the workshop experience to continue engaging everyone, and ideally transitioning into real action. This requires creating clear and efficient communications channels — email listserves, facebook groups, etc — and it requires modelling constructive use of those tools. When a workshop ends, no matter how tired you are, try not to disappear. Take a deserved rest, but capitalize on the moment and both model continued leadership by initiating more work, and also continue in your role as a facilitator, attempting to draw out and support other’s leadership, not simply falling back to the same organizing team you began with when you started.







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