How to run a successful workshop

Workshops are a great way to impart knowledge in a more dynamic, engaging format than a straightforward class. Through collaboration and creative activities, attendees can learn in real-time, picking up valuable skills in the process. 

Whether you’re into cooking, business training or something else, here, we break down the essential components of a successful workshop. 

Tip: you can learn how Ticket Tailor can help you sell your workshop tickets online here >

Before: How to start planning a workshop

  1. Think carefully about why a workshop suits your goals

    Workshops, by nature, are collaborative and interactive. That means those attending them should be active for the majority of the time – whether that’s writing, cooking, ideating, or whatever else fits in with the theme of the workshop. 

    With this in mind, before you begin planning your workshop, stop to consider all the ways your attendees will benefit from this particular format. Some example goals for workshops include.

    • Encourage collaboration and teamwork

    • Teach new skills in a way that sticks

    • Give attendees a space to learn new perspectives from their peers

    • Provide attendees with a fun and memorable activity to do with friends or family

    Defining these goals early on will help you to keep the core vision of your workshop in mind as you go through the planning process. 

  2. Plan out the different stages of your workshop with allocated time-slots

    Think of this step as like drawing up an initial sketch of your workshop. Jot down all of your ideas then start to map out the different segments of the session, allocating a time slot for each. 

  3. Develop or curate the content for your workshop 

    While the last step was about pulling your ideas together, This stage is about the execution of your workshop. What materials will you need to carry out the work? What tasks will you be asking your attendees to participate in, and how will you evaluate their success?

    Developing content for a workshop takes careful consideration and time. Attendees will want to feel that the experience has been rich and engaging; the more effort you can put in in advance, the more likely this is to be the case. 

  4. Build a compelling program for your workshop

    Now your workshop is starting to take shape, put some time into creating a clear program that you can use on your online ticketing page and across your marketing materials. Make sure you let potential attendees know exactly what they can expect from your workshop by defining its key takeaways. For example, attendees might gain a deeper understanding of character development in creative writing, learn how to formulate a business plan for X industry, or learn about Italian food history while acquiring some new pasta making skills. 

  5. Get the word out about your workshop

    Now it’s time to flex your marketing skills to make sure the right people hear about your workshop. Check out our guide to creating an event marketing plan to get started. 

  6. Begin prepping your attendees

    Once people have signed up to your workshop (using a reliable online registration platform!) you can start prepping them for the session. You might want to send them materials in advance, for example, or even to ask them to spend a bit of time thinking creatively about certain topics you plan on covering. Putting in prep work can go a long way in increasing the productivity of your workshop, as opposed to just letting everyone turn up ‘cold’. 

During: How to make a workshop interesting 

  1. Explain the who, what why and how

    All workshops should start with clarity, otherwise you run the risk of attendees losing focus pretty quickly. Make sure they’re on the right page to kick off with by explaining the core principles behind your workshop. So:

    • Who you are and who the workshop is designed for 

    • What the workshop will entail and what its key takeaways will be

    • Why you’re running the workshop and why its content is important

    • How you plan on running the workshop; what methods you’ll use to get the results you want

  2. Energise attendees with ice-breakers

    Ice breakers are a crucial part of any team activity. Without them, things can feel pretty stilted and it can take attendees a long time to warm up. Try using a few ice breaking techniques not only at the start of your session but at intervals throughout to keep things feeling dynamic. 

  3. Find out what people know and don’t know

    To engage with your attendees in an impactful way, it’s important to get to know what prior knowledge individuals have, and what they want to learn. Try going round the group at the start of the session getting each person to answer two questions:

    • What interests you most about this workshop?

    • What’s the main thing you want to get out of this workshop?

    (This can couple up as a good ice breaker task, too.)

Running workshops can be a great way to practice your teaching skills and embrace a subject you’re passionate about. Give it a go with these tips, and we’re sure you – and your attendees – will have a great time. Good luck!