by Chris King
I have discovered that the majority of people prefer the hands-on workshop as their choice of presentation type. As a presenter, I also prefer leading workshops. I enjoy the interaction with participants and I feel that attendees tend to retain and use more of the material and procedures covered. In this article I share some workshop tips that I have learned over the years.
Assume the attitude of a learner. There is nothing worse than attending a workshop where the leader has a condescending attitude – i.e. a “know-it-all.” Yes, as workshop presenters we are expected to be knowledgeable. This doesn’t mean, however, that we know the answer to every question or that we can’t learn something new from participants.
If you are asked a question for which you don’t have an answer, admit it, but say that you will do some research and get back to them with an answer. I have had attendees recommend books and tapes that I am unfamiliar with, so I can broaden my knowledge base. And, if a participant answers a question in an off-beat way, remember that no answer is ever “wrong.” It may possibly trigger some interesting give-and-take and even put a different twist on the subject.
People learn best when they are having fun. Everyone learns best if he or she is having fun. So, as a presenter it is important for us to work on injecting some humor and enjoyable games and/or activities into our workshops.
Being a storyteller, I use stories to keep the group energy high. I often tell stories of mishaps and embarrassing situations. Another speaker once shared that some days we are the “windshield” and some days we are the “bug.” Our listeners like us and our stories the best when we are the “bug.” Activities that make the group feel good or have a good laugh guarantee a dynamic workshop.
In my “How to Discover Your Core Passion” workshop, I always have participants write down descriptions of three times when they felt like a “success” and then share one with the group. I see them smiling as they write, and then “beam” as the rest of the group shows respect and appreciation as they relate a success.
The more hands-on involvement, the more information will be retained and be useful to participants. Confucius said, “What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand.” That statement says it all. I know, for example, with computer learning, I can attend all sorts of lectures about how to do something, but if I don’t see it done and then get onto my computer and do it, it becomes a complete waste of time. When planning a workshop, I ask myself, “What hands-on activities can I plan to make sure that the attendees really understand?”
This is the reason I prefer to give assignments with some time in-between meetings. One fun assignment is to have those in my “Core Passion” group make colorful collages using illustrations that appeal to them that they have cut from magazines, or photos they have taken, postcards they have saved, etc. and then arrange and paste on a colorful poster board. It is amazing when they bring these art pieces to the next session how much we all learn about them and their passions.
Chris King is a professional speaker, storyteller, writer, website creator / designer, free agent, and fitness instructor. Sign up for her eclectic E-newsletter, Portfolio Potpourri, at http://www.PowerfulPresentations.net You will find her information-packed E-book How to Leave Your Audiences Begging for MORE! at http://www.OutrageouslyPowerfulPresenter.com and her business website at http://www.CreativeKeys.biz