Module 3: Facilitation Skills for In-Person Workshops
If you are a trainer or a coach, it is probably quite clear to you how important facilitation skills are for workshops.
On the other hand, if you’re a small business owner, you might be wondering why you would want to do workshops at all.
Workshops offer an excellent way to introduce your business to new audiences and prospects. For example, if you’re a business consultant who helps small businesses introduce technology to make their businesses more efficient, you could put together a workshop at an upcoming conference. The title of your workshop might be something like, “Hands-on Tools to Help Your Business Grow by 15% in the Next 5 Years.”
Workshops work very well at conferences for attracting new business. Many business owners think that simply holding a booth at a conference is enough. Although you can meet new people this way, a workshop is much better, particularly for building relationships. When attendees approach your booth, they know that you are trying to sell them something. But with a workshop, they can learn something from you. It’s a more effective way to sell indirectly.
Also connect with your existing client base as well. Your clients may pay to attend a workshop given by you where they can learn something valuable that they can use in their business.
In addition to conferences, small business associations, regular meet-ups, and other local events offer great opportunities to conduct workshops. You can run sessions at your local community college or university, as well as community or corporate events. It’s good to always be on the lookout for opportunities where you can be a guest speaker. For example, a professor at a university may invite you to give a talk about your specific area of expertise to their students.
Before planning a workshop, there is some key logistical information you need to have ahead of time:
- Number of attendees. You’ll need to have at least a ballpark idea of how many people will be attending
- Layout. How is the room or space for the workshop laid out? Are there desks or tables? Can desks, tables, and other fixtures be moved around? If you’ll be doing pair or group work, you’ll need to make sure the room is conducive to that.
- Technology. Ensure that you have a projector and any other equipment specific to your event. If using your laptop, make sure you have the necessary cables, adaptors, and power supply. Find out if there is tech support available just in case there are any problems. Make sure you have Wi-Fi if you plan to use the internet. Try to schedule a trial run where you can make sure everything works before the actual workshop.
- Learning tools. Make sure there are flip charts, whiteboards, and other writing surfaces. Also find out whether markers and other supplies are included, or whether you need to bring your own.
- Seating. Decide whether you will assign seating or let people pick their own seats.