Creating an interactive workshop isn’t just about the content you present. There is a multitude of other factors that make or break the success of your workshop. And one of those factors is interactivity. A workshop’s interactiveness determines the effectiveness of your workshop on your audience. It’s time to go beyond basic education and think about what inspiration you can bring to the table. No matter the context of the workshop, they all have the following characteristics in common:
- They’re intimate and interactive —no one can hide in the back like they might in a lecture
- They set the stage for learning, growth, and relationship building
- When done right, they spark engaging experiences and forward momentum for individuals, companies, and communities
To reach their full potential and effectiveness, workshops need to have some element of vision and imagination. What’s more, is you want to create a workshop that leaves participants feeling equal parts educated and motivated. In this post, we are going to share five tips for creating interactive workshops.
1) Ask participants what they want
The first step in creating an interactive workshop is to come up with an innovative theme for your workshop. But how can you make sure your theme is one that your audience is going to find compelling and memorable? Simple — ask people what they want to do! You might already have an audience in mind, so reach out to them to find out what they’re interested in and haven’t seen before. Use social media to your advantage by conducting a poll or a questionnaire to registrants. They can give you some great feedback in terms of topics, activities and more. Once you have a direction for topics, the next step is to set up the logistics of your workshop.
2) Set the mood at your workshop
Most workshops are held at rather sterile places such as a hotel conference room. These locations aren’t always the most inspiring for attendees. Consider different types of venues to host your workshop depending on the theme. If you are hosting a more creative workshop, consider a garden or renovated barn. If you are teaching a cooking workshop, rent out a restaurant kitchen or other cooking space.
The possibilities are endless to create a unique and inspiring atmosphere for workshop attendees. Consider creating a “must-have” list of requirements that will help you settle on and set up the right space. When you are selecting a venue, consider whether your workshop requires elements like:
- AV support
- ADA-compliant restrooms
- Access to a kitchen
- Space for physical exercises
If you’re creating a workshop as part of a greater event and don’t have control over the venue, use the elements you do have at your disposal to set an effective mood. These tools might include lighting, music, or even food and drink you may provide.
3) Turn attendance into participants
By their nature, workshops are interactive. Instead of a passive audience, attendees become active participants who contribute to the success of the workshop. Encourage participation, even from shy attendees. For those who don’t usually like speaking up, try polling apps throughout the workshop to gauge knowledge attained or real-time feedback.
As you create your workshop, make sure to incorporate activities that involve participants to the fullest extent. Icebreakers, group activities, and exercises are all effective ways to warm people up. While workshops are typically small affairs, you can make them even more intimate by breaking participants into pairs or small groups to communicate, create, and cooperate.
4) Incorporate creativity into your workshop plan
Regardless of the workshop theme, creative exercises can unlock growth and potential for new, out-of-the-box ideas. No matter how technical the workshop material, there is always room for creativity. Infusing workshops with creative play inspires innovation in business and beyond. And — perhaps most importantly — it makes your workshop more fun. For example, if you are doing a workshop on presentations, give your attendees a task that involves a photo scavenger hunt.
This is a great way to stretch their legs and give them room for creativity throughout the workshop. There are many different approaches to creativity. Challenge yourself to at least pick one creative activity throughout your workshop. You’ll be surprised just how impactful it could be.
5) Include multimedia components in the content
The last thing workshop attendees want is to read off a slide deck for an entire day. Mix up your content selection by showing photos, video clips, and podcasts as a part of the presentation. This can help your audience become more engaged with your workshop, avoiding the afternoon slump. It also goes without saying that not everyone learns the same way. Some people learn better by consuming other types of content than just words on a slide.
Use this to your advantage by providing this type of content to your audience. Chances are your audience will find it more engaging and interactive than just a slide deck. Plus, they will have a lot longer of an attention span, too! Interactive workshops don’t just happen overnight. They take thoughtful planning and consideration to provide your attendees with the best possible experience. Take the extra steps to create a memorable and compelling workshop that will leave an impact on your attendees.