I have participated in countless number of workshops and I have organized and facilitated dozens, as well. Some of them were memorable for me because of the people I met, the inspiration I found to become a better professional, and the skills that I learned. Others, were memorable because I wish I wasn’t there, I learned what “NOT” to do when running a workshop, or I ended up with a long list of “improvement opportunities” for myself. Great experiences and bad experiences haven’t scared me away of still enjoying participating and organizing workshops.
Looking back into my experience, I realized two important facts. First, workshops are a great tool to get work done and share knowledge taking advantage of the participant’s brainpower. Second, the key to make a workshop memorable (in the good sense) is to think like the audience when you are planning and facilitating, everything you do during the workshop should set the participants for success in achieving the objectives.
Planning a workshop is not rocket science. It requires decent communication, organization, and leadership skills. It also helps having common sense, empathy, patience, and some creativity. But even if you think you lack of some of these skills, you can make your next workshop a memorable experience for you and your audience.