Have you ever attended a workshop and felt like you just wasted your time?

When done right, workshops can be a great learning experience. So if you are conducting a workshop, you better come prepared.

We have a few simple tips on how to run a workshop where participants learn and enjoy at the same time.

Let’s get right to it.


1. Set clear goals right from the start

Let everyone know what’s in it for them. For example, tell people what they will learn during the workshop or tell them a story to get them more involved. This will get people excited to start and learn more.

It’s also best to let the participants know what you expect from them in return – their full participation – to make the workshop a success.


2. Set the date at least a month beforehand

You will need time to prepare and get everything in place. For example, finding a workshop space on short notice can be very stressful. You need to find something that covers all your needs for the workshop, e.g., a projector or Wi-Fi.

You will also have plenty of time to prepare additional materials such as presentations, hand-outs, or name cards.

And most important, your attendees have the chance to clear their schedule.


3. Promote the workshop by sending email reminders

Get them excited by giving them snippets of what they can learn from the workshop.

Just one short email per week is enough, though. You don’t want them to get annoyed with constant reminders about the upcoming event.


4. Create a detailed outline of how you plan to conduct the workshop

Set a time limit for each topic, discussion, brainstorming, and exercise.

Having an agenda to follow allows you to control the flow of the workshop. It will also give your participants a clear structure of the day and they will know what to expect.


5. Choose the right venue for the event

Take into consideration the following:

  • The type of workshop: Are you holding an acting workshop, writing workshop, or a leadership workshop? All these require different types of venues.
  • The number of participants: You want a big enough space where participants can move around.
  • The activities that you’ve planned: This is especially important for the seating arrangement. If you have a presentation, make sure everyone can see. If you have group work planned, make sure everyone has enough space to work.
  • The materials needed for your workshop: Do you need a projector screen, speakers, or maybe a fast WiFi connection? Then choose a venue that offers these types of amenities.

Spare Workspace has hundreds of available venues to choose from. Check out our current listings so you can tick this off on your list of things to do.


6. Set the tone of the event

Start with an activity that lets the group know it’s going to be an interactive kind of learning.

A successful workshop involves plenty of discussions and exercises that require the group to participate and speak up.


7. Get everyone involved

In a group, there will always be the shy, quiet ones, and then the more assertive types.

Make sure to call on different people, especially those at the back and ask them to share their thoughts and ideas.


8. Divide them into different groups

When it comes to workshops, the ideal group size has 3-4 members.

A small group means everyone has to contribute and participate. Make new groups for each activity, so everyone gets to mingle.


9. Get to know your participants in advance

When they sign up, ask them to fill out a short questionnaire such as what department they are in, and how long they have been in the company.

Knowing your audience will give you a little idea of what type of interactive workshop activities to include.


10. Run the workshop (and the activities) in a structured way

This goes hand in hand with your agenda. To run a workshop successfully, you need a clear structure or run the risk of messing up your whole timeline for the day.

Let’s say you plan in a group exercise. If your instructions are lacking, you might have spend precious minutes answering questions. And as quickly as that you will have to cut another part short to make up for the lost time.

To avoid any mishaps, you can:

  • Let them know the purpose of every activity.
  • Give them clear instructions.
  • Set a time limit.
  • Ask if they have any questions.


11. Wrap it up

End the day by going over the objectives you’ve set out at the beginning. Tick off each item, give a quick summary of what you’ve discussed and what the group came up with.

It’s a small thing but will give participants a sense of what they’ve accomplished together. This also allows you to end the workshop on a high note.



12. Develop a follow-up plan

The workshop is only the beginning of a bigger process.

Before ending the workshop, give each participant time to reflect and share how they plan to apply what they’ve learned at work and in life.


A workshop when done right can leave a lasting impression on the participants. It takes plenty of planning and prep work to run a workshop successfully.

Which of these workshop organization ideas are you going to try?

Let us know how it goes during your next event.