I'm an old trout when it comes to conducting workshops so for what it's worth, here are some guidelines that I've followed over the years:
- Keep a fast pace. The program should have a sense of momentum and, although people shouldn't feel rushed, it's best if the workshop moves at a good clip.
- Don't try to tell them everything. Let them leave a little hungry for more information.
- Give a short break (7 to 9 minutes) every hour and use odd numbers for the breaks. They tend to pay more attention to the time if you use odd numbers.
- Let people interrupt with their questions. Tell them that if a question is going to be too long or is too specialized, they should ask it over the break or after the class. By permitting them to interrupt with questions, you get their queries while they are fresh and create a more dynamic learning atmosphere.
- Use a lot of case examples and frame the ensuing discussion with practical guidelines.
- Have a simple goal: To give them information that is practical, easy to understand, and which can be put to immediate use. Never deviate from that standard.
- Don't use exercises that needlessly stretch out the time. A lot of inflated programs are hidden under the guise of group exercises.
- Take a position. People will want to hear your reasoning but they'll appreciate some clear guidance instead "Could be this and could be that" equivocation.