Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Workshop

There is, of course, the obligatory start and the sooner that is over, the better. It is time to exude some - but not too much - energy and to let them know that this is one fascinating subject; one that they've secretly longed to learn more about, so secretly in fact that they may not have realized it until now.

The class must have case examples. The ideal example is one that will make them wonder if you've been reading their minds because they've been grappling with the question long before walking into the room. Discussion of the examples must draw in the audience but it must not lag. A fast pace is almost always better than a slow one and yet you must constantly study them to know when to slow things down and let them catch their breath.

Breaks must be nine or eleven minutes. No longer. Seven at the absolute shortest.

Humorous or informative asides can be very helpful but they must be asides and not the main program. Any humor should be one-liners so little is invested and by the time they catch it you've moved onto another point.

Anything that doesn't work should be jettisoned. Keep it moving and don't let technology slow your pace.

When they leave, you want them to be confident, well-informed, and yet hungry for more.

Go get 'em.


Dan Richwine said...

One comment, whether a meeting or a workshop, is start the freaking thing on time if you can possibly do so. Starting late encourages people to show up late, and wastes everyone's time. Schedule your opening so that if someone walks in a few seconds late they won't miss anything critical, but they will feel late.

Late starts to scheduled events ranks up there with unreturned messages in my pet peeve list.

Michael Wade said...


I know what you mean. I've taught some classes, however, when a key item would be ruined by latecomers and so I start it three minutes late.

Not being on time is one of my pet peeves.