Seven effective tips and ideas for planning a virtual workshop
Are you planning a virtual workshop? If so, we’ve put together seven effective tips and ideas to help make it a success.
Gone are the days when any gathering or workshop needed to take place face-to-face. Thanks to increasingly powerful and accessible technology (and aided by two years of lockdowns), it’s now easier and more common to host events and learning online.
But if you’re not familiar with planning company virtual events, how can you ensure they’ll be a success? What do you need to know? Let’s explore seven things you need to get right.
1) Identify who your workshop is for
The first stage of planning any workshop, whether it is virtual or face to face, is identifying who the workshop is for, and what they want from it.
When considering your target audience for your workshop, it is important not to be too broad. The more you can niche down into a particular group of people, the more specific and valuable your workshop will be, and the easier you’ll find it to fill places.
The great thing about planning a virtual workshop is that you are not restricted by geography. As your students do not need to physically travel to your workshop, you can reach people anywhere in the world – timezones allowing. So don’t restrict your target audience to people near you.
You also need to understand your workshop objective – what these people want to have or know by the end of it – as this will help you to hone your topic and plan your content.
2) Decide on the length of your workshop
When you are clear about your audience and their objective you can work out how long your workshop needs to be.
For example, if you’re delivering quite a simple workshop, you may decide you can do it in an hour. But if the objective of your workshop is more complex, or requires more interaction with your students, or maybe more time for them to complete exercises, you may choose to plan a half or full day workshop.
Don’t be tempted to make your workshop longer than it needs to be. Your goal is simply to enable your students to achieve their objective, not impart every piece of knowledge you have!
3) Plan a date for your virtual workshop
Another important initial decision when planning a virtual workshop is choosing the date and time. And when doing so, consider your audience. Where are they mainly based? In your timezone or another? Will they be watching this workshop during work time or in their own time? And if the latter, do they prefer evenings or weekends?
It’s also important to consider holidays. Are there any national holidays around the time you are planning your workshop? Or school holidays? You don’t want to plan a workshop when your audience are likely to be on holiday or enjoying outings and celebrations with friends and family.
4) Create your workshop content
How will you deliver your workshop? Will it be live or prerecorded? Will you teach online via video, or mix the content up with written exercises and worksheets? How much interaction do you want? These are all important decisions to make when planning a virtual workshop.
Whatever delivery method you decide, you need to ensure it is engaging and interesting. The last thing you want to do is bore students through death by powerpoint! Also consider different learning styles, and make sure you cater for everyone’s needs.
If you are using slides to teach, here are some golden rules to remember:
- Stick to idea one per slide – don’t bombard your students with too much information on one slide; you’ll only make hot harder for them to absorb
- Use quality images – use high quality free photo sites like Unsplash to create visually appealing slides to illustrate your points
- Don’t read your slides – use your slides as highlights and emphasis, not as in-depth notes for you to read from
- Use more slides, not less – keep your presentation interesting by moving through slides regularly and not dwelling on one for several minutes
- Keep your slides simple – make your slides easy to understand and avoid overly complex diagrams and long bullet point lists
5) Keep your objectives front of mind
When creating your content, always keep front of mind who it is for, and what your objective is – in other words, what your students need to leave your workshop knowing or having. Always make sure that the content you create will deliver this, and don’t be afraid to weed out unnecessary slides, or exercises and lessons that are just adding content for the sake of it.
6) Choose your technology
You may not need a bricks and mortar venue for your virtual workshop, but you will need to host it somewhere, so consider what technology you’ll use to deliver it. It’s important that the technology you use is reliable, and allows for interaction between teacher and students.
Other considerations are how many students you anticipate joining your workshop, and what kind of browsers and devices they will use. Make sure that the technology you choose to deliver your workshop is suitable for their browsers and devices.
7) Deliver and review your workshop
Once you are ready, you can launch and deliver your virtual workshop. If it is your first, don’t worry if not everything goes 100% smoothly. As long as your students achieve their objective, then your workshop will be a success.
And remember that every workshop is an opportunity to learn yourself. So review how it went afterwards, What content went down well? And what content do you feel you could improve for next time?
Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your students too. How did they find the workshop? Did they achieve their objectives? And what parts worked best for them, and which parts did they feel could be improved? Hopefully you’ll enjoy your first virtual workshop and son start planning more!