The Workshop Survival Guide : How to design and teach educational workshops that work every time

The Workshop Survival Guide : How to design and teach educational workshops that work every time


Need to run a workshop? Your attendees are trusting you with their time and attention. What are you giving them in return?

Most workshops don't work. They fail to deliver real results and they fail to keep the audience energetic and engaged. They're stressful to run and painful to attend.

Designing and running a brilliant workshop is easier than you think. It's not about flashy showmanship or natural charisma. Instead, it's about following a set of clear, simple rules for structuring and arranging the day.Discover and use key design principles such as: Naturally refresh and maintain the audience's attention and energy by alternating the "teaching format" (e.g. lecture, small group discussion, hands-on practice) every 20 minutes and making strategic use of good breaksDramatically improve your educational impact by choosing an exercise which is properly matched to the type of knowledge/skill/wisdom currently being taughtSave dozens of hours by beginning your design process with a simple "skeleton" of Learning Outcomes and timings rather than jumping straight into slides and materialsFinish on time, every time, by intentionally designing flexible "schedule springs" into your session, allowing you to seamlessly adjust to delays and bad luck, and to ensure that everyone learns what they came for without running late

The first half of the book covers everything you'll need to know about designing and refining the session itself. With a good design in hand, teaching a brilliant workshop goes from arduous to nearly automatic.

The second half of the book shifts from ahead-of-time design to day-of facilitation.Learn the essential facilitation needed to solve unexpected problems and run a smooth, stress-free workshop: Reliable tools and tactics for crowd control, recovering attention, and shifting between tasks (without feeling like you're fighting against your audience)Clear guidance for picking the best room setup, and also improving a "bad" room to make the most of itSpotting and problem-solving the six major types of "difficult" attentees who are being either accidentally or intentionally disruptive (including the most common issue of bringing a hostile expert onto your side)Checklists and reminders of what to bring, what to do, and when to do it, in order to ensure that nothing gets forgotten, overlooked, or lost

At no point in the book will we ask you to "put on a big smile" or "project confidence". That's fluffy BS which doesn't work. Instead, we'll give you clear, concrete tools for managing a crowd and seamlessly guiding everyone to an effective outcome.Why we're the right authors to help you succeed

Over the last 15 years, we've designed and run a huge number of successful workshops (and a few major flops) covering every type of audience: executives, undergrads, MBAs, disadvantaged youths, busy professionals, and more. We've designed everything from 20-minute teasers to 3-month intensives, in locations ranging from Costa Rica and Qatar to London and Berlin.

We've taught for companies like HP and Deloitte and for universities like Oxford and NYU. We've built workshops for every price point, from free upskilling (paid for by the state or employer) through to $4000-per-seat premium events. We've taught casual sessions, with beer in hand and flip-flop on foot, through to formal, posh affairs with glitzy venues and high-end catering. In every case, no matter where it was located or who it was for, the process outlined in these pages worked.

Perhaps most importantly, we can teach you how to do this. We've trained up teachers from scratch who are now billing upwards of $5000 per day and getting invited back to teach again and again. This stuff isn't complicated.

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