Lessons Learned Planning a WorkshopHeather Petaccio
As a Partner Solutions Consultant with MHS Assessments, I recently had the opportunity to plan a workshop event that brought clients together in one place to network, get certified in a number of tools and assessments, as well as learn from industry experts. With all the excitement of putting the finished product together and running a successful workshop, there were many valuable lessons I learned along the way.
This experience proved to be a great learning experience from inception to execution. There were many turns and pivots, including reorganizing content midstream which I learned can throw a monkey wrench into even the best well laid plans, but I was fortunate enough that it didn’t (lesson #1 before I even begin).
If you’ve considered hosting a workshop for your clients or teams, I’m sharing my top takeaways to keep in mind before you begin:
- Content, content, content – This is the most important piece to the puzzle. Without valuable and engaging content to reach the right audience for your event, you won’t be able to attract them. Make sure when thinking about content that it answers several main questions – Who is my audience? What need am I trying to address? What problem am I solving? What value will my clients get from this? How can I keep my clients engaged during the event/workshop?
- Timing – This is critical because without the right timing you won’t get the right people at your event/workshop, in fact you may not get anyone at all if you don’t choose the right time of year. Look into all holidays around the time that you wish to hold your event. Figure out when your clients are budgeting for such events so they can include it in their planning. Think about this as early as the year prior to your event date. Keep an eye on fiscal year closings. All of these factors can impact the timing of your event. Looking back on my event, I learned that the end of the first quarter into the second quarter is the ideal time for my clients.
- Location – Ask yourself if this is a national or regional event and will people be travelling from other states to get there. Is the airport easily accessible or will it require multiple flights for someone to get to the event? Consider holding it in a major city or destination location.
- Team – Find a strong support system internally to help move the details forward. Partner with others to help make your event the most robust! My team provided me with support, idea input, venue details and selections, last minute changes and so much more. If you don’t have access to a team of people to help you out, don’t be afraid to bounce ideas off-of mentors or trusted confidants. Their input is invaluable and can help make you make sound decisions for a successful event.
I hope these tips help and wish you much success in your workshop and event planning!