Here are a few tips and suggestions that might help you come up with ideas to make your workshop more engaging:
1) Base your workshop on an issue that needs to be solved.
Nothing is worse than feeling like you don’t know where you’re headed. Make the issue your workshop is dealing with very clear beforehand. It allows the participant to decide whether or not the workshop is relevant to them at all (or else they will waste 90 minutes of their lives). And don’t try to solve ten problems at once. Focus on up to three and solve them well. It doesn’t matter if your workshop is on hard facts or emotional bonding.
2) Give your potential audience a reason why they should participate
e.g. This workshop will provide you with an insight into digital nomad banking. After the workshop, you will be able to find the right bank for your purpose, and you will know which tools and services you need to manage your banking from anywhere in the world.
This workshop will allow you the setting and space to share your fear of failure and learn from others. You will have the opportunity to share your most critical failures and the lessons you learned from them, but also listen to the experiences and growth of others.
3) Start your introduction with a question that applies to you and very likely to most of them.
Raise your arm as you ask the question, so your audience will respond with the same gesture if they are concerned. This method has three effects: 1. You learn sth. about your audience, 2. You allow your audience to bond with you and 3. You will allow the audience members to bond with their fellows. Make sure that this question reflects the problem that will be solved during your workshop.
e.g. Which of you has ever felt like they could be more focused and less distracted?
Which of you has ever dropped everything to start something new?
4) Keep the sections in which only you talk short.
Your audience is a bunch of digital people who are known for their short attention span. For the sections you spend on talking, this means that you should keep them to a maximum of 20 minutes. After that people tend to dose off and lose focus. If you have more things to say and don’t find a way around, make sure that you ask questions they need to respond to or allow them to put questions after parts. It will keep them active listening.
5) Use different formats.
As you give your participants different tasks to work on the content, let them cooperate in various social arrangements. An initial task often asks for a reflection of their own situation or progress or structure or else, it is useful to let them think for themselves and later share with a partner. Once they start developing ideas, strategies or products, let them get together in pairs or small groups (no larger than 4-5 people). Shuffling around makes them move, which is always an excellent energizer, and by forcing them to share their thoughts and ideas you create a ‚mastermind‘-effect, where more brains can work on the same issue.
Consider the T – P – S structure: THINK (individual tasks), PAIR (pairs share or co-create based on THINK-results), SHARE (pairs share with others in the large group).
Make sure that you:
e.g. THINK: come up with the three most crucial reasons that keep you from focussing.
PAIR: share your list with your partner and try to come up with solutions
SHARE: share in group by creating a mind map (with paper-slips) where all pairs put up their solutions and structure them. Add suggestions if sth. crosses your mind.
6) Bring material that helps audience follow.
You know what it’s like, right? When you only sit and receive, you usually slide lower and lower into your chair and eventually stop listening at all. You can prevent this reaction in your audience by providing them with a worksheet that allows them to follow along. You can leave gaps for notes or illustrate the tasks for them. It makes a massive difference, especially when they have something on hand when they leave your workshop.
7) Let them reflect on what they learned.
Finally, you can round up your workshop with one last task, to let participants sum up what they’re taking out of your session. Here are some ideas:
Flashlight: Everybody may say (only!) three words on what they take out of the session.
Everybody must write down three resolutions for what to change in the future.