You can plan and structure a workshop according to the following guidelines:
Why are you running the workshop? What are its aims?
Workshops must be planned so that they have direction and also so that something practical comes out at the end.
Who is the workshop for? How many people will come?
If it is a big group, then you need to plan for smaller group sessions during the workshop. A group of more than 30 people is difficult to handle and makes it harder for everyone to participate in a way that is meaningful to them.
- Language (link to point 2)
Which language or languages will you use?
What level of language will be best for the workshop? Will you need translation? Who will do the translating?
Translation takes a lot of time and skill. It must be planned and not left to the last minute.
- Time and venue (link to point 2)
When is the best time for running the workshop? How long should it run for?
Where is the most suitable venue?
Work out what facilities you will need, for example enough room or quiet smaller spaces for small group work. People should always be able to sit around in a circle at the venue. Make all the practical arrangements, for example, booking a venue, catering, seating arrangements, transporting the participants, having a crèche for children, and so on.
- Content (link to points 1 and 2)
What will you cover in the workshop and in how much detail?
You can divide your workshop into the following sections:
a. The beginning: This includes your welcome, your own and the group introductions, establishing ground rules for the workshop, looking at peoples’ expectations.
b. The middle: This is where you deal with transferring knowledge and/or skills to people. Remember, people learn by practicing what they have heard or learnt. You need to make time in your workshop for people to practice using the information they have been given or shared. For example, if you are running a workshop on mediation skills, you need to explain the theory to people and then give them time to practice the mediation process.
c. The end: This includes your summary of the workshop, evaluation by participants and your own concluding remarks.
- Methods (link to point 5)
How will you get the message to people?
What workshop methods will help you to achieve this?
Decide how much time each part of the workshop will need.
(See: Workshop methods)
- Facilitators and resources
Who will run the different parts of the workshop?
What resources will they need to run the workshop effectively?
Prepare the resources you will need in the workshop, for example, inputs, small group questions, handouts, charts, and so on.