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14 Ideas for Your Next Workshop

Kaitlyn Tatulli |

Intelligent speaker standing and lecturing at business conference in boardroomDid you know the first usage of the word "workshop" was in 1556 and is meant for a small group of people to handcraft something together? Although the word workshop is often used in the event industry interchangeably with events like seminars, training sessions, etc., it is important to remember the word’s etymology.

For event planners, workshops should focus on gathering a small to medium size group together to focus, create, or develop a tangible project. To inspire planners and help them create an engaging workshop for attendees, we’ve created a list of the top 14 ideas for your next workshop. Check it out.

1. Breakfast Briefing

If you want to expand your audience and connect with areas of the world that are on different time schedules than you, consider hosting a breakfast briefing workshop. You can offer attendees coffee, tea, and pastries, and livestream the workshop so people from around the globe can attendee your event.

2. Unique, Non-Traditional Venue

To excite and engage attendees, host your next workshop at a unique, non-traditional venue. For instance, instead of hosting your event in a hotel’s conference room choose a more creative, one-of-a-kind venue, like a restaurant, rooftop bar, a warehouse, etc. Whatever type of unique space you choose, just make sure it has enough space to seat all your guests.

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3. Play Around with the Room Layout

Instead of the traditional classroom style and rows of single tables and chairs, change up the room layout to engage attendees. If you want to promote connection among workshop attendees, set up a table with a few chairs to create small groups. You can also implement lounge furniture, like couches, and coffee or snack stations to help promote comfort among attendees.

4. Motivational Music

Although this may sound simple, playing upbeat, motivational music during breaks or before sessions can help excite attendees. Make sure the music connects to your workshop’s theme or overall goal.

5. Meditation and Stretching Breaks

Integrate meditation and stretching breaks into your next workshop. Not only can this be used as a transition from one speaker to another, but meditation and stretching breaks also have been proven to decrease attendees’ stress, anxiety, promote better sleep, and improve their overall quality of life.

6. Group Exercises

Because people learn in many different ways, consider hosting group exercises in breakout sessions. You can use these group exercises to brainstorm ideas, mix up departments, and encourage participation, since many people are more willing to participate in smaller groups

7. Giveaways

In return for participation in your workshop, gift attendees with an incentive, like a gift card, a coupon, or branded swag. To really incentivize participation at your workshop, consider hosting giveaway contests e.g. the person who participated the most; the person who shared the most on social media, etc.

8. Invite Industry Influencers

Invite industry influencers to speak to your audience at your next workshop. Not only will this engage and interest your attendees, but you can also utilize your influencer’s social media following before, during, and after your event by asking them to share photos or posts about your event.

9. Host a Demo

Give your attendees a hands-on experience with your product, by hosting a product demo at your next workshop. Not only will hosting a product demo better your attendees’ knowledge of your product, but it will also be sure to engage your audience. This is also a great opportunity for attendees to ask questions about your product, so be sure to have on-site experts there ready to answer questions.

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10. Executive Panel Discussion

Host an executive panel discussion focused on the specific topic or goal of your workshop. Encourage attendees to be a part of the discussion by using their mobile event app to ask questions. Panel discussions are an effective and engaging way to get the top executives talking about important topics.

11. Lunch and Learn

Combine networking and education with a unique lunch experience by hosting a lunch and learn. Your lunch and learn can take place indoors or outdoors and should feature food stations to keep people moving, mingling, and learning.

12. Gamify the Workshop

Gamification is a powerful technique to engage your audience during your workshop. With a mobile event app, you can host a point or scavenger hunt game where attendees collect points by checking-in to certain sessions or by completing certain tasks (e.g. onsite training; posting on social media). You can then reward the attendee with the most amount of points at the end of your event.

13. Survey or Poll Your Attendees

Thanks to event management technology like mobile event apps, integrating polling into your event has never been easier. By downloading your mobile event app, attendees can answer surveys or polls during your event. Speakers can then use these real-time results by projecting them onto the screen and discussing the results.

14. Offsite Group Events

If your workshop is longer than two days, consider hosting an offsite event to bring attendees together and enhance their overall experience. For offsite outings, you can host a cocktail hour or dinner at a unique restaurant, tour the local sites, attend a sporting event, and so much more.


What do you think of these 14 ideas for your next workshop? Which one is your favorite? Did we miss any? Let us know by commenting below!

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This Post was Written by Kaitlyn Tatulli

Kaitlyn Tatulli is a graduate from Fairfield University with majors in Digital Journalism and Psychology and minors in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Computer Science. Currently, she is receiving her MFA from Fairfield University. Kaitlyn...

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