What makes a killer workshop

Last week Beth and I were at Children’s Pastors’ Conference. I always enjoy asking people about the workshops they attended that day. With very few exceptions, people normally tell me about a killer workshop and then (with a shaking of the head) about one that they could have done without. Because I enjoy identifying and studying excellent communicators, I always dig deeper. I want to know what made the great workshop so great, and the disappointing one so disappointing. I’ve asked this question for nearly 10 years now and here’s what people tell me makes a great workshop. 

1. The title accurately described the content.
2. The presenter was a practitioner.
3. I was engaged within the first 30 seconds.
4. The content was practical and relevant.
5. The presenter was overly-prepared.
6. I connected with the presenter and the content.

If you want to know what makes a lousy workshop, it’s the opposite of these six. So… remember this list the next time you lead a workshop, make a presentation, or speak to a group. The people listening to you will thank you for it.

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4 Comments on “What makes a killer workshop”

  1. 1 Joshua K. Carpenter said at 4:02 am on March 6th, 2012:

    Hi, I was at #Napkin2012 and learned from a particular speaker (name not mentioned) on how to keep your audience from dozing off. *Note: Basic Homiletics is a great thing to understand and apply when giving a presentation. Nehemiah 8:8 (So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.) this is the best example presented in the Bible. Here are 6 things I learned from that presentation (name not mentioned) of what makes a lousy workshop.

    1) The title inaccurately describes the content. (Uncreative titles also qualify to provide automatic permission slips for the audience to doze off.)
    2) The presenter is not a practitioner. (How can you teach something your’e not actively accomplishing, and why would I even want to listen to what you have to say?)
    3) You don’t engage with your audience within the first 30 second, create conversations, and get them responding. (There is difference between “Lecture vs. Interactive Communication”)
    4) The content is unpractical and irrelevant. (Though we both like M&M’s, I prefer peanuts over plain….wait, that doesn’t make any sense.)
    5) Sloppiness is great in an elementary cafeteria. (Man I miss those Joe Days.) “Uhmmm’s” are overly stated when underly prepared, also folded papers in your pocket isn’t very credible. #GetAMac/iPhone/Keynote/RemoteApp
    6) The presenter doesn’t connect the presentee and the content. (Would a great speech be a great speech if the audience doesn’t connect with the presenter or the subject matter? (*Please see Nehemiah 8:8)
    7) The presenter doesn’t reiterate the main points during the conclusion. (Yes, I added a 7th, it is very imperative to recap…..”Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.”)

    Not to mention any names, but “Frankly” I really enjoyed the unmentioned #Napkin2012 presenters presentation and I didn’t doze off. Thus, Ryan’s 6 point blog was well worth missing my favorite tv show….no, not really, I’m Joshing you. However, Ryan is an excellent presenter: He ask good questions, uses props, tells stories, and removes physical barriers….all in which accumulates to the opposite of a lousy workshop. –@followJKC, Joshua K. Carpenter, animatedKIDZ

  2. 2 rfrank said at 2:58 am on March 7th, 2012:

    Josh, thanks for the comment! Who was that guy you heard at Napkin talk about this topic? Did he look like me? ha ha.

    Thanks for your insights! Have a great week. Ryan

  3. 3 CPC San Diego Recap | samluce.com said at 6:01 pm on March 7th, 2012:

    [...] What makes a Killer workshop – Ryan Frank Dale Hudson’s Online Notes – Things I wished I had known my first 5 years of ministry Leadership that lasts – Part 1 Leadership that lasts – Part 2 A week in Photos from – Jim Wideman What is INCM? – Jonathan Cliff [...]

  4. 4 CPC San Diego Recap | samluce.com said at 6:01 pm on March 7th, 2012:

    [...] What makes a Killer workshop – Ryan Frank Dale Hudson’s Online Notes – Things I wished I had known my first 5 years of ministry Leadership that lasts – Part 1 Leadership that lasts – Part 2 A week in Photos from – Jim Wideman What is INCM? – Jonathan Cliff [...]

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