CAREER ADVANCEMENT / SEP. 28, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Plan a Business Workshop

Business workshops can be a very effective strategy for enhancing relationships, promoting interactive learning and problem solving. However, the success of a workshop will be determined by its planning. If not properly planned, workshops can end up being a massive waste of money and time for a company. However, well-planned workshops will not only be productive, but also memorable.

Here are some guidelines for planning a business workshop:

1. Clarify the goals

Many workshops end up achieving nothing significant because there was no clear goal from the onset. Therefore, before holding a workshop, it is very important to define your goals. Do you want to enhance relationships among your new employees? Do you want to improve the customer care skills of your staff? Do you want employees to internalize the company’s vision and mission?

2. Identify the participants

Once you establish your goal, decide who will attend the workshop. For instance, if your goal is to improve customer care skills, then your target audience should be employees who deal directly with customers. If your goal is enhancing the company’s hiring policy, the participants could be employees in your human resource department. Write down a list of all the people who should attend the workshop. Remember to make a provision for a few possible last-minute inclusions.

3. Select an appropriate venue

When choosing a venue, you need to consider the logistics and requirements of your workshop. Can the venue comfortably accommodate all the attendees? Is it accessible? Does the venue provide facilities such as Wi-Fi and teleconferencing? Are the catering facilities satisfactory? Take time to consider several options until you find a venue which meets your needs and falls within your budget.

4. Develop an agenda

Having a goal for your workshop is not enough. You need to have a detailed plan for achieving your goals. First, take time to write down a list of the main points which should be discussed at the workshop. You could further break down each point into more specific details. Allocate specific time slots for each discussion and choose someone to facilitate each session. Don’t forget to include time for breaks, ice-breaking and meals. The more detailed your schedule, the higher your chances of having a successful workshop.

5. Create a follow-up plan

A proper follow-up plan is vital for evaluating the success of your workshop. A well-designed questionnaire can be a great tool for collecting feedback from attendees at the conclusion of the workshop. They can share their experience at the workshop, as well as give suggestions for future improvement. Besides collecting feedback, it is also important to remind participants of the resolutions that were made at the workshop. This information can be posted on the company’s website or sent to all the participants via email.

Planning a successful business workshop takes a lot of hard work, creativity and organization. However, taking time to work through the details will ensure that all the participants derive value from the workshop. This is likely to result in an improved bottom line for your company.    

Image: MASHABLE COMPOSITE/GETTY CREATIVE

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