I love presenting workshops. It’s busy, exhausting work, but also strangely energising. There’s something so invigorating about helping other writers work towards accomplishing their goals. I think that’s why I love being a teacher, it’s a privilege to be invited along a person’s life journey.
Today I ran a writing workshop for kids, and tomorrow I’ll be co-presenting a workshop for writers who want to write for kids.
If you’re new to presenting workshops, it can be a little nerve-wracking. Here’s my top tips to get you started.
Presenting Writing Workshops
- RESEARCH to find out what your guests would like you to cover in your workshop.
- Have FOCUSED content. Don’t try to cover everything about writing. Narrow down your information to appeal to a SPECIFIC audience.
- If you’re shy, COLLABORATE with another presenter and present as a team.
- Choose a LOCATION with enough seating for your guests, but don’t go for a space so huge that it looks empty. I love presenting in book store cafes. Perfect ambience.
- Include FOOD. Even if you are presenting workshops that are only an hour, guests will appreciate water and snacks. For a full day workshop, include lunch and morning or afternoon tea. You don’t want guests wandering off looking for food or coffee.
- Design a FLYER, or get a friend with graphic skills to do it for you. Nice and simple with bright colours to attract attention. Don’t clutter it with lots of images, or long-winded details. Include the workshop topic, your name, an enticement, and enough information for the guest to book their place. Make your flyer A4 )or even A3) size, this way you can print it large for posters, or shrink it for websites/Facebook promotions.
- Take RSVPs. Don’t encourage guests to just drop in, you won’t be able to plan if you don’t know how many to expect. Many venues will take care of the RSVPs for you.
- Put POSTERS up at your venue.
- Promote on your website and Facebook page. If you have a writers email list, send out a newsletter. Ask writerly friends to share the image on their social network.
- PLAN your workshops well ahead of time. Start with an overview, what are you hoping guests will achieve from your workshop? Break that down into sections. Work out how long each session will be, and write up a detailed SCHEDULE.
- Include lots of ACTIVITIES for guests. Don’t spend the whole time just talking at people. By providing activities, you make the content RELEVANT to the guest.
- Mix it up a bit. Don’t have guests sitting still for more than an hour. Find a way to include MOVEMENT into your workshop.
- Allow guests to SHARE. Find out about their goals and accomplishments.
- Include ICEBREAKERS and GROUP TASKS.
- Provide all RESOURCES. Don’t expect guests to remember to bring anything. Provide notepaper, pens, worksheets.
- Get plenty of sleep the night before. Be full of ENERGY at your workshop!
- Provide quality content. Don’t skim over things, go deep into the information and provide VALUE. What can you give guests that they could get out of a book or off the internet.
- Have your BOOKS available for signing.
- Provide a sign-in sheet asking for guests EMAILs, so you can let them know when you have your next workshop.
- Get FEEDBACK so you can adjust future workshops.
- Most of all LAUGH. Have fun. If you enjoy presenting workshops, chances are your guests will enjoy attending them.
There are a lot of opportunities for presenting workshops, I’m very excited to be presenting a masterclasses on writing humour and tragedy for the RAINFOREST WRITING RETREAT in May! Check out the other great presenters: