A Guide to Planning a Corporate Workshop
Corporate workshops are an effective way to train employees, build an awesome team, and drive business growth. The trouble can be that organising a successful workshop is a difficult task to get right. With so many moving parts to juggle and details to consider, it can be difficult to know where to start.
In this post, I will discuss the steps and give you my top tips for planning and organising a productive and effective corporate workshop. This is not particularly aimed at anyone in particular and should be used as a starting point. I’ll reference where applicable to help the reader gather more information which is already on the internet.
The steps I’ll cover range from; defining the purpose and audience to setting specific goals and objectives, planning the content and format, promoting and marketing the workshop, and measuring success (it’s very important you ask for feedback).
Defining the Purpose of your Workshop
Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying “ Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” The secret to anything is in the preparation. We’ll do that by spending time defining the purpose of the workshop. The purpose of the workshop should be clear and specific, it should align with the overall goals of your company. Often there’s a discovery call at this stage to help you to verbalise the purpose of the event and what good looks like to you. Once this is captured and agreed upon we can move on.
The workshop purpose will guide all of the decisions that you make during the planning process, from determining the target audience to setting specific goals and objectives.
There are several types of workshops, each with their own specific purpose. For example, a workshop could be held to train employees on a new software program, to build team cohesion, or to develop new business strategies. Here are a few examples of different types of workshops and their corresponding purposes:
- Team Building: These workshops are held to improve teamwork and communication within a group or organisation. The purpose of these workshops is to build cohesion and increase productivity.
- Strategy Development: Used to develop new business strategies and plans. The purpose of these workshops is to improve the overall performance of the organisation.
- Sales Workshops: Presentations on different sales techniques such as consultative selling, the Challenger Sale method, or SPIN Selling. Typically led by an experienced sales professional or a team of experts. The format may include lectures, group discussions, role-playing exercises, and case studies.
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Workshops: These workshops are held to educate employees on the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace and how to create a more inclusive environment.
- Digital Marketing: These workshops may include SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, Google Analytics, PPC advertising, influencer marketing, and video marketing. A good workshop will be a great source of creative ideas.
Clearly defining the purpose of the workshop, you can ensure that it aligns with the overall goals of the organisation and meets the needs of all stakeholders. In most organisations there is a clear goal w
Determine the Workshop Audience
Determining the target audience for your corporate workshop is the next step.
Start by considering the diversity of the target audience and their location. Understanding who you want to attend the workshop and where they are based, will help you to tailor the content, format and logistics of getting to the workshop. It might be an option to deliver the content of the workshop virtually (there are lots of platforms available) or some kind of hybrid event.
When defining the target audience, consider factors such as job role, experience level, and department. For example, if the workshop is for entry-level employees, the content should be less technical and focus on the basics of the topic, while a workshop for senior managers should be more advanced and focus on strategic planning.
People also learn differently and have different preferences. It’s important to include a variety of activities in the workshop, such as lectures, group discussions, hands-on exercises and case studies that cater to different learning styles.
Set Specific Goals and Objectives
When setting goals and objectives, it’s important to be specific and measurable. For example, instead of simply stating “improve team cohesion”, set specific and measurable objectives such as “increase the number of cross-functional teams by 20% within the next quarter” or “improve communication among team members by 30% within the next month”. Worth reading up on how to set SMART goals too.
The time frame for achieving these goals and objectives is important. This gives you a deadline and if you start at the end of the deadline you can then move back to the present day (sitting milestones along the way) you can quickly create a plan. Action without planning is the cause of all failure. Action with planning is the cause of all success. If the goal is to improve communication among team members, you might set objectives to achieve this within a specific time frame, such as within the next month or quarter.
Plan the Content and Format
plan the content and format of the workshop. This will include determining the topics to be covered, selecting the facilitators, and deciding on the logistics of the event such as the location, date, and time. Choose an engaging and interactive format that to keep the audience focused and maximise effectiveness.
When selecting facilitators, it’s important to choose individuals who are knowledgeable and experienced in the topics to be covered, and who have the ability to engage and inspire the audience. They should be able to present the information in an interactive and engaging manner, and be able to answer questions on the fly and facilitate discussions.
I’m a big fan of making workshops as fun and interactive as possible. Post-it notes and flip charts are beneficial when presenting because they add visual appeal and flexibility to your presentation. These tools allow for increased engagement and make it easy to organise and structure any presentation quickly.
Promote and Market the Workshop
There are several tools that can be used for promoting and marketing a corporate workshop, these include:
- Social media platforms: Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are great places to connect with potential attendees and share information about the workshop. Create an event page on these platforms and invite people you know to attend.
- Email marketing software: Platforms like MailChimp, Constant Contact, and GetResponse allow you to easily create and send targeted email campaigns to promote your workshop.
- Event listing websites: Websites like Eventbrite, Meetup, and Eventful allow you to create an event listing and promote it to a wide audience.
- Landing page builders: Tools like Leadpages and Unbounce allow you to create professional-looking landing pages to promote your workshop and gather information from potential attendees.
- Video marketing: Platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, and TikTok can be used to create and share videos about your workshop to generate interest and attract attendees.
- Influencer marketing: Reach out to industry influencers or thought leaders to promote your workshop on their social media platforms or websites. Consider giving them a free ticket in exchange for being an ambassador of your workshop.
Promoting a corporate workshop within an organisation can be a bit different than promoting to the general public. Here are a few strategies I would use to promote the workshop within an organisation:
- Internal communication channels: Utilise internal communication channels such as email, intranet, or company messaging apps to reach all employees and inform them of the upcoming workshop.
- Employee referrals: Encourage employees to spread the word about the workshop to their colleagues by offering incentives for successful referrals.
- Employee engagement: Create a sense of excitement and engagement around the workshop by involving employees in the planning process and promoting their participation.
- Employee training programs: Incorporate the workshop as part of the employee training program to increase participation and engagement.
- Company events: Schedule the workshop as part of a company-wide event or conference to increase visibility and participation.
Using a combination of these tools, you can reach a wide audience and effectively promote your workshop. It’s important to be consistent in your message across all the platforms to create a cohesive brand image.
At all of the stages above make sure to communicate with as many stakeholders as possible to get their buy-in and feedback. Give people plenty of notice too, getting the stars to align always takes longer than you think (especially if this is your first time planning a workshop).
Good luck. I’m sure your corporate workshop will be a resounding success.