Workshop Tips and Tricks

So, You Want to Host a Stellar Workshop?

We’ve worked with many of our longstanding active directors to pull their best practices for hosting a workshop. We hope their experiences and insights can help you host the best workshop possible in your city. Do you have ideas that you could add to the list? Ping us at: ford@startupgrind.com 

What is the Purpose of a Workshop? 

  • A Workshop provides technical content that you won’t get at a fireside chat. It allows your community a chance to learn and engage with tangible information that they can put into practice within their own work. These events might draw a smaller more focused crowd, or may engage a large portion of your community, depending on the topic. But what they experience in this format will be directly applicable, and will not only tell the story of how a founder or community member got to where they are today. 

What should a Workshop look like?

  • A workshop isn’t a fireside chat, and shouldn’t feel like one.
  • An interactive experience led by an experienced facilitator, note that this is a great way for partners or sponsors to donate content and not just financial support
    • Like a typical event, you shouldn’t be paying to bring in the speakers for the workshop.
  • Generally, one speaker can handle an audience of 30, the larger the audience the larger support team you’ll need for facilitation
    • Smaller audiences create deeper communication and foster community across the group
    • If group work is involved, 3-4 is the sweet spot for groups
      • 5-7 can be alright, but try to encourage people to work with others they don’t know
    • Explain theory in enough depth that the audience understands why they are doing these tasks and how they can relate to their real life
    • Keep tasks simple enough to accomplish, but still engaging
      • Allow them the opportunity to navigate ambiguity 

What about the content?

  • This is a great time to dive into more technical content than at a typical event. 
    • The speaker/facilitator should be an expert on what they are presenting, with real experience in the field
  • Find enthusiasts in your community that have something they want to share, for example:
    • How to …
    • Design Thinking
    • Pitch Training
    • Personal Branding
    • What is Cryptocurrency
  • If led by a sponsor, this shouldn’t just be a company pitch. 
    • If a sponsor has been wanting to get more involved, this is a great outlet 
  • Format of the event can vary
    • You may want more time than a typical fireside chat
    • Allow plenty of breaks for people to mingle about 
    • If there is project-based group work, allow groups a chance to present something
    • Leave time at the end for Q&A
  • Find out what YOUR community is interested in and needs to learn, and target a workshop that fills that gap

The venue, the menu, and the seating

  • The Venue
    • Make sure to have plenty of space for people to move around
    • Having wall space to hang notes or canvases can be great to get people up and talking
  • The Menu
    • Light appetizer foods that people can grab and go to take back to their seats work great
    • Coffee or drinks available throughout can be beneficial
  • The Seating
    • Round tables work great for group work or to facilitate conversation
    • Tables in general give people better work area
  • Setting up the event
    • Be sure to select the workshop event type in Bevy
    • You can also charge more for a workshop, as you will likely have a smaller turnout and will be providing denser content
    • Check-in can be done using the Bevy app, like normal 

Pics or it didn’t happen!

Workshops hosted by Startup Grind St. Petersburg

Finally- A huge THANK YOU to the Fabulous directors who helped us bring all of this information together. Do you have other tips and tricks, or general ideas about workshops that would be valuable for other directors? Please ping us on Slack or through Ford and we would love to add them to the list!

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