A successful workshop is the product of tons of behind-the-scenes work. But don’t fret!
We have the essentials outlined here in our ultimate guide to workshop events. Check out these step-by-step tips for the comprehensive idea. We also recommend diving deeper into our dedicated articles linked at the end of each segment.
We’ll be covering these four broad phases of workshop management:
- Following up
Time to get to work and talk shop!
1. The plan
Our guide to a successful workshop begins in the scheming phase. Follow these general tips as you make your plans.
You wouldn’t want to plan a workshop around a craft you don’t know! Make sure you organise things around something you’ve gotten really good at.
Who’s your audience?
Maybe you are the typical sort of person who enjoys this craft. Or maybe you’re a 25-year-old male who enjoys knitting.
It can be a good idea to connect with artists and other craft folks to see what kind of demographic you’ll be working with.
A successful workshop instructor needs a solid blueprint for the day’s events. Draft up some ideas and get a schedule figured out for the day. This can help you determine what your budget will be like, too.
Figure the fees
Between venue, craft supplies, and other materials, make sure your ticket prices reflect the amount you need to invest.
Will you need handouts like informative pamphlets for this workshop? Can you play tutorial videos on a projector instead? Don’t leave all the learning to your lectures alone.
Selling your tickets in advance is nearly always a good idea. Of course, this depends somewhat on your demographic.
Give both early buyers and last-minute latecomers their preferred options. Use an online platform like Billetto.
Guide to planning a workshop
Check out our in-depth guide where we really talk shop and delve into the nitty-gritty: “How to Plan a Successful Workshop in 6 Easy Steps“
2. The promotion
With the plans under your belt, it’s time to do some promoting. Get the word out, sell the tickets.
Get in good with the art folks
Online arts and crafts communities are a huge Internet presence. Look for local craft groups to join online.
Once you locate your communities, don’t just go in guns blazing. You want to get a rapport built up first. Post related content and participate in conversations.
Before advertising your workshop, be sure to clear the promotion with any admins or mods.
Movers and shakers
Social media influencers are a big deal. They have relationships with their audiences and built-up trust. You’ll want to bring these experts to your side.
You can find some of them with hashtags like #crafts or #handcrafted.
Tip: Influencer platforms like this one make connecting with relevant personalities easy.
Content marketing is super helpful if you want to promote a successful workshop. As you promote, you’ll want to:
- Make instructive content: Show your audience how to undertake their own projects.
- Share other creators’ content: This is content you don’t have to make yourself. You can use it to forge connections with other craft personalities whose content you share.
- Centre content around your own workshops: If you’ve done any previous workshops, footage and images can make for really good promotional content.
Guide to promoting a workshop
Looking for more details? Get down to business with our in-depth guide: “5 Excellent Ways to Promote a Workshop.”
The big day has arrived! Let’s go over some things to keep in mind as you run your show.
Will you need tutorial equipment like laptops, projectors, or TVs? A successful workshop host arrives early to sort this stuff out. Make sure it all works, or you’ll have to skip that PowerPoint on inks vs. paint washes.
Go with the flow
The flow of the room’s atmosphere should be approved before you host a workshop in it. A few items to mess with might include table, desk, and chair spacing. What’s the temperature like? How about windows: open or closed?
Don’t be shy
Chat up your guests as they arrive! Get that rapport going and build early relationships for the learning to come.
Once everyone has arrived, make your formal introduction. How did you get so good at your craft? What is the end goal of this workshop? Pump your audience, but set realistic expectations for skills gained by the end of the day.
Share your schedule
Make sure everyone knows how this thing will go down. You can print out a schedule for the day or share one digitally.
Be like the pretzel: flexible! A schedule is important, but if one popular activity goes overtime, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
When you love something, let it go
Don’t go overboard with the instructions. Let your participants get down and dirty. This should be a crafty, hands-on experience.
Make sure everyone has the opportunity to participate in discussions. Give everyone their time in the spotlight and rotate small-group leadership.
Bust a recap
When things wrap up, a successful workshop will cover all the progress made. Leave your guests with a sense of accomplishment and let them know they got their money’s worth.
This can also allow guests to process and internalise lessons learned.
Guide to hosting a workshop
We have plenty more to say for workshop hosts in need of advice. Check out our in-depth guide: “Host a Workshop with These 7 Crafty Practices“
4. The follow-up
It ain’t over ‘til it’s over. Or at least until you follow up. Here are a few guidelines for tying a bow on the whole business.
One of the best opportunities for feedback is right at the finale. The experience is fresh and your guests are full of feeling. Try a questionnaire with some of the following:
- Did this workshop meet its goal?
- Has your skill level at this craft improved?
- What could the workshop do better in the future?
An attitude of gratitude
Get those thank-yous out there. Whether through email, social media, or even text, thank your attendees and let them know what a great group they were. You can also talk a little about all the progress everyone made.
Which supplies were used and which got dusty? Were your promotions a success? Was this a good environment in which to host a workshop?
Go over your budget and make tweaks where necessary. For example, if you bought too many paint brushes, you now have a better idea of how many you’ll need next time.
Any footage you snagged of the workshop in motion is great promotional material for the future.
Build a blog report with play-by-play of the day’s events. Emphasise the fun and the skills gained. Make this thing look good for future attendees!
Guide to following up after a workshop
Be sure to check out our in-depth guide for key details not covered here: “Closing Shop: Follow Up After a Workshop in 6 Steps“
Workshops are very rewarding events to run. They create personal connections you don’t always get with other events. Be sure to top off your skills with our in-depth event phase articles linked at the end of each major section above.
Let us know about your own workshop experiences in the comments below!