Beyond One Workshop: Creating Workshop Programs, Series & Retreats

The good news is there are many formats you can deliver your workshop in (e.g. one evening workshop, teleclass series, ½ day, full day, weekend retreats).  The challenge is there are many formats you can deliver your workshop in.

Once you create the high level design of your workshop, you may begin to notice that there is more information than you could fit into one workshop.  You may also notice that the information could be “chunked” out into various formats for delivery at different times, leveraging the material while creating greater opportunities.

Below are various formats and the key factors to consider for each format.

What is a Delivery Format?

A Delivery Format is the overall way in which you deliver a workshop.   Often, we fall back on a particular delivery format because it is what we are familiar with.  Perhaps the format you are most familiar with is an evening workshop, or it might be a 1 hr teleclass.

Once you have your high level design, and before you begin development, it is a great time to brainstorm on delivery formats that best fit your content, your audience and your overall intentions from a business standpoint.  As you step out of what feels familiar, new ideas can open up and you will begin to see that one workshop idea could turn into on-going topics and create a revenue stream you had not originally considered.

Possible Delivery Formats for Public Workshops:

  • Introductory Workshop Offer (gives a taste – high level information)
  • Introductory Teleclass  (1 hr – 1.5 hr)
  • 2-3 hr Workshop (day/evening/weekend)
  • Workshop/Seminar Series (2-3 hr Workshops, once a week for 2-10 weeks)
  • Lunchtime Workshops or Workshop Series
  • ½ day Course
  • Full day Course
  • 2 or more days Course
  • Weekend Retreat
  • Vacation Course
  • Year Long Course

Possible Delivery Formats for Corporate/Business Workshops:

  • Teleclass (Introductory or On-going) (1 hr – 1.5 hr)
  • Lunchtime Session or Series (1-1.5 hr over lunch)
  • 2-3 hr Workshop
  • ½ day Course
  • Full day Course
  • 2 or more days Course

Factors to Consider when Choosing Delivery Formats

Choose a delivery format or combination of delivery formats based on the following factors:

Scope and Nature of your Material

  • As you look at your material and nature of your topic, how easy is it for others to understand?  Are you noticing there may be too much to cover in one session?  If so, explore creating a workshop/seminar series, multiple teleclasses or making the course into a ½ day, full day or weekend retreat.
  • Is there knowledge, concepts or information you request people to know prior to taking your workshop? If so, you may consider holding a 1-hr teleclass prior to the workshop to provide them the necessary.
  • Could you extract out a few pieces of your workshop design to give a “taste” in a 1-hr free teleclass to help promote your workshop?  It is still important to provide value in that call, but your intention is to attract them to sign up for your workshop. You can hold the free teleclass as a “Come learn about…” and run it several times before the actual workshop takes place.
  • Based on the nature of your material, you may realize that the content can be divided into distinct, independent modules that could be delivered as separate workshops.  Look to see the opportunities to create unique workshops from the design you have created.
  • An alternative to a free teleclass is to hold a paid session to “Introduce” your concepts.  Is your material/design conducive to holding an “Introduction” session where participants get to experience what it will be like, they get value and at the end of the session, have the opportunity to sign up for the series of courses at a discount?

Delivery Mechanisms

  • How interactive can you make your workshop? Engaging exercises and interaction can often take longer to deliver as you have to account time for instruction giving, pairing up/grouping up, individual group readouts and overall group debriefs.  The impact of such interaction is invaluable, but you do need to consider the trade-offs with time.
  • Unfortunately, the most common way that workshops are shortened is by taking out some of the interaction.  We suggest you minimize this as much as possible.  If you have a fixed amount of time, and you move into development of your workshop and realize you will not be able to include all your interaction, consider moving some of the content to another workshop.  This allows you to maintain a high level of interaction and value but deliver your material in smaller “chunks”.  Or, remove some interaction but not all.  Be careful that you don’t turn your workshop into a presentation.
  • Take a hard look at your design and identify your ideal delivery format. Perhaps you recognize that a 2 day retreat would be ideal and would provide the highest value.  If you design that in a modular way, you will begin to see that the 2 day retreat can be divided into several modules/workshops you could deliver over time.  And, you can still deliver the 2 day retreat as well.

Business Intentions

What do you want to generate out of this workshop from a business standpoint? It is important to understand upfront what your intentions are.  For example, are you looking to attract 1-on-1 Clients following the workshop?  Are you looking to have participants sign up for the next workshop?  Are you looking to create groups you can coach out of the workshop?

Based on your intentions, your format may be different.  Get clear on your intentions and then identify the delivery format the best fits your intentions.

Key Takeaway Points

  • There are many ways you can deliver your workshop. Review the factors to consider and get creative in your delivery format to provide maximum benefit to your attendees while meeting your business intentions.
  • When your time is fixed, be careful not to sacrifice experiential learning. Interactive exercises are critical to a successful workshop.  If you find you need to remove exercises to save time, challenge yourself to scope down your material instead.
  • Have fun and follow your energy & passion!! Go with where you aliveness is and you won’t be lead astray!  Remember, people want to learn from people who are passionate and energized about their topic.