Business workshops could be a great value to your team, or not.
One way is to invest in them. Business workshops and seminars are a proven way to do that. To show employees that you care enough to offer them an opportunity to learn new skills and connect with others. There are lots of reasons why some companies don’t want to offer them, and employees don’t take advantage of the opportunity.
It’s a Disruption
Taking time out of the workday can be a disruption. Employers worry about the loss of productivity. Employees are afraid to step out and try something new. And if the workshop is mandatory, there can be resentment. I once did a communication workshop for a group of salespeople from around the country who were told by their boss that they were “terrible communicators.” It was by far the toughest workshop I ever conducted. Fortunately, they got past the resentment and understood the value.
Content is Not Relevant
Some workshops are one-size-fits-all. The presenter has a body of content and does the same thing over and over again without regard for the audience. As a result, participants lose interest or can’t see how to apply what they learned quickly and effectively.
No Way to Measure Results
How do you know if someone truly benefitted from a business workshop or seminar? If you are spending time and money, you need results. Will an employee come away with new tools, skills, and perspectives that have an impact? How do you measure it?
All of these are valid arguments. But if you choose the best workshops and presenters, the arguments disappear. Here are some tips to help you make good choices.
Look for Experts, not Speakers
Some workshop presenters are just that- presenters. They have a great speech as long as they can stick to the script. What you want is a subject matter expert that works in the field and has a depth of knowledge. These professionals will be better versed in current best practices, trends, and issues. Ask to see a video sample of the presenter. There is nothing worse than great content presented by a boring speaker.
Ask for Customization
I never do the same workshop the same way. Companies’ needs vary, as do the skill levels of the participants. I will do a fact-finding session with key company stakeholders to get a handle on the content needed. I also do an assessment of participants. It is a simple but effective survey that helps me get to know the participants and from there I can plan the additional content that they might want to be included.
People are more engaged when there is interaction. This can be in the form of hands-on exercises, on-the-spot surveys, video streaming, demonstrations or small group discussion. Ask to see how interaction is incorporated into a workshop you are considering for your team. I design workshops with interaction sprinkled throughout to keep people engaged so that they absorb the content.
I have conducted business workshops on communication, presentation skills and media training throughout the country. A number of my clients use workshops to give up-and-comers the skills they need for promotion. Others see it as a way to motivate individuals to be better performers in their current position. In some cases, the workshops are designed to improve destructive communication patterns. Whatever the reason, a workshop can be a cost-effective way to provide continuous learning- and who doesn’t need that?