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How Do You Provide Workshops?

March 16, 2015

In gearing up to provide a typical workshop, the presenter talks with the organizer to get some idea as to the learning needs of the participants. The presenter then tries to extrapolate to the learning needs of the intended participants and prepares a presentation that may or may not reflect their actual learning needs.

That presentation often includes a PowerPoint presentation and the workshop usually concludes with 5 to 10 minutes for questions and answers. Participants often leave this kind of presentation frustrated, having learned little to apply to the issues they are really grappling with.

I used to present my workshops this way too until I figured out there is a better way.

While I still assess the learning needs of the participants through the organizer(s) to set the theme, when the workshop begins, I don’t go on to present a prepared text only to make room for Q&A at the end.

I turn the workshop on its head.

Rather than waiting until the end of a presentation for 5 to 10 minutes of Q&A, I begin the workshop with curiosity. I ask the participants a series of questions and make note of their responses on a flip chart. I wonder:

Why did you come here today?
What are you hoping to get out of today’s presentation?
What issues are you grappling with that you hoped this workshop might help solve?

By asking the group these three questions at the beginning, I am able to attune myself to their learning needs and deliver content right on the spot that will more closely target what they hoped to get out of attendance. This is consistent with adult learning. To be of interest and benefit, the content must be practical and relevant. This approach virtually guarantees this.

This requires trust in oneself to have a solid working knowledge of the subject and confidence by the workshop organizers that this method of presentation can work.

I have been doing this now for many years. Feedback received from participants always demonstrates their pleasure for receiving content appropriate to their learning needs.

This approach allows for more spontaneity, engagement and conversation in and about the subject matter.

Curious about what people say about my workshops? Here’s a short list representing feedback from social workers, lawyers, ECE’s, evaluators, psychologists and parents:

  • Gary makes learning fun, he encourages students to participate and be themselves
  • Very excellent workshop!!
  • Your workshop was fantastic!!
  • It was helpful, interactive session
  • I can relate to what the presenter was saying,
  • I got more answers then the questions I asked
  • Gary is a joy to listen to
  • Great tips & information
  • To the point on topics discussed
  • No reading from prepared material
  • Open discussion & personal examples
  • You made it real, zero strict presentation made a lot of sense by answering real questions

For additional comments click here.

Keynote Presentations and Workshops to meet the needs of:

  • Parents
  • Family Law Lawyers / Collaborative Lawyers;
  • Early Childhood Educators;
  • Teachers;
  • Mental Health Professionals;
  • Social Service Workers.

If you are looking for a keynote presenter or a workshop presenter, please feel free to call and chat. It would be my pleasure to be of service.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

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