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Checklist - Workshop Preparation

Have a great idea for a training workshop but aren't sure how to make it happen? Following these steps will help insure a successful workshop! Included is a sample timeline and tips to make sure your program runs smoothly.

  1. Decide on the program content. Ask yourself who will be participating, what the time frame should be and at least three things you want participants to learn. Do you want this to be lecture, hands-on activities or a blend? Is your audience comfortable with role-playing and other activities? Your answers will determine what kind of program you want and the type of speaker that you need.
  2. Plan your budget. LSTA funds can only be used to pay workshop and speaker fees. Funds cannot be used for food, entertainment or travel reimbursement for attendees. If you want to provide lunch or snacks, they must come from donations, registration fees or other funding sources.
  3. Contact speakers. Discuss possible dates, length of sessions, any room and equipment requirements, materials reproduction, and speaker's fee and expenses [lodging, transportation and meals]. Be sure to discuss the workshop objectives, the make-up of the audience, the delivery format and any ideas for follow-up activities.
  4. Send speaker a draft of the contract. Include dates, times, locations, any special equipment needs, etc. You might also include a rough drawing of the room arrangement. Request the speaker sign and return the contract within a week. If you are going to introduce the speaker, you might want to ask them to include a short biography.
  5. Establish a timeline. This is a great tool for checking off details and making sure all parts of the workshop come together. Make sure all persons charged with helping to run the workshop have a copy of the timeline. Review for any conflicts and know who can provide back-up should problems occur. A sample timeline is provided below.
  6. Plan for a debriefing with the speaker. This will provide valuable feedback to both parties and will help you plan even more successful events in the future.

Sample Workshop Timeline

10 weeks -- 1 year before workshop

  • Contact and confirm speakers.

4-6 weeks before workshop

  • Email potential participants. Be sure to contact all libraries within the region. Let participants know if there is limited enrollment and deadlines for registration. If additional seats are available, send invitations and information to other libraries as well.
  • Provide any other necessary publicity and promotion. Send reminders if necessary.

2-4 weeks before program

  • Contact speaker to reconfirm details. Double check dates and arrival time.
  • Order refreshments or arrange for lunches. [Remember, the LSTA grant cannot be used to pay for this]. Arrange for delivery.
  • Prepare participant packets. This may include workshop materials, pencils and paper pads, name tags, evaluation forms, and any other appropriate information.
  • Send participants workshop confirmation and reminders. Include a map, address, building numbers, room numbers, parking, etc.
  • Arrange for assistance in setting up the room, handling equipment, food preparation, and clean-up. Be sure to arrange for technology back-up if needed.
  • Double check to make sure equipment is available and in working order.

2-3 days before

  • Contact speaker and reconfirm time, place and location of presentation. Clarify any special arrangements such as local transportation.

Day before

  • Double check arrangements for refreshments and delivery.
  • Review speaker introduction.
  • Review duties and concerns with helpers if needed.
  • If possible, set up equipment and arrange seating.
  • Create sign-in sheet and review materials packets [don't forget evaluation form!]

Workshop day

  • Set up equipment and arrange seating. Make sure speaker has water available.
  • Set out attendance sheet in a visible location.
  • Consult with speaker [if possible] about any last minute needs.
  • Set up beverage service, etc. if needed.

After the program

  • Collect evaluations and attendance sheet. Review and forward to the Library Development Office at the Wyoming State Library.
  • Forward speaker invoices to the State Library.
  • Hold a debriefing discussion with the speaker. Ask them what they felt went well, did not go so well and what could be done to improve the workshop. Be prepared to provide your own feedback. Discuss what follow-up activities might benefit the participants.
  • Provide any follow-up activities.

Tips for Better Workshops

Problem:Solution:
No idea as to number of participants or their skill level Require pre-registration. Ask for information about knowledge of subject and previous training
Participants are too experienced / inexperienced for the workshop Notices should clearly state what will be covered and the target audience
Meeting place is hard to find Provide detailed maps AND written directions
Room arrangement is poor Check seating the night before or arrive early to make adjustments
Speaker's timing is poor Arrange for a timekeeper to signal speaker when 3, 1, and 0 minutes are left. This is very important in panel discussions and like formats.
Can't hear speaker Always have microphone available. Ask someone in the back of the room to let speaker know they need to talk louder.
Errors in publicity Have at least one other person proof read before sending anything out. Two is better, three is best.
Equipment failures Test all equipment first and have technology assistance on stand-by. Also, be prepared to make hard copies of presentation if needed.
Speaker doesn't showStay calm. Have an emergency contact number of speaker on hand. If possible, have a back up program planned.
More than one minor problem occurs at the same timeLine up an assistant to act as a 'gofor' during the program