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What Makes a Good Workshop?

Posted by Ilise Benun on

From the presenter’s point of
view, some workshops are better than others, and I often wonder what
makes the difference.

I’m thinking about this because this weekend may have been my best yet.
I did
our half-day "Pricing and Marketing Secrets" presentation in Portland,
Oregon for the Self Employed Creative Professionals,
an 8-year old group that brings together
what is clearly a growing population of creatives in this part of the

Thirty people got out of bed early on a Saturday morning, and they
didn’t even know in advance about the delicious
Continental breakfast that was provided by our gracious and generous
host, Linda
Meyer, COO and Editor in Chief of a young publishing company, Ink &
Paper Group

The environment is important. This event was held in an old
Victorian house where Ink and Paper does business, with a Zen garden in
the back, sun streaming through the windows, in the "butler’s kitchen"
never heard it called that before) there were plates of strawberries,
watermelon, tiny
muffins and delicious coffee. I have never given a talk in a more
intimate and beautiful setting. I think that contributed a lot.

But more than anything it’s the group that makes the event. And this
group was interested and open and generous. It was like having a
conversation with 30 people with everyone engaged — in this case,
the conversation was about the basics of running a business, with
questions being asked and everyone
contributing to the answers. A lot like what happens online, but better
because it’s
live! (Call me old fashioned.) One woman
even told me afterward that she had anticipated her mind wandering as
it often does at "this type of seminar," but that I "had her all the
way through." That’s a compliment, in this day and age.

Hopefully, some of Saturday’s participants will chime in online
with their thoughts. But what do you think makes a good workshop? And
what makes a bad one?

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