4 Ingredients to Include in a Workshop Introduction
I worked with an entrepreneur recently who is offering a new workshop with a colleague. Her part of the workshop includes kicking it off, with about 10 minutes allocated for her workshop introduction.
Here are 4 ingredients that should be included in a workshop introduction (which you can modify as needed for your specific workshop):
1. Set the audience's expectations. One of the biggest obstacles that can prevent your workshop from being successful is if the audience's expectations don't match your goals. If you've been consistent in the invitation, description and marketing for the workshop, then what they've come for is what you are prepared to share with them.
2. Make the audience feel comfortable. Quickly handle any logistics or housekeeping items such as safety procedures, if you're going to take a break, how and when you will handle questions, etc. Also, if you included any kind of teaser in your marketing, such as a special guest or a gift, let them know when that will happen. The goal is to quickly clear the air of anything that could distract the audience from focusing on the workshop content.
3. Get to know your audience. Depending on the workshop and the number of people in the audience, you may know them already or have met them as they came in. If you have time, have them introduce themselves to the whole group so you – and everyone else - can learn about them. To prevent this from taking too much time, give very specific directions about what you'd like them to cover (name, why they're attending, etc. ) and how quickly. If they are familiar with social media, you can ask them for the "Twitter version" of their introduction.
4. Jump right into your content. Like with a speech or presentation, you should avoid a long "preamble" of welcomes and thank yous. And there is no need to spend a lot of time on or a litany of your accomplishments that are unrelated to the workshop. You can include your bio in the workshop invitation and also in the handouts, but don't waste the precious few seconds that you have to introduce the workshop and capture the audience's attention by droning on about yourself. You already are considered an expert because you are the workshop presenter – and the audience will judge for themselves whether you are credible once you share your content.
If you use the workshop introduction to set expectations, make the audience feel comfortable and get to know them, you will lay the foundation for a successful workshop - and then you can dive into your content with an interesting fact, a startling statistic or a relevant story that will engage the audience.
Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people from all walks of life improve their communication and presentation skills.
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