If you are preparing a workshop, especially one for SHEP (the Sexual Health Education Program at Cal), I hope you will read this and find this blog entry at least somewhat beneficial and informative!

My name is Stephanie. I am the SHEP intern tasked with writing a blog entry on “workshops.” I think what would be most fruitful for you, the reader, is to have a post that goes over what one should and should not do during and in preparation for a workshop. All of what I will divulge is based on my personal experiences planning, facilitating, and coordinating workshops the past few years. My usual disclaimer is, as with most things I say, since this is based on my personal experiences, these tips may or may not be super relevant to your own workshop endeavors. But even so, please read on!

If you scroll down, you can find a quick-list of some useful tips that I tend to forget (but wish I would not!) during/prior to a workshop.

First, however, I’ll just briefly go over some things to do when planning for a workshop.

In Preparation:
The first thing you will want to do is to contact the requesting organization back, provide detailed contact information (including information about multiple modes of communication, your preferred mode, and preferred times of contact) and a brief introduction as to who you are.

Once contact is established, set up a meeting (or at the very least, have a phone conversation) to go over workshop needs on both ends. What do you, the facilitator, need? What should you expect? What do they want out of you? …So on and so forth.

Then, you will either take an outline you’ve already prepared and tailor it a bit to suit the specific population (which, with SHEP, will almost always be college-aged students of varying ages, though tailoring may be needed if you are presenting to a specific interest group) OR creating a new outline from scratch. If doing the former, things to keep in mind are number of people, gender, age, and focus. If doing the latter, Google is your friend (as is the SHEP handbook!)

Once the outline is done, practice! Run through it a few times to try to gauge time approximations. Write those approximations down so you know how to pace and what must be omitted.

And, finally, get your outline approved by the appropriate parties (coordinators, Robin, etc.) and obtain the materials that you require to have a truly effective workshop!

The Workshop Itself:
Arrive at the location at least 10 minutes early (to allow for set-up time, and time to find the specific site on the premises). When you do, introduce yourself to the host, set up, and begin!

Generally start with an ice-breaker and introductions (of you, the services you offer, your areas of expertise, etc.) and then break into discussions/demonstrations/what-have-you. Always end with a Q&A session.

Quick Tips That I Sometimes Forget (but are still super important)
1) Don’t overestimate time!
To prepare for the potential of time-overestimation, give 5 minutes of lax-time just in case there are technological difficulties (which there often are!) and/or additional questions during the workshop.

2) Keep in constant touch with requesting organizations/people!
Even when a location is set, and even if you know you have all your required items, make sure that they have their affairs all set and ready too. On that note, repeatedly encourage outreach on their end (and continue on yours if applicable).

3) Bring tons of supplies, more than you think you will need (but, not more than you can carry).
Now, this can be a bit tricky. Things will be heavy! Be reasonable and don’t carry more than you can. If additional supplies are needed, follow-up with requesting parties and bring along more supplies then.

4) Don’t rush, even if you are running out of time.
This is related to item #1; when I realize my time is ticking and I’ve got XYZ to go over in 1-2 minutes, I have a bad, bad habit of talking more quickly/frantically glancing at the clock every few moments. Avoid this if at all possible!

I know a lot of this may seem obvious and intuitive, and to some, it is! If not, not to worry, young SHEP-pers. There is this post, and older interns/staff to assist you in your workshop ventures.

Best of luck to you!