HOW TO DEVELOP A MORE EFFECTIVE WORKSHOP

 

I walked into the room tired from a busy workday. Although I slumped into my chair, I was excited to attend this workshop. As a small business owner, I am always looking for workshops that can offer ideas to streamline operations.

The facilitator walked in, saw that it was only twelve of us and decided to remove the multimedia portion of the presentation. He began his presentation by introducing himself. Beyond that, there was no discernible structure to the next hour. He clumsily heaved himself into each subtopic, creating a collage of puzzled faces in the room.

In the Q&A portion of the evening, I challenged him to better describe the concept about which I was most consternated. He confused me more. I thought, “You know what would make this easier to understand? Visual aides. Imagine that!” He continued to fumble through every question until the program director stepped in to offer her knowledge.

Most of my experiences in workshops and info sessions have been good. But this experience prompted me to write about educational videos. As an organization, you cannot allow for someone’s bad day to turn into a botched workshop. Videos, amongst other visual aides, are imperative to creating a level of consistency that minimizes human error. And really, this is just a small part of why you should invest in educational videos for your informational events.

Let’s start with how it provides a better learning environment. In this quick write-up of pedagogical benefits of video in learning environments, The University of Queensland Australia most notably listed the following:

-       Increased motivation

-       Enhanced learning experience

-       Development potential for deeper learning

-       Development of learner autonomy

In my experience, organizations develop workshops and other informational events with these goals in mind. This text cites research that makes the association “between visual clues, the memory process, and the recall of new knowledge”. Not only will your attendees have a greater learning experience, but they will associate the experience with your organization. This brings me to my next point.

These events are marketing opportunities. The better the experience, the more engagement, conversion, and retention you will have with your audience. Regardless of whom your workshop is aiming to target (service consumers, service providers, volunteers, or funders), from a marketing standpoint, your goal is to engage, convert, and retain.

In this video marketing guide from Brightcove, you can scroll down to page 11 and check out how many different types of informational/educational videos make up their recommended engagement, conversion, and retention campaigns. Spoiler alert: there are several. This means that this could be the bread and butter of your annual marketing efforts. The videos that your workshop attendees view will add value to their lives. In their minds, moving forward, that value will be associated with your organization. For those of you that struggle to communicate what it is that you do to a large portion of the community, this is welcome news. Your attendees will know exactly what it is that you do. Additionally, these branded videos can be sent out for post-event review with all the nifty emails you collected with the workshop sign up sheet – to further deepen your relationship.

So, how do you start formatting your presentations into video form?

Foremost is the task of figuring out the points in your presentation that are most difficult to understand and/or to describe. It helps if these coincide with the topics that create the most confusion, or questions, from audiences. It usually will. But it is good to ask both questions to yourself.

Then create an outline that represents the absolute best way to share this information. The outline gets fleshed out with actual copy. Be judicious! This copy should be veracious and in harmony with your marketing efforts. Perhaps the concept requires very specific actions or visuals. Describe these actions with detail.

From here you can decide the best way to present this information. For example, you can use motion graphics, a talking head, a montage, a scripted dialogue, or whiteboard video. Your Video Producer can help you to decide the absolute best way to depict your concept, but it is helpful if you, the expert on the subject, has gone through the process.

As far as implementation during your workshop, here are some suggestions buttressed by this BBC article:

-       Introduce your video content. Let your attendees know why they are watching this   video. To what information should they pay attention? Focus their attention.

-       Keep it relatively short. Part of the idea of using videos is to become more efficient at disseminating information. Keep this in mind while outlining your video.

-       Allow time for viewers to absorb the information afterwards. Learning requires time for reflection. Don’t jump right in with dense material. In fact…

-       Make post-video discussions a norm. This happens all the time after we watch movies with a buddy. After you have thought about what you have watched, new ideas begin to form. And a greater understanding of the material can form, too.

There are true benefits to the presenter as well. In an article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, it is stated that “video can present more information in a given amount of space and time” than solely lecturing. Furthermore, it can “be more efficient and effective at getting audience attention”.

In the same article from the NCBI, they cite a study demonstrating that three days after a presentation: lecture-only content had 10% retention, visual-only content had 20% retention, and audiovisual content had 65% retention. Simply put, the audiovisual nature of video makes your content stick in people’s minds.

By employing videos into your presentations, you will create a better learning experience for attendees, support your marketing goals, and lift a heavy load off of your presenters (eliminating human error). I look forward to walking into your next workshop and enjoying all the great videos you have produced.