The reason I do workshops is so I can learn, and I am fortunate that I’ve probably gained more from the whole experience of teaching than any one participant has. It is all about asking.John Sexton (*1942)
Professor and President, New York University
Lists are practical tools for dealing with participants and keeping an overview of all aspects of the organisation of your event. In regards to participants, there are three different lists, which you will find useful:
Often you need to have a list, which participants sign so you can prove the number of attendees to a donor organisation. For this you will need the name, address, possibly their role or job title, as well as a dated signature.
Additionally, it is useful to give an overview to the other resource personnel, which is dealing with participants, too. Thus, any guest speaker, trainer or facilitator can speak and act more suitable for the audience. For the TWL Circle of Leaders there will be a sample List of Participants for Moderators [available later] .
Moreover, you want to address the participants before, during and after the workshop several times in order to guide them, to remind them what they should be doing and to thank them.
Tip: Create a list in your mobile phone with all the participants. Then, it’s easy to send short messages to all of them at once — for announcements (e.g. a change of seminar room), reminders (Be on time!) and your thanks.
A workshop is an investment in an individual. To ensure that you see the return on your investment, you want to keep in touch with the individuals you have trained. You should especially stay in touch with those participants who have performed well so that they can be invited again and developed further.
Consequently, we strongly recommend that you create and maintain a database. This is constant work and requires discipline. There are several software programmes in the market and it depends on your personal preference which one you go for. From experience, the best programmes are those, which can be used for automatic mailing as well as generating mass mail-outs. This makes it easier for you to organise events and keep your participants updated on on-going events.
When you create your database, it is very important to subdivide it into categories, which will allow you to send out invitations for events relevant to particular subcategories. This will obviously depend on the field you work in.
It’s also useful to enter feedback on participants into the database. Thus, you can always have an overview of how someone performed during the last workshop while screening your data for dealing with participants for a new workshop.
Feedback on Participants
Without doubt, when you start planning your workshop you had certain objectives in mind. The majority of these objectives are related to the participants. So, what did you have in mind? Did it work out? Were they interested? How did they engage with the topics? Most importantly, what are the messages that they will take away from the event? If you see your workshop as one step towards a bigger goal, you will want to stay in touch with the participants and continue working with them — at least some of them. But which ones? To answer all of these questions you need to know more about them. So, after the workshop (or sometimes in the gaps between sessions) take a note about each individual. In case you were not present or did not attend every session ask the actual moderator to provide you with some feedback. For the TWL Circle of Leaders there will [available later] be a template for moderator feedback on participants.