Tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it; then tell them what you’ve said.Dale Carnegie (1888—1955)
US writer and trainer in self-improvement
The contents of the Program will be derived from the Workshop Plan. So, Program writing is for a good part copying from the workshop plan. You shouldn’t prematurely jump to it. Make sure you begin with the workshop plan, which is the backbone of your activity.
The crucial difference is that a Workshop Plan is aimed at organisers and facilitators, while a Program is aimed at participants. A Program gives them an orientation and is the basis of the decision making of single participants. Is this workshop worth my time and money?
A Program should be part of the event marketing and follows the AIDA principle: Attention — Interest — Desire — Action [Marketing / AIDA].
Experience shows that the Program will change significantly as you work on various drafts and so it helps to write today’s date on the current draft to make sure that you are working on the latest version.
Program writing starts with your teaser. Even if you don’t have to advertise for your event, a short teaser text will encourage the enthusiasm of your participants. They will look forward to an event and be curious about it. The register of the Teaser depends largely on the target audience. This also applies for the title of the whole event, which will appear as the heading of your Program.
Resources and Clothes
One thing which should be self-evident but which is always forgotten is letting the participants know what they need to bring to each session. It should be part of program writing: for example, is it necessary — or not — to bring a notebook to a computer workshop? What clothes should they be wearing (this is especially true if you organise any outdoor activities)? You also need to let them know what they should have prepared beforehand — a presentation or shorter input perhaps — as well as what the activity of the session involves.
In case participants need to ask last-minute questions, let you know that they are delayed or even cancel, it is essential that you provide your contact details and those of the venue. Providing the latter will help to avoid extra work for you: if a participant just wants to know whether there is gym in the hotel, he can clarify it directly without involving you.
Venue & Map
You should provide a clear map to save people wasting their time searching for the venue. You can provide additional tips on how to get there, including the required travel times. For example, let people know if the hotel can provide an airport shuttle and how long it will take.
A map will help all those coming on their own. Nowadays, it’s easy to copy a map from a hotel’s homepage or to create one on the basis of Google Maps.
Providing information about the background of the facilitators is crucial for program writing, as much of the credibility of the event will be based on their credentials. There is a difference between a student of economics and the Finance Minister talking about the budget for development.
Ask your facilitators for a short abstract and a profile picture (preferably not a 20 year old one) to be incorporated in the Program.
Timetable & Content
Finally, the Timetable will help everybody to come punctually as well as to organise their spare time. You should be precise in sticking to a start and end time to avoid annoyance.
As with the Teaser, you should give interesting names to the respective sessions in order to create curiosity and enthusiasm.
The participants will also find it useful to know who will lead a particular session. They may decide to attend on the basis of who is leading it, especially if they are short on time.
|March 07||Day 1|
|10:00–10:15||Welcome Address & Registration & Introduction to the Program OK|
|10:15- 10:30||Workshop Expectations OK|
|10:30 – 10:50||Treasure Hunt SB|
|12:00–12:30||Draw the prefect Moderator SB|
|13:00-13:30||The Wheel of Competence SB|
|14:30–15:00||Bazaar of own treasures Pp|
|15:00–15:30||Wheel of Competence SB|
|15:50-16:30||Measure your performance|
|16:30-17:00||Share the Objectives of ToM Raider|
|17:15-18:15||DNA and TNA SB|
|18:15–18:30||FAQ & Feedback Session SB/ MBS|
|18:30-||End of the day|
Tip: Give a copy of the Program to the hotel staff and management in advance. This eases logistical preparations and tea breaks for them and too many time-consuming queries for you.
It proved to be also very helpful to stick a copy of the program next to the entrance door of your seminar room. Participants just have a quick look when leaving for the break to see when the next starts or what it will be about. Though they have it in their seminar documents, they might have lost it, currently don’t know where it is or just don’t want to go back to their bags for looking something up.