Today, I ran a workshop in a new format for the first time. I had doubts.
I was reasonably confident having played around with the topic for more than two years. The structure was clear and I knew exactly what to say.
A month ago, I hosted the online version of the workshop. It was a positive experience for the attendees and myself, which is why I decided to also hold it in person.
However, since this was a first timer in this format, I doubted that I was prepared enough. It wasn’t meant to be a presentation nor a lecture. The term WORKshop defined it best as the participants were invited to WORK on themselves.
Should I put some of the content onto flipchart paper?
Should I write a script to make sure I didn’t forget anything important?
Should I produce additional handouts over and above the few printouts I had already prepared?
Would the attendees believe that I had prepared myself seriously enough thereby valuing their precious time?
Intellectually, I knew it was enough. On an emotional level, however, it felt like I couldn’t trust my own feelings.
So the evening before the event I was still sitting there undecided whether I should still be doing something. I was running out of time. That was when I saw a familiar face popping up on Linkedin. She was an expert in designing immersive experiences. It felt right to drop her a note asking how she was doing. She then wanted to know what I was up to. I told her that I was nervous because of my upcoming workshop. Her response hit home right away.
«You know the best thing you can do for people is give them the space to think about these things.
They’ll do the rest themselves.»
She was spot on. No need to worry about the outcome. I wasn’t in control of it, in particular not when it came to others. People should be given the chance to contribute and even co-create. My role as the host was o make people comfortable by creating a welcoming and safe environment. Whether or not any magic would happen in that space wasn’t really up to me. I was just in charge of creating the conditions for that to be possible.
I am glad I followed her advice.
So were the attendees of my workshop.