The Slice

15 Creative Ideas for Your Next Virtual Workshop

August 5, 2022

Facilitating a virtual workshop can feel like juggling a bunch of balls in the air at once. Not nearly as straightforward as setting up a virtual meeting, you have to be concerned with tech, offering great content, and making sure your audience is engaged. If it's all feeling like a bit too much, don't worry. There are tons of fun ideas you can incorporate into your workshops to ensure that all of your attendees get a ton of value out of the event. Stick with us and explore fifteen creative ideas that you can use during your next virtual workshop.

Facilitating a virtual workshop can feel like juggling a bunch of balls in the air at once. Not nearly as straightforward as setting up a virtual meeting, you have to be concerned with tech, offering great content, and making sure your audience is engaged.

On top of that, you have to be relaxed enough at showtime to be personable and enjoy yourself. 

If it's all feeling like a bit too much, don't worry. There are tons of fun ideas you can incorporate into your workshops to ensure that all of your attendees get a ton of value out of the event.

Stick with us and explore fifteen creative ideas that you can use during your next virtual workshop.

What Is a Virtual Workshop?

A virtual workshop is a learning session or interactive experience using video conferencing tools. These online events can offer the opportunity to explore topics of current interest, hands-on training, and the practical application of ideas. Basically, a virtual workshop is just like a regular workshop, except it's… virtual.

Companies and organizations put on virtual workshops for a number of different reasons, whether for onboarding and training purposes or to help boost the health and wellbeing of their staff. Another type of workshop is an educational workshop, which aims to either introduce a subject matter or do a deep dive into a specific topic.

Regardless of the type of virtual workshop you're putting on; it's a good idea to break up the session with different activities and events. This way, you can keep everyone engaged and avoid minds from wandering away from the task or topic at hand.

15 Ideas For Your Virtual Workshops

Alright, now it's time to take a look at some creative concepts that you can weave into your workshop to ensure it's a huge success.

1. Ask Attendees to Submit Sketches

One fun activity that can be used either as a fun icebreaker or as a way to break up the session when everyone needs a little bit of a break from the speaker-listener format. Consider breaking into smaller breakout rooms for large workshops where teams can draw sketches based on different prompts. 

Sketching can be a great way to use a different part of the brain after spending a while in taking information. Not only can it be great for brainstorming and ideating, but it can also do wonders for team building.

You can either have your attendees submit their sketches virtually if your platform supports it, or you can do it old-school. In the latter case, ask everyone to have paper and a drawing utensil at hand in order to hold up their sketch when they're ready to share.

2. Incorporate Energizing Games

No matter how fascinating the topic at hand is, it's natural for people's energy to start fading if your workshop is all talk and no play. When you sense that your audience's attention is starting to drift, incorporate some energizing games to bring everyone's mood back up to eleven.

You can get as fancy as you want here, but there's nothing wrong with simple games that everyone knows and loves. Playing memory games, crosswords, or riddles can be awesome break activities.

On top of that, you can also hold small quizzes at the end of each section to give everyone the opportunity to test their knowledge on the key points they just learned.

3. Set the Mood With Music

Music is a powerful tool, with research finding that music can stimulate the brain, improve memory, and boost your energy. Incorporating music into your virtual workshop can help create a cohesive feel to the event while also helping to get your attendees in the optimal mindset for learning. 

Consider playing some energizing music during breaks and leading up to your session. You can also use some soothing music during the sessions to help enhance concentration.

4. Begin With Virtual Icebreakers

When you first bring a group together, there's always a little bit of awkwardness. This is particularly true when everyone logs on from different timezones and corners of the world. It can be difficult for people to relax and connect without being in the same physical space.

Consider starting with some virtual icebreakers to help jump over this hurdle swiftly. This can help bring everyone together so that all attendees can get the most out of your workshop.

5. Create Virtual Breakout Rooms

When you attend an IRL workshop, there will often be "breakout sessions" or "breakout rooms" where the larger group splits up into smaller, more intimate groups. In these sessions, individuals can dive deeper into specific topics and have more of an opportunity to have their ideas heard.

If your video conferencing platform allows it, consider breaking your participants into smaller groups to work on specific problems or discuss particular topics. This can be a great way to boost both participation and engagement.

6. Conduct Temperature Checks

If you've ever attended an in-person workshop, you've probably noticed that the speaker will stop a few times during the event to ask how everyone is doing. This is what's known as a temperature check. Checking in with the group is even more important when you're hosting a virtual workshop since it's more difficult to get a sense of the crowd's mood.

In person, you can look out at the attendees and get a sense of whether they're "with you" by their posture, body language, and facial expressions. More or less, you can tell if the group is hanging on your every word or if they are lost in thought and totally disengaged.

When you're hosting a virtual workshop, consider asking your attendees to have cue cards they can use when prompted about their "temperature." You might set up a 1-5 system where "1" is "not so hot," and "5" is "I'm feeling great!" You can also use a series of emoticons ranging from frowns to smiles to help everyone portray how they're feeling.

7. Play Virtual Quizzes

One of the primary difficulties of virtual workshops compared to in-person workshops is ensuring they are sufficiently interactive. The more hands-on your workshop is, the more your audience will be able to retain the information you're sharing.

One great way to involve the crowd is by having virtual quizzes. You can choose to use these as fun icebreakers, or they can be learning tools to go over some of the key points you've been driving home during the session.

8. Integrate Polls and Chats

Another great way to get your audience to participate in a virtual workshop is polls and chats.

You might choose to run a poll to ask the audience which topics they'd like to focus on in the session, or you can ask them which activity they'd like to do next. This helps everyone feel like they are participating in creating the event, rather than just being a passive listener.

The chat function is a great feature because it lets people offer updates and comments without disrupting the speaker or the flow of the event.

Are you considering putting on a webinar but feeling totally lost when researching which platform to use? Check out our guide to help you pick the right platform for your needs.

9. Host a Design Thinking Session

Design thinking is a process that can help you and your attendees open up to new ways of thinking. While it's commonly used among software developers, it is increasingly incorporated into businesses of all kinds in order to innovate new products and improve customer experience.

10. Make a Mind Map

Another great activity for your next virtual workshop is making a collaborative mind map. Mind mapping is a visual way of representing concepts and the way that they relate to one another. It's awesome for structuring information in a way that your attendees can better understand, analyze, and generate ideas.

Are you stressing about your next webinar or webcast? Check out these twelve best practices to ensure it's a success.

11. Have a Q&A

There's a good chance your audience members will have questions to ask the speaker as the event chugs along. Ask your attendees to write down any questions they might have during the workshop and have a dedicated Q&A session where the speaker responds to the audience's questions.

Depending on the topic and purpose of your workshop, you also might ask your attendees to submit questions before the event begins. This can give the speaker the opportunity to prepare answers for these questions while also helping to boost engagement in the weeks and days leading up to the workshop.

Struggling to find speakers for your virtual workshop or webinar? This article looks at how to find speakers and panelists for your next online event.

12. Give Out Virtual Gifts

When you host a virtual workshop, your goal is to offer something of value to your attendees, whether they are customers, employees, or new leads. If you've ever gone to a workshop in real life, you probably went home with a big bag of goodies and swag. How can you replicate this part of the experience when your workshop is virtual?

Luckily, you can offer many great virtual gifts to everyone who shows up to your event.

Some examples include:

  • Audiobooks and e-books

  • Virtual gift cards

  • Online course subscriptions

  • Online wellness courses

  • App subscriptions

  • Private virtual lessons

  • Virtual gym memberships

  • Subscription boxes

  • Named donations

When choosing virtual gifts to give out, think about who your audience is and what would be valuable to them. If your business offers online courses, maybe you can give them a months-worth of courses for free, or maybe you just want to send a virtual gift card to your e-commerce store as a token of your appreciation.

13. Send Them Pizza

If you want to get really creative when organizing your next virtual workshop, consider sending your audience pizza. This is a particularly great idea if your workshop is going to be a long event and you're worried that attendees will start to lose steam part of the way through. You can also use this tactic for employee workshops when you feel like everyone might need a little extra incentive to show up with a smile on their faces.

14. Have an Award Ceremony

Are you thinking about having games and quizzes throughout your workshop? If so, you could keep track of everyone's scores throughout the event and hold an award ceremony at the end.

On the other hand, you might have an inclusive award ceremony that recognizes the contributions of your workshop attendees without leaving anyone out.

Either way, this can be a fun way to keep everyone engaged during your workshop and create a vibe of togetherness despite the fact that you're all in different locations. On top of that, everyone loves being appreciated.

15. Play Trivia Before the Event

Is there anyone that doesn't love trivia? If there is, we haven't met them.

Consider playing team trivia as an icebreaker at the beginning of your workshop. This can help everyone shake off any jitters or anxiety and help get their brain-juices flowing.

Depending on the purpose of your workshop, this can be silly pop-culture type trivia or more specifically tailored to the topic at hand. Either way, you'll find that the energy level will likely double once people start wracking their brains for the term that's right on the tip of their tongue.

Are Your Workshop Attendees Looking Famished?

There's something about learning new things that can leave you absolutely starving. Taking in all that brand-spanking new information sure must burn up many calories.

When you're putting on your next virtual workshop, you want to make sure all of your attendees are well-fed and feeling their best. We shudder to think how many virtual workshops haven't fulfilled their potential just because a few too many people are feeling hangry.

Are you thinking about incentivizing event registration by offering meal delivery to the first certain number of attendants? Or are you putting on a workshop for your employees, and you want to give them a little something to look forward to when they're working after hours?

In both cases, you might consider letting us send your attendees pizza. We know how time-consuming it can be to coordinate food delivery to different addresses across the globe. That's why we love organizing remote pizza parties– we take care of the food so you can focus on what you do best.

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