Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fun Facts of Literacy Workshop, Part One

Anna and I have worked for months planning an early literacy workshop and yesterday it finally happened! Although we both had a sleepless Wednesday night, the workshop was a success. We decided to do a two-part series about the workshop and Part One is :

10 Things to Remember when Planning & Organizing a Workshop
  1.  Pack your camera the night before. Despite writing myself a post it note on my planner (which I left at work the night before) and getting an reminder email from Anna, I forgot my camera. We tried to make-do with the branch camera but it was circa 1998 and all the pictures came out gray. Thankfully, a husband was able to bring a camera at lunch so the second half of the day should have good photos.
  2. Bring extra utensils/paper goods. The two restaurants who catered for us clearly thought 50 meant 25. A mad scramble ensued, and I will be sending the branch paper plates and forks to replenish their stock.
  3. Remind people to bring layers. The air condition was set to Antarctica, and a technician didn't make it out for three hours. Folks were shivering, and complaining. Ouch
  4. Cut food items in half. People are less inclined to take an entire muffin or brownie when it is clearly cut in half. Hey, we were on a budget!
  5. Expect people to show up really early. And don't be fussed by it. People showed up 45 minutes early (while we were still setting up!) and Anna had to verbally slap me so I would stop being irritated.
  6. Bring a notebook for yourself. In my haste to prep and stuff 55 folders full of goodies and printouts from the presenter for the participants, I forgot to pack a notebook for myself. The handouts were ok to write on, but it will make photocopying them in the future kind of tricky. 
  7. Communicate clearly and often with the staff at the workshop location. We held the workshop at one of my system's branches and I had to talk to branch staff in advance and at least 25 times on the day of. The staff doesn't have to be helpful (they were), but they are critical to the success of your workshop. 
  8.  Not everyone will have a good time. One person left early because she wasn't getting anything out of it...don't worry, that is not your fault. As long as the description for the workshop is clear, you have done your job. 
  9. Charge the most you reasonably can, you will go over budget. I revamped the budget at least 15 times because of unexpected costs. We belatedly realized people would have paid $5 more and that would have saved us from serious stress. 
  10. Thank everyone! We are going to send out Thank You notes, but even an email would be fine. Just a little something to acknowledge their participation in your successful workshop.