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10 Nov, 2009

Deliver Powerful and Impactful Workshops – Top Tips

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coaching Articles

Coaching Teams

by Mairéad Whyte, Life Coach – Speaker – Business Coach

Delivering a workshop for the first time can be a daunting experience to say the least. And like any other skill it can be learned easily, and the more you do it the better you get.

To deliver your workshop and know that you have made a lasting positive impact on someone’s life in just one day is one of the most rewarding things you can do. To kick start, all that is required is your passion for the topic of your workshop.

Passion creates motivation and with motivation comes mastery. Showing your enthusiasm in an area of your passion is positively infectious; inevitably this will shine through in your delivery and is essential to engage and win over the participants; and your confidence continually grows.

Over the past fourteen years I have developed and learned several ways to engage workshop participants and build confidence as a workshop leader; my top tips include:

1. Workshop preparation and design. Thorough preparation is essential to deliver with impact.

  1. a. Know the purpose, objective and expected outcome of the workshop as a whole. This is critical when communicating the benefits of your workshop; and it also sets expectations for the participants. Designing a successful workshop is dependent on delivering on these expectations.
  2. b. Prepare the outline of the day. List all the items/exercises that need to happen to deliver the overall expectation. Organise each item/exercise such that the learner experiences a logical progressive growth from beginning to end. This creates an agenda. For every item on the agenda, be clear on its description, purpose, and the learning it will provide to the participants.
  3. c. Keep the participants in mind at all times. This is about sharing what you know and designing creative exercises that benefit those attending.
  4. d. Prepare concise and precise workbooks based on your final agenda. Note that the purpose of the workbooks is for each participant to record their own personal learning as a result of each exercise.
  5. e. Time all items on your agenda to keep on track and finish at the expected time.
  6. f. Design your exercises to encourage interaction and movement. This keeps the energy flowing!

2. Know your content. Knowing what you are talking about in advance gives energy of competence. This enables you to focus on connecting with the participants and building rapport. Knowing your content is very different from reciting from notes, presentations or scripts, be careful with this as you can lose the attention of participants. On the other end of the scale, some people “blag” their way through, again this can be ineffective as the leader begins to focus on speaking opposed to communicating. As the workshop leader and messenger, your content should be short, brief and to the point, you deliver key impactful messages that drive the material deep with purpose, power and connection. Live and breathe your workshop content in the days leading up to the workshop to build your confidence.

3. Be comfortable in your own style of delivery. Your product is you, so it is important to develop and understand your own unique style of delivery. It is very beneficial to practise your delivery by attending presentation classes or workshops. This enables you to learn powerful presentation techniques, practise them in a safe environment and adopt them to make them your own. You will also understand your strengths as a workshop leader and the areas you need to develop. In addition, I recommend that in any workshops you attend as a participant you should observe carefully what the leader does and how they do it. Note everything that worked, and for those items that were not so effective ask yourself how you could do it better! Importantly, be authentic, open, and honest and show your humour in your delivery. Be who you are. This entices participants to open up also and encourages interaction building good positive energy.

4. Manage your state. Manage your self-talk in advance of delivering your workshop. Set yourself up for a powerful positive outcome. Allow yourself the flexibility that it is ok to make some mistakes. Know that your passion and preparation builds your confidence and overrides any fears. Know that it is ok if you do not know the answers to everything. Know that it is more than good enough to come across as the wonderful person you are.

5. Set frames for the day. As soon as you establish the acceptable pattern for the day, people will follow. As early as possible in the workshop set these frames, For example, one frame may include getting agreement from everyone to work with a positive mindset. By setting the frames effectively, you win cooperation from the participants and also these frames will come in very handy when you have to deal with a very negative person or a potential heckler. Using certain linguistic techniques you can refer back to these frames if faced with some obstruction. If you are unsure about what frames you should set, think of your top three worst scenarios and set frames at the outset to deal with these in advance.

6. Keep the participants engaged. The most important thing is what you do. Speak with passion and do what you want the participants to do. Lead by example; introduce each exercise by examples and/or demonstration.

For more information on these workshop techniques and for the additional top tips, listen into the seminar on delivering impactful workshops which is being held on Tuesday 10th November at 8pm and will last between 30 to 45mins.

  • UK dial-in number: 0844 580 0128
  • Participant PIN: 617067

Mairead may be contacted at and at

8 Responses to "Deliver Powerful and Impactful Workshops – Top Tips"

1 | Judith Flowerday

November 10th, 2009 at 1:51 pm


Thank you Mairéad for your perfectly timed tips on delivering a workshop. I’m delivering my first ever workshop in just 3 days and the jitters have just set in! Reading your tips (for success!) have meant that I could review everything I have prepared with a fresh perspective. Despite a bit of nerves I’m now ready to go. Thank you!

Kind regards

Judith Flowerday

2 | Mairéad Whyte

November 10th, 2009 at 3:49 pm


Dear Jon and Judith,

Thank you both for your comments. It really lifts me to hear from other coaches who also share their work via workshops. It is an extremely rewarding thing to do, and it is very inspiring for you to share your work via workshops, which in turn encourages others to do so also.

Best wishes for all your future workshops.

Warm wishes,

3 | Emmy

November 10th, 2009 at 5:14 pm


Dear Mairead,

This seminar is just what i need to focus all the energies i am using right now to plan my future workshops – but I have a parents evening tonight and am unable to call in!!

I am hoping against hope that this seminar is being recorded or there is an option that could be used as part of the session to offer the recording to others who cannot be a part of it?

Keeping my fingers and toes crossed!

Emmy -x-

4 | Betsan Rowlands

November 10th, 2009 at 9:21 pm


Hi Mairead

I’m also giving my first workshop next week. I couldn’t believe the serendipity of your tips appearing in my in box today along with a chance to listen in on more tips on your conference call this evening!
However I was delayed getting to the phone so missed getting to listen in. Is there a possibility of getting a recording of tonight’s call? I’m sure many people would find it useful.

5 | Karen Williams

November 12th, 2009 at 4:59 pm


Hi Mairead
Thanks for a very informative article. I love giving workshops although I must admit I didn’t sleep much before my first one a few years ago. Nowadays, I generally find the most challenging thing is promoting my own workshops, but I love that buzz of ideas bouncing off the participants.

6 | Kathy Gee

November 13th, 2009 at 10:27 am


I have just got back from holiday and found this – I too missed the seminar and would really be interested in finding a way to hear it.

7 | Mairéad Whyte

November 17th, 2009 at 11:20 am



Thank you for your comments, it is wonderful to hear such enthusiasm about giving workshops and delivering your message to groups of people.

If you contact the Coaching Academy, you may be able to access the recording directly via them.

Thank you again.

Best Wishes,

8 | Lorraine Thomas

December 15th, 2009 at 10:31 pm


Dear Mairead
What a fantastic article. It’s really positive and packed with great practical information. I run lots of workshops and I’m certainly going to use some of your tools. I love your enthusiasm and passion and am sure that comes across in everything you do.
You are an inspiration – enjoy.

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