9 Ideas to Spice Up Your Workshop To Engage Your Young People

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A good facilitator or teacher holds our attention, they make us laugh, help us fully understand some complex subjects matter and, more importantly, they inspire us. To gain this kind of engagement from your young people it takes a lot of practice and more importantly, experience plays a vital part as a youth worker.

However even though you may be an experienced facilitator or new to facilitation, there are simple steps you can take to make your workshops AWESOME. 

In this article, I will share with you 9 ways you can transform your boring workshops to delivering an awesome one. So get ready to set aside those old boring workshops notes and let’s make your next workshop fun and interactive by following these 9 tips…

This is very important to get young people’s attention you must know your young people. This will help you to shape and design your content according to the needs of your young people.   To do this you need to design and send out a pre-event questionnaire to your young people attending the youth centre.  

This will allow them and you to drill down to the needs of the targeted group go young people. It will help you to address any issues highlighted in the survey saving you time and any unexpected issues during delivery.   On the day make sure that you start by giving a brief introduction and the main learning points that the young people will gain.   Don’t spend too much time as this is an overview of the main points of the workshop.  

As a youth worker, teacher, facilitator it is of utmost importance that you are aware of the different learning styles of your young people.   As human beings we are different and we tend to learn in different ways.   Some young people love visuals, preferring images, videos and diagrams, whilst others may respond better oral and written forms, like words, music, logic and reasoning or love physical interactions.  

So when your planning your workshop ensure that you take all this into consideration and combine them into your delivery.   One way to find out what your young people’s learning style are is to get young people to complete a Myers Briggs survey.   Here is where you can take the test with your young people Click on the link to do the test >>>Myers Briggs Test>>>    

This will help you deliver your workshop and ensure that it meets the needs of the young people attending.

Think outside of the box don’t go the traditional look, rows of tables and chairs.   Be creative but don’t overdo it. Set up your room in a way that is functional, engaging and creative.   You can have beanbags (don’t make it to comfy or you will make them go to sleep) Instead of chairs or may have a standing podium with small groups.  

The choice is yours and you are in control of the room and the young people.   Your venue can have an impact on engagement. for example, if the room is gloomy rundown, as we know sometimes rooms can be in a bad state in some youth centres.   When choosing your venue to make sure that it has space and full of light, colour and texture. This can sometimes inspire young people than having a room that is bland and boring.  

In order to make your workshop interesting and fun, make sure you use visuals and also add some real life probs.   These could be in the form of something practical depending on the actual workshop.   Make it relevant to your contents so that it relates and young people will enjoy it at the same time.  

Sometimes it may not be relevant just plain silly just to add some human and fun.   Remember people learn best when they are having fun so if your workshop topic is on something serious don’t worry have fun.  

Young people love playing games. This is a great way to get young people to engage and at the same time learn without realising it. Use relevant icebreakers that helps young people to learn. This could be in the form of memory games make it challenging so that it adds more excitement to the task. Introduce a quick quiz at the end of each content to reinforce young peoples learning. You as a facilitator help recap on what’s been learned so that everyone understands the main points being discussed.

Young people will enjoy stories that relate to everyday life. Use real-life examples and case studies to get the point across. Use of imagery helps you as a facilitator to emphasise your point across visually for example such as comparing milking a cow to the stock market) you can more easily embed what you are trying to say.

If your young people are feeling a bit low on energy. Play some music to get them energised. Play some upbeat music to get the blood flowing. Slowly lower the music down to let them know its time to start the session again. Music can be used during sessions if your running a relaxation workshop. Play some soothing music (get young people to choose). This will help young people if they are doing a task to concentrate as a group.

Keep your slides short and to the point, don’t overload your audience with information. If you go on too long the brain shuts off and the young people will stop listing to you. What I have found that works with young people are to plan your sessions for 2 hours with plenty of short breaks in-between to keep their concentration level up. Plan your workshop in a way that there is a loss of movements involved, this could be in the form of games, getting up and just simply moving around (if they have been sitting for a long time).

As a facilitator what more can you do to motivate young people? Reward young people who have successfully completed the workshop. Make the reward relevant to young people not just a certificate of attendance. Maybe have competition and award prizes to the young person who contributed most. For example, you can have criteria such as team player, leadership and so on. You can make your own criteria that suit your group best. You can also involve young people to choose what they think should be included in the criteria.  A Win-Win for everyone

This brings me to the end of the 9 tips. I use this to plan any workshop. This helps me to be in more control and also be aware as to the delivery of the contents. Knowing your young people and their learning styles help you improve and deliver an awesome workshop. You will learn from your evaluations as to the impact of your workshop on young people from their comments and feedback. Remember to make your workshops fun and lively with varied and unexpected contents. This will help your young people learn and be more engaging and more importantly they come back to the next workshop.

If you’re looking for books to read, check out our resource page for all the books that you need for youth work. >>>Click here>>> 

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