By EHM Feature Writer Sarah Jensen
I hosted my first workshops last year and I learned a lot about how to make your guests feel welcome and relaxed.
While the feedback after the first workshop was amazing, during the event I was sure it was tanking because everyone was so quiet! I was reassured with compliments, hugs and some beautiful thanks from the guests afterwards, but all night I was worried it wasn’t going well.
So I used everything I learned at the first workshop to make the atmosphere at the second one more interactive and fun.
Here’s what I did:
1. SEND A PERSONAL EMAIL BEFORE THE EVENT
I let my guests know how much I was looking forward to meeting them, plus provided some helpful information about the venue, parking and dietary requirements.
2. GET ONLINE BEFORE THE EVENT
I checked out my guests’ websites/social media accounts before the event to see what they do and what they look like. It meant I recognised them as they arrived and allowed me to ask informed questions to get the conversation started.
3. PERSONALLY GREET AND INTRODUCE GUESTS TO EACH OTHER AS THEY ARRIVE
By introducing guests to each other at the start of the event (with a fun fact like, ‘Kate is a photographer’, or ‘Jess blogs about fashion’) it put everyone at ease and helped reduce that awkward feeling of being in a room full of strangers.
It also meant my guests were more comfortable sharing their thoughts during the workshop, and some of them even arranged to catch up after the event and help each other out! Hint – if, like me, you’re not great with names, name tags can make this SO much easier.
4. SHARE YOU IN YOUR INTRODUCTION
At my first event, I was so nervous I actually forgot to properly introduce myself (who I am, what I do, and how I came to do it). So at the second workshop, I started the event with a really honest share about me, what I’d been through and why I felt so passionately about empowering women to follow their dreams. It was a really powerful, connecting moment.
My vulnerability helped my guests feel safe to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas during the workshop. It created a really inclusive, fun space and meant the workshop was more like catching up with a group of old friends than a paid event.
5. PROVIDE SOME ONE ON ONE TIME DURING THE EVENT
During my second workshop, I made sure I had spent some one on one time with each of my guests. Between each ‘presentation’ part of the workshop, I’d move around the room and talk with one or two of my guests. This allowed me to get to know everyone better and meant they could ask me questions and talk through ideas.
Over the course of the workshop, I was able to speak with each of my 15 guests at least twice and in the post workshop feedback, one of the most commented on elements was how much the ladies loved the personal attention.
6. SEND A PERSONAL EMAIL AFTER THE EVENT
Send a heartfelt thank you to each of your guests the day after the event. Share a favourite memory from the event or a moment that made everyone laugh, and a group photograph if you have one to remind your guests of how great the event was.
All photo credits belong to Amy Agnew Photography