The success is in the preparation. When a workshop is about public participation and you want to focus on impact it is good to articulate the demand. A workshop for staff of a sustainability institute is meant to update them on public participation and social marketing strategies. Telephonic interviews clarify the objectives of the management. An on line multiple choice test for staffs assesses current knowledge, attitudes and skills.
A UN workshop with representatives of government, academia, private sector and NGOs is meant to generate options for national policies and priorities for international action. A quick scan through telephonic interviews provides me with their views, perceptions and questions. This helps to brief speakers and to organize the various time slots.
A workshop of stakeholders in the conservation of a big mammal aims to formulate a communication strategy. Telephonic interviews with different participants about the issue, the role of communication, potential change agents, messages, current attitudes of major groups and perceived priorities provides insights of current knowledge, attitudes and skills and helps me plan the various timeslots.
The last questions always is: “what would make this workshop a success for you and what other good advice can you give me?”