The Workshop
Survival Guide

Learn how to design & teach educational workshops that work every time.

Whether workshops are your whole world or just a small part, this book will equip you with the tools to design and run a brilliant session, every time, with no stress or drama.

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About the authors

Hi! We're Rob & Devin. We've designed everything from 20-minute teasers to 3-month intensives, in locations ranging from Costa Rica to Berlin. We've taught for companies like Microsoft and Deloitte and for universities like Oxford and NYU.

We were both partners at the education agency Founder Centric. There we built workshops for every price point, from free up-skilling through to $4000-per-seat executive education. We have taught at casual group settings through to formal, posh affairs.

But, most importantly, we can teach you how to do this. And you don't need to turn into some kind of charismatic superstar in order for it to work. In fact, you don't even need to be particularly confident. You just need to know how to design a good workshop. We've trained teachers up from scratch who are now billing north of $2500 per day, and who are getting invited back to teach again and again. This stuff isn't complicated. You can learn it, and you can do it.


What people are saying about The Workshop Survival Guide

Funny, Clear, Concise — an excellent read for anyone who teaches

A wonderfully written book that's mixes ready-to-apply advice with an easygoing charm. The concepts Devin and Rob outline are super easy to apply, whether you currently teach workshops or are looking to run one in the future. They helpfully point to further reading without getting bogged down in education theory. My copy is already well dog-eared with parts to re-visit the next time I have a workshop to plan!

Everything you need to know to design and teach a successful workshop

Creating and facilitating workshops come up often in my role. It's clearly written and contains easy to understand actionable advice that anyone can apply. A short book with a lot of information - would recommend!

Punchy and relevant

Powerful little book full of ‘oh riiiiight’ moments. I’ve been running workshops for 10 years or so, and wish I’d read it sooner. Rightly leans on workshop design: not the slides, but the structure, the learning outcomes, and the various formats you can rely upon to achieve these outcomes. Recommended.

A great and easy read, helping to define an end-to-end process to build workshop delight!

All-in-all, a real gem of a book from which I picked up lots of useful thinking and process tips. If you read this book as a new facilitator, it will set you on the right path to workshop success; read as a pro and you will still find great advice and thinking that I have not found anywhere else. Highly recommended!

An absolute must-read for anyone giving presentations / workshops

This book breaks down workshops step-by-step and provides extremely practical tips that took my workshops from good to great. However, what made this book particularly transformational for me was that it lays out some fundamental principles of effective communication that go beyond workshops: for example, the idea of learning outcomes, teaching formats, and facilitation techniques... all utterly useful in business and life.

Wow. This book is phenomenal

It breaks the entirety of creating and facilitating a workshop into manageable, bite-sized pieced and makes the whole process feel less daunting. Anyone who is considering or interested in workshop development NEEDS to read this book.

Well-structured, super pragmatic

Worth reading through then keeping as a reference for every workshop, talk or session you deliver!

No fluff

Just straight to valuable information on how to facilitate highly successful workshops. It’s an easy read. A lot of what you will learn in this book can be used to improve your workshops right away.

Amazing guide to creating workshops

I don't consider myself a beginner, but I definitely lacked some frameworks and structure, and this is a topic with few options available. The book is great, to the point, and a handy reference guide.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who teaches, runs public speaking events, and/or workshops

You probably couldn't ask for any better guide to help you prepare and deliver a successful workshop. With science and education-based learning and teaching methods, Rob and Devin provide several chapters on how to present and present a valuable workshop that helps students to achieve the learning objectives you set for them.

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What’s in the book

Workshop Design Essentials

Part 1
  1. Maintain goodwill with regular “a-ha” moments
  2. Don’t start with the slides (do start with the Skeleton)
  3. Vary the Teaching Formats to improve energy, attention, and learning
  4. The five essential Teaching Formats
  5. Design your exercises and refine your schedule
  6. Begin with the bare minimum number of slides
  7. Summary of Part 1

Facilitation Essentials

Part 2
  1. How to introduce yourself without making everyone hate you
  2. Don’t treat your audience as bigger than it is
  3. Seating and group formation
  4. Getting more from your exercises
  5. Answering student questions
  6. How to recover the crowd after an exercise
  7. Overcoming hostility, skepticism, and troublemakers
  8. Staying on schedule and dealing with delays
  9. Charisma can be manufactured with a clicker, a watch, and some small behaviors
  10. Protect your own energy by hiding during breaks
  11. Using co-teachers, expert guests, and helpers
  12. What to do when everything goes wrong
  13. Serve the people in the room, even if there aren’t so many of them
  14. Summary of Part 2 (and a facilitation checklist)

Conclusion and final thoughts

Part 3
  1. Appendix: Advanced Teaching Formats
  2. Appendix: An example of inventing, testing, and perfecting a new exercise