Conference workshops: High voltage, high learning

High voltage workshops with Carsten Wendt

I specialise in 45 minute hi-voltage workshops at conferences.

We practice a skill. 45 minutes later, we’re better at it.
Two examples:

  • Dynamic Speaker Introductions
  • Managing Difficult Conversations

Example 1 : Dynamic Speaker Introductions

If you ask me, it’s a life-skill: knowing how to introduce a speaker, maybe at a conference but for sure at every meeting. What if, form now on, you get up to give every presenter a dynamic introduction?

You cannot overestimate the importance because a good introduction builds the atmosphere and attention with two benefits: it sets up the speaker for success and it sets up the audience for success!

That’s why I give this workshop often and it’s always super well received: a fun skill that’s quick to learn with my (or make that Aristotle’s) Ethos Logos Pathos-Framework.

The way I do it? With ‘Do and Redo’, like in Example Two.

Part of conference success are short and dynamic speaker introductions.

Example 2 : Managing Difficult Conversations.

Here is a skill that all leaders (and people) need: confront a difficult situation, engage the conversation and turn the situation around.

We role-play a scenario that is hand-picked for the audience.

The volunteers ‘do and redo’:

  • they role play,
  • we give them feedback
  • then they do it again.

It’s scary for the volunteers (at first) but it’s highly effective and it’s lots of fun, including for the volunteers. Here a picture from the workshop I gave at the PMI National Congress for Belgium in Autumn 2018.

We practice the art of managing difficult conversations.

Workshop Exercise Tip: Practice your instructions

By the way: this is a skill I learned from Serge Pegoff, Management Consultant and my predecessor as President of the Brussels Toastmasters Club.

For any exercise, carefully craft your instructions. Write down the instruction and test it. More often than not, people have questions. Practice on a few volunteers beforehand and you know where the confusion is.

Of course, it’s not the end of the world if something is unclear. Far from it. But if all is clear, it gives your workshop a nice flowing feel. The picture below is from an instruction I gave during a workshop (on how to use humour in speaking) at the 2017 Italian Toastmasters Autumn conference in Rome. Humour is fun, instructions are serious 🙂

be super succinct when you explain your exercises


The high voltage photo is by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

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