I was going to call this post ‘The Power Of In Person Learning Experiences’, but that sounded much too wanky 😉. But really, that’s more what this post is about, rather than workshops specifically. With courses, conferences and experiences sprouting up across the country, there seems to be increased opportunities for us as creatives to get together in a room and learn. Which is great as an indicator of the state of our industry, but also super scary to commit to.
In this post I’m going to talk about how workshops and in-person events have helped me this year, and what are the things you can hope to gain from them. Full disclaimer, I launched my own workshop, Out Of The Woods, last week, so it’s definitely in my interest to be talking about this! However, I don’t believe that workshops are right for everyone at every point in their journey, so hopefully this post can help you out if you’re considering your personal development budget for next year.
More effective learning
We like to trawl through blog posts, free e-courses and podcasts to find information while kidding ourselves that we’re saving time and money by doing it all ourselves. I’m guilty of this too! But I bet if we kept a tally of the hours we spent doing this we’d realise that we are most definitely not saving time, and if you think of what you could have been doing in this time, we’re not really saving money either.
What I like about an in-person event is that you’re giving the day over to learning, marking it as excused and giving yourself permission to immerse yourself for the day. None of the half-hearted, multi-tasking learning of the 15 tabs open; this is focused and distraction-free. Which, if you think about it, we never get to be at more or less any time in our lives. And that focus helps you to consume and understand more information in a much shorter period of time than you would at home.
Get your questions answered
While free online education is often really excellent, it’s never tailored to your exact situation. You never find a blog post that answers your question, or at least that answers it within the context of your business. So, again, we patch together an answer from various different sources, but it still doesn’t feel quite right.
At a workshop you not only have the opportunity to ask your burning question in your terms, but you also have time devoted to it. To the workshop leader, or perhaps the whole group, putting their combined brain forces into considering it and coming up with a solution that suits you and your business, not just an off the peg answer. It may seem small, but that can be transformative.
Meet and connect (with actual humans!)
I know right! For the introverts this doesn’t always seem like a big plus point, but for us it’s even more important because human interaction is something we have to plan in. And as much as we hate to admit it, things just happen when you collide with other like-minded people. Maybe you’ll meet a new client, someone to collaborate with, someone whose husband’s brother works for your dream brand.
And even if these best case scenarios don’t happen, you’re still spending time in a room of people that get it. And how often does that happen in a lifetime? No office politics, no school bullies sniggering at the back, no ‘sorry, what is it you do?’. Sharing ideas with these people, talking the same language and being taken seriously and not treated like an oddity has been genuinely one of my favourite things about workshops and conferences.
There’s a reason why big businesses have departments, and it’s not just to share the workload. It’s because the best ideas come when there is more than one brain doing the thinking. When diverse voices and perspectives join together, you get better, more well-rounded and original ideas.
Whether you’re looking for a solution to a problem you’ve never come up against before, or you’re just going through a dry patch, a workshop can help you fill up your creative well with the experiences of others. I first had the idea for my workshops at a workshop, where, listening to the other attendees I kept thinking of ways to help them get off the ground with the projects they were talking about. And so a brand new product was born.
If this post as inspired you, check out my Out Of The Woods workshops happening in 2018.
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