Woo! It’s been over a year since the first conference I’ve attended, and I thought I would share some of the biggest things I’ve learnt over this year, from questions I get frequently asked, to experiences that were new and thrilling. These pointers are handy for any young, budding workshop-leaders, and maybe some who are just getting into the swing of things. If you do decide to use these tips at an event you attend, let me know!
Let People Take Their Time
One of the most daunting things when somebody is attending a workshop, especially if they’re young or just a beginner, is not being able to keep up with some of the more experienced programmers. Give people quite a bit of time to complete the activity or task. This will reduce pressure on younger participants, and allow the speedier ones to express their creativity and put their own flair on what they’re doing.
Meet As Many People As Possible!
One of the most helpful things if you’re just coming into tech and computing is that there are so, so many people out there! Whether you need their help, or just want a chat, I’m sure they will always be ready. Through Twitter, I have met so many amazing people, and then been able to find out about events where I can meet even more brilliant people! If you’re not quite old enough for Twitter, though, there are plenty of listings for events on Eventbrite: just type in a location (maybe your nearest city) and the sort of event you would like to go to, and then voila! You have an extensive list of events, ready for you to go to, and have a great time. The advantage of knowing, and being able to contact, so many people is that whenever you’re stuck you know that they are there to help. With techie enthusiasts all over the world, there’s bound to be someone who can help with exactly what you’re doing.
Broaden Your Skill Set
It’s all very well knowing exactly what you’re doing for your workshop, but what if somebody wants to go further? What if somebody wants an example of what they could do at home? It’s best if you could learn some more of whatever you’re doing, just in case this happens. It can also improve your confidence with the program, and improve your fluidity with functions and various other commands! Also, it can potentially mean you learn more about the bugs the program has, and how to fix them before being put on the spot.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Starting out giving workshops can be daunting, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when planning or delivering yours. A second opinion is always best! If you’re ever not sure, or if you just want a guinea pig to test your workshop on, ask for some advice! Whether it’s your parents, or a leader at your local Code Club, they’ll definitely want to give you a hand. Alternatively, you can email me using the Question Time page, or Direct Message me on Twitter.
Take Pride In What You Do
Even if your workshop doesn’t exactly go the way you planned it to, take pride in yourself! You’ve had the nerves to get up there and deliver a workshop: that’s hard, and the people attending your workshop will appreciate that! This is probably the most important tip, and if you are having fun, your participants are far more likely to! Be confident and speak loudly, and maintain eye contact with your attendees. Help anyone who needs it, and be friendly. If you’re nervous, participants will feel frightened too.
Thank you so much for reading these tips; I hope they’ve been a great help, whether you are running a workshop tomorrow or planning one for years in the future! Let me know if you use these tips, or if you need any help!