Planning, running and delivering workshops involves a lot of work, especially for a 2 (wo)man team. The work starts MONTHS in advance with finding a suitable venue, sending out advertisements and emails to my network, chasing up those people who express an interest (sometimes several times), answering queries, collecting applications, coordinating payments, the travel, the accommodation …. and that’s just off the top of my head.
It is also worth bearing in mind that I’m now in a lucky position: I’ve been doing this for a while so lots of the paperwork (PowerPoint, booking forms, terms and conditions, reminder letters) is already available to me as templates that simply need updating. I have a tried and tested, efficient process in place – but there was a time when that all needed designing as well!
In the couple of weeks prior to an event, things start to get a little hectic as I attempt to see all of my Counselling clients and Supervisees to ensure they have access to support if they need it while I’m away, as my email inbox fills with a couple dozen messages a day, and I huddle on the floor next to the printer for several hours while I print the extensive resource packs that we often provide.
I may very well spend my usual day off work sitting at my laptop updating the PowerPoint files with the most current and accurate information available to me, and catching up on a (no doubt extensive) pile of research reports and journal articles in order to ensure my attendees get absolutely the best data available. I have already spent a couple hundred hours on the event, and we’ve not even left home.
Here my ‘day in the life of a workshop’ is taken from a very recent workshop in Bridgend.
Friday 1st July
5:15am My alarm goes off!
6:00am Arrive at the clinic with just enough time to tidy up any lose ends, see a couple of clients, and pack everything needed for the workshop/s into the car.
12:30pm Yvonne and I are in the car and on the road heading for South Wales
16:30pm We should be at our location by now, but we’ve been in stationary traffic, caused by a road closure and some crashed lorries, for the last 2 hours.
19.00pm We finally arrive at our lovely B&B after almost 7 hours of travel, and having got up for work nearly 14 hours ago.
19:30pm We head back out to ensure we know how to find the venue in the morning, locate some suitable parking, and find some food. We get to stop and sit in a lovely little Indian restaurant … I’m sure the food is lovely, but we’re so tired we barely notice.
21:00pm We return to the B&B. I could do with catching up on emails from the day – but head straight to bed!
Saturday 2nd July
6:00am My alarm goes off ,with just enough time to get showered and prepared for the day.
7.00am We head downstairs for a lovely cooked breakfast (this will be important fuel for the day!) and spend the time chatting about any last minute plans or changes to the workshop.
8.00am By 8am we have arrived at the venue to set up the tables, chairs, computer, projector, and all the other bits and pieces that are required.
9:30am Attendees start to arrive and the day is coming together. I attempt to make time to chat to a few people, while having a last minute skim through my notes.
10:00am The Workshop begins! We had a lovely group of Counsellors from varied backgrounds who are all curious and open to learning more about Eating Disorders.
12.00pm We try really hard to fit lots of information into the workshops – but also appreciate that sitting in your seat all day gets a little boring so we get the attendees on their feet; keeping the learning interactive and (I hope!) interesting.
13:00pm By the time we break for lunch, it’s great to sit and hear attendees chatting amongst themselves about the topic and their learning so far. A few questions come up which I try to catch and hold on to so that the answers can be shared with the rest of the group. In between this we manage to grab a sandwich, before it’s back to work!
16:30pm The workshop is ending – by this point I’ve spent over 6 hours teaching – the attendees are very kindly filling in a ‘Post-training Questionnaire’ which will enable me to keep improving the workshops. As they complete this, they collect their CPD certificates and we spend some time chatting.
17:00pm The workshop might be over, but our work isn’t. We stay at the venue to tidy up, sort through resources and once again prepare the venue – we are back tomorrow with another full day workshop.
18.00pm The lovely folks who requested that we travel to Bridgend for a workshop have very thoughtfully taken us out for a meal. We chat about the workshop, its success and attempt to put the world straight!
21.00pm We arrive back at the B&B and out heads hit the pillow before we even have time to think. We are up at 6am again in the morning to do it all over again – we are super-happy that the group are enjoying the workshops, but are totally exhausted. We’ll eventually get home about 11pm tomorrow night. Monday will be a well-deserved day off.
So this is a day (or three) in the life of our Eating Disorder Workshops. It’s full on, usually in addition to a busy clinic schedule – but I feel passionately about allowing people access to good-quality cost-effective Eating Disorder training – so in a fortnight’s time I will be doing it all over again!
I hope those of you reading this find it interesting – a bit of an insight into the running of my business from ‘behind the scenes’. A bit more of the human story behind the scientific and news based updates posted here. I hope this post shows just how much time, effort, sweat and tears Yvonne and I put into the workshops. I hope you’ll consider attending one in the future.
And a very big thank you to everyone at the Bridgend weekend.