What We’ve Learned from Conference Workshops

Hello! It’s me, Nicole, and just like I promised you, here are a few of the good, bad, and ugly lessons learned at OMOD conference workshops this year:

  1. Make a checklist and distribute the tasks as evenly as possible! Learn to delegate! This gets everyone involved, which is especially important for participants who may have smaller roles in the workshop or cannot do as much as others. Use each person’s assets to identify their perfect role!
  1. If you want your workshop attendees to participate, put them in a circle. Do not give them a choice! Do not ask if they want to participate. Tell them what is going to happen next. Occasionally, attendees just won’t want to participate for whatever reason. Sometimes it’s their mood, sometimes it’s because they just ate lunch, and sometimes it’s because you gave them a choice. So have them sit or stand in a circle, and they will wait for their turn, not avoid it. The last thing you want to do is plan a bunch of riveting group activities only to have no one participate.
  1. Give out door prizes! People love free stuff and are much more inclined to participate if they are rewarded for it. So lately, I’ve taken it upon myself to ask for donations, which can be used as door prizes in our conference workshops. It doesn’t take much time to compose a formal letter with your non-profit number and what you need. In less than a month, I was able to solicit donations from two different companies. Here are a few little tips that helped me in my quest for donations.
  • Think outside the box when deciding what company or store to ask. (And don’t forget: there are many online stores too!)
  • Consider your audience. A good question to ask yourself is, “What would I like to receive as a gift?” Here are some ideas: coffee and tea products, movie tickets, knickknacks for the home, card sets, fun grocery bags, and gifts for the gardener, like seeds.
  • Don’t forget about the men attending your workshops! They like gifts too!


For my first donations, I asked Blue Q and ModCloth. Blue Q is exclusively an online store. ModCloth has stores but not in Austin yet. Each company replied to my request within a week, and we are so happy they did…

Lynn and Celia pose with some of our wonderful donations

Lynn and Celia pose with some of our wonderful donations

Thank you Modcloth and Blue Q! We can’t wait to give out your prizes (although I will have to pry them away from my co-workers first!) They are so jealous.

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