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How To Choose A Personal Development Workshop Right For You

Dec 25, 2007
Personal Development is big business these days and you are spoilt for choice. This is precisely the problem, for most people do not like too much choice, because they do not now how to choose what is right for them. It also smacks of hard work, having to do research.

Deciding on the right criteria to choose from is critical and of course criteria vary from individual to individual. Fact is that most workshops disappoint and do not offer what the glossy adverts promise.

I have been to many a coaching, healing or other kind of Personal Development workshop and have come away either disappointed or found that I had no lasting benefit whatsoever form the experience. I have not even met people I would like to connect with later for networking or other purposes.

So, am I just a poor judge of workshops and seminars? I do not think so.The simple truth of the matter is that there are not many workshops or seminars that offer what I am looking for. Having experience in this field and held work shops internationally for top class organisers I do know what is required to make participants happy. And my expectations are therefore high.

Let me begin with the venue.To my mind this is very important, because the quality of your surroundings has a direct influence on your ability to concentrate and take in the course material. If you are locked in a dark room all day, or some small stuffy room without ambience in some purpose built hotel your senses are not going to be stimulated, you will soon feel tired and probably have difficulty lasting the morning, let alone a day or more.

Unfortunately too many seminars and workshops use purpose built rooms with all mod cons in total disregard of basic learning psychology.

Then there is the number of participants: If I attend a workshop, I want to be challenged and that means I do not want to be able to hide easily in the anonymity of 50 or, God forbid, 100 plus participants. If I wanted a group consciousness experience I would go to Stonehenge, Wembley or some place like that. I expect to get to know all the course participants well enough to allow me to feel comfortable, open up and build rapport with the group. It is good practice, challenges to engage me in the day and that way I grow.

The delivery of the material is another sticky point. There seem to be two main types, either you have the schoolteacher variety or you get the course presenter talking over the group delivering the material without engaging the participants actively. Not only does this become incredibly boring, and reminds me of my days at college it discourages learning.

I also find it impossible to concentrate on lengthy deliveries without interaction. On occasion I have seen participants drop off to sleep. Yes, it happens.

Are you offered food at breaks? The answer probably is no. I find this most irritating and it is not at all conducive to creating good group dynamics. It creates unnecessary disruption as well as delays, when participants are late returning after the break, or do not return at all. Rapport is broken and it takes a while to re-establish, often this cannot be done after the lunch break, momentum is lost and the afternoon a waste..

And what about course notes? Some seminar and workshop presenters do not give notes at all, some after the course, but most will give you the material to look over whilst you listen. Personally I think either way is acceptable, but far more important for the long term success of any workshop and seminar is good quality follow up material.

This might be in the form of books to purchase, newsletter or even follow up courses you can attend. Some organisers have gatherings for the participants at bi-monthly intervals. To my mind such gatherings are a great idea, because they encourage networking with like minded people and that will keep you on your toes.

We all need time to integrate the new things we have learned until we have practiced them enough that they become automatic we need gentle, pleasurable reminders.

I am sure that you can see where I am coming from with these comments and what to look out for in workshops. If in doubt, call the organiser or presenter, have a chat and see if you feel comfortable with him or her, do not be afraid to ask questions. Above all know yourself and what you want out of the workshop.

Attending a workshop that is right for you can be a great pleasure to attend, and bring you immense benefits well beyond what you imagine right now.
About the Author
Mercedes Oestermann van Essen is an Energy Therapist who helps people integrate mind, body and environment for a better life
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