A workshop is an important vehicle for communicating about health and safety issues. It is a unique opportunity to convey messages to an audience compared to other communication approaches. A public service announcement, an interview in the newspaper or a poster each tries to engage or get the attention of the target audience. By contrast, a workshop has a relatively “captive” audience, participating in an event with some structure. Nonetheless, the opportunity for effective communication is central to the workshop and poses its own unique opportunities and challenges. This chapter explains how the health and safety communications model detailed in Chapter 1 can be used to ensure an effective workshop, from planning and implementation to review and refinement. In short, a workshop is a time-limited opportunity to prepare the participants with a specified set of knowledge, attitudes and/or skills. Participants come to a workshop with an expectation that they will learn something specific-and they know what that is. Generally, workshops are limited in size, have a specific focus and incorporate a variety of know-feel-do strategies. Workshops may be fully voluntary and they may also involve participants who are required, encouraged or even coerced to attend. Workshops can be long or short; some, in fact, may be held over multiple days. Some examples of a workshop:
• a one-hour session on how to manage your time more effectively; • a refresher training on skills with CPR; • a three-hour session that prepares you to make a skilled intervention with an indi-
vidual with a drug abuse problem; • an all-day training for teachers on how to teach middle school youth about good
nutrition and healthy eating habits; • an evening parenting, grandparenting or sibling class for expectant parents and their
families; • a train-the-trainers session that prepares potential workshop leaders with the knowl-
edge and skills to conduct topic-specific workshops with others.