Well I did it!
After months of planning, biting of fingernails and talking to my reflection in the mirror, the day for my first 'All About Insta' workshop finally arrived and you will never know how relieved I am to be able to say what a fabulous day it turned out to be.
As expected, niggling nerves were taking their toll a little on Thursday morning but I was trying the put them to the back of my mind and just concentrate on making all the participants feel welcome and at ease when they arrived.
For my very first foray into the workshop world I was blessed to have a such a fun, engaging and enthusiastic bunch of ladies, all of whom came from different business ventures. There was a food writer, publisher, garden writer, nursery owner, PR agency owner and bed and breakfast host among the participants, all of whom wanted to know more about how to use Instagram to find their target audience and get their brand recognised in the big wide world.
I can honestly say it wasn't long before I totally forget about my nerves and the banter filled morning whizzed by in an Instagram filled flash, soon it was time for lunch and then back to business with photography and styling in the afternoon.
Maybe in the months to come I will write a series of posts on organising a workshop but as this was my very first one, I have lots to reflect back on and I would be silly to think I have nothing to learn. There are always things that can be tweaked and done slightly differently and only a fool would not listen to well meaning suggestions and offers of advice. Something which I failed to notice was that some of the ladies had positioned their name cards facing inwards so they couldn't be seen by the others. A small but very important piece of information gleaned from a feedback form. Thank you to whoever volunteered that piece of information, a valuable lesson learned!
There are a few things I was very happy I changed my mind about along the way. I started with the idea that I would take no more than 15 attendees but after spending some time in the room at Hintlesham Hall and planning timings for the day, I decided that 8 people would be the optimum number. Much to the contention of some people who thought that nearly halving the number would be too few to have a successful day, I am so pleased I stuck to my guns, as for me it was the perfect gathering.
Right from the very beginning I was clear that my aim for the day was to ensure everyone could participate and enjoy their day out to the full. I wanted every person to feel included, to be able to ask questions without getting cut short because of time constraints and it was very important to me to involve the quieter participants and spend some time with everyone individually to help with any styling or photography issues they wanted to discuss.
I was delighted to see from the feedback received (in an envelope so it was private as I feel it can be embarrassing for some people to leave critical comments, even if it is constructive criticism) the day went as I would have hoped and to be very honest, even exceeded my expectations.
I have picked out a few comments from the feedback which I am very proud of and the kind words have certainly made all the organising, sleepless nights, crises of confidence, baggy eyes and comfort eating worthwhile.
"It's been a revelation and now I feel inspired to apply as much as I can!"
"Lovely, lovely, lovely. So generous in every way."
"Brilliant - A fantastic day!"
"Wonderfully informal whilst really useful. Best of all worlds!"
My heartfelt thanks to those who came along, thank you for being so kind and supportive and encouraging me to organise more workshops in the New Year. I could not have done it without you.
PS. I was so engrossed in the day, I did not take any photographs which was rather amiss of me. I quickly snapped this one at the end of the day when I was clearing up so apologies for the lack of images!