How to structure a three hours online workshop?

This Saturday I’ll teach a workshop online, for a Chinese audience in China. Three hours. Part of that time will be painstakingly eaten away by the translation, English-Chinese and Chinese-English, since my Chinese language skills are not sufficient enough for teaching. And then, what to make of it? Three hours? I’m used to teaching 45-60 minutes online sessions.

However, I recall a Zoom session I had some time ago, where two students and me conferred ABOUT a one hour online presentation. We chatted away 2 hours in no time. We did that three times, on three separate appointments. In fact, the last Zoom session lastet well over 3 hours, and we could have gone on, that’s how lively, inspiring and interesting our conversation and sharing was!

Also, I recall a Zoom call with my brother and one of our best friends, a year ago or so. We too chatted away over 3 hours, and only had to stop because my brother had another appointment, en plus it was nearing 1am in my timezone and I grew considerably sleepy.

But an online workshop over 3 hours with a group? How would you structure something like this without getting that dreaded back-to-school feeling? I recall well—from multiple occasions—that people are shy to speak in front of others. Especially online. Probably for multiple reasons, good reasons. Reputation, social credit, hierarchy, all the heads of Medusa snapping at any student who comes forth to speak or ask questions at once. And for me the same problem, in the past I got criticised for answering some questions too detailed, and other questions too short. Back-to-school is politics, career, money.

So- I might go in like I did at the above mentioned two Zoom meetings. I might not prepare a set list. I might not plan set activities and times at all. I might just briefly re-read what I’m supposed to cover according to the advertisement copy I handed in to sell the workshop. I might go in as a human, come as a friend, come as I am, and will not “teach” but just be. Maybe something good will come from that. And if not, who needs three-hour-long Zoom workshops anyways?