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10 Tips for Runnning a Successful Workshop

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A workshop can be a very powerful tool for collaboratively sharing information, generating new ideas, and/or aligning people on goals. One of the keys to running a successful workshop is having good …

A workshop can be a very powerful tool for collaboratively sharing information, generating new ideas, and/or aligning people on goals. One of the keys to running a successful workshop is having good facilitation that guides participants toward achieving the goals while nurturing an engaging environment.

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  • 1. | XPLANE 1OUR THINKING 10 TIPS FOR RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL WORKSHOP JULY 2014
  • 2. | XPLANE 2OUR THINKING 2 A workshop can be a very powerful tool for collaboratively sharing information, generating new ideas, and/or aligning people on goals. One of the keys to running a successful workshop is having good facilitation that guides participants toward achieving the goals while nurturing an engaging environment. 10 TIPS FOR RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL WORKSHOP
  • 3. | XPLANE 3OUR THINKING 10 TIPS FOR RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL WORKSHOP To make sure the workshop accomplishes what you want, set and voice clear goals at the beginning of the workshop. It also can be helpful to identify the question(s) the workshop is trying to answer. Write the goals down on a board in front of everyone. In this way, you can track when you’ve been successful during the workshop. 1. Start with the end in mind.
  • 4. | XPLANE 4OUR THINKING 10 TIPS FOR RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL WORKSHOP Workshops can deliver serious results, but there’s no reason the experience itself has to feel serious. As the facilitator, people look to you to set the tone. Smiling helps create a more open environment for getting the most out of your participants. 2. Create a warm, inviting environment.
  • 5. | XPLANE 5OUR THINKING 10 TIPS FOR RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL WORKSHOP Try to get everyone involved; actively invite them to join in. Be careful not to focus too much on any one or couple of participants or let them dominate the discussion, as the rest of group will be less interested in/discouraged from participating. 3. Engage all participants.
  • 6. | XPLANE 6OUR THINKING 10 TIPS FOR RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL WORKSHOP If someone is distracted/texting/not paying attention, call them by their name and ask for their opinion (people tend to pay more attention when their name is called). 4. Keep the group focused.
  • 7. | XPLANE 7OUR THINKING 10 TIPS FOR RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL WORKSHOP It’s easy to lose track of time during an exercise. To keep activities moving and create a sense of urgency, at the start of each exercise, communicate to the participants how much time they have to work on the exercise. Monitor progress and announce when time is nearly up. If it’s an important exercise and time can be extended, ask the group how much more time they need. 5. Give time limits.
  • 8. | XPLANE 8OUR THINKING 10 TIPS FOR RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL WORKSHOP The ideal group size for discussion is three to four people because it gives everyone an opportunity to significantly contribute. If the audience is larger than that, look for opportunities to break out in smaller groups to tackle the same or different objectives, then report back to ask the group which areas would benefit from improvement/refining. 6. Divide and conquer.
  • 9. | XPLANE 9OUR THINKING 10 TIPS FOR RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL WORKSHOP An effective way of collecting information quickly is to ask people to use Post-its to capture information (one idea per Post-it), post them all on a wall, then group into related clusters to better identify trends. When categorizing these Post-its, ask for audience volunteers to help sort them, and for each grouping, create a single headline with a label that best reflects the group’s theme. 7. Affinity map.
  • 10. | XPLANE 10OUR THINKING 10 TIPS FOR RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL WORKSHOP Once ideas are generated, posted and affinity mapped, give participants the opportunity to select their top ones. To do so, ask each participant to mark their top five choices, with the option of using their votes all on one idea or distributed across several. Tally the votes to see which the group thinks are the top ideas. 8. Prioritize ideas.
  • 11. | XPLANE 11OUR THINKING 10 TIPS FOR RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL WORKSHOP Ensure the conversation is about the same topic. Identify and paraphrase when audience debate seems to be “apples” and “oranges” by creating a framework for discussion; recognizing when the conversation is actually about different subjects can help resolve disagreements and audience frustration. 9. Settle debates.
  • 12. | XPLANE 12OUR THINKING 10 TIPS FOR RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL WORKSHOP Revisit the questions to answer and the goals for the session, and ask the audience the degree to which each was accomplished (then literally check each one off). By doing this, you can confirm that the goals were met, and participants will gain a sense of accomplishment. 10. End with the start in mind.
  • 13. | XPLANE 13OUR THINKING www.xplane.com