© vadimguzhva / iStock
© vadimguzhva / iStock

Oh no, not another workshop! 

Is that the response that often greets you when you suggest getting the team together to hammer out an issue or tackle a problem? It doesn’t have to be.

Workshops are an integral part of my work and how much of the qualitative data collected on field visits happens. I have learned over time that there are key ingredients to any workshop that I must ensure are in place if they are going to be successful. So here are the top 5 ingredients that I use:

  1. A workshop isn’t a talking shop: A workshop isn’t when people sit around and are either talked to or talk amongst themselves. They need to dosomething.
  2. Find a focus: workshops need to be focused on something: an issue, a problem, a plan, with the goal of solving the problem or finalising the details of a plan.
  3. Participants need to know why they are in the workshop: tell people why they have been selected and what they are going to be doing
  4. What happens next: People feel that a workshop has been useful if they know how the results are going to be used and what the next steps are, even if they aren’t the ones doing the next steps
  5. Report back: everyone is entitled to have a record of the workshop that they participated in. It doesn’t have to be a fancy publishable document, but it should be more than a list of bullet points of what was said. Insights, images, analysis will all be useful and used if presented accessibly in a workshop report that gives the event some kind of status.

Next time you need to organise a workshop, think about these 5 ingredients and see whether you can improve the response you get from your team. Good luck!


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