Communicators are regularly called on to bring together groups of people for the purpose of gathering insights, brainstorming and teaching. If this activity isn’t second nature to you, check out these tips for making any workshop more productive:
- Give a clear introduction. Clarify the overall purpose of the session, and check in regularly with the group to ensure that everyone’s on the same page.
- Set a positive tone. Convey that this isn’t an exercise in complaining or blaming, but an occasion for enthusiasm about fresh directions.
- Explain the process. Describe any prior research and consultation, and explain how this workshop will feed into a larger communications goal.
- Welcome questions and feedback. Encourage participation by being open and receptive to comments.
- Manage the meeting space. Ask everyone to turn off their electronic gadgets during the session, and ensure there are regular breaks.
- Be flexible. Allow the discussion to veer from the planned structure if valuable input is coming out.
- Show appreciation. Be sure to thank everyone for contributing their time.
- Commit to follow-through. Let your participants know about next steps in your process and how you’ll share follow-up deliverables.
– from Making Your Workshop Work