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Tips and Tricks for Running an Online Workshop

Workshops can be divided into two types: online and offline. In general, they share the core structure, but each has its own peculiarities you need to consider while preparing and running it. Since in today’s world online workshops are more relevant, let’s talk about those.
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So, what are the things you should consider before the start?
No physical presence. Is it good or bad? Well, it’s up to you to decide. But the eye contact on video calls differs from the physical one. Think of how you are going to keep your audience’s attention.
Remind that everyone will get tired faster than on the offline workshop even though it seems it should be the other way round.
The absence of nonverbal feedback may confuse you (if you usually pay attention to people’s mood, facial expressions, gestures, and such to track their level of interest and engagement) or, on the contrary, play in your favor (if that distracts you).
You won’t feel the presence of your team as much as you did before, so just try to find a way for them to be mentally with you. Think about how they might be involved in the presentation and contribute to it virtually, to help you from miles away.
Let’s briefly cover how you can prepare for the workshop:
Plan everything in detail beforehand or you will dream about that awkward silence in your nightmares. What activity goes after which, how much time should be spent on it, what the audience is supposed to be doing, how the customer journey map should look at the end, and what are the desired results.
Establish the roles. The host and the co-host are extremely important people. The rest of the team should also know what they are expected to do.
Define clear outcomes. At UXPressia, we run online journey mapping workshops regularly and we have learned from our own experience that there can be 3 different scenarios: ideal, optimal, and minimal. They all vary depending on the stage of accomplishing map creation and the results of the ideation session.
Get the timing right. In comparison with offline sessions, online one for different reasons take more time. Make sure the workshop won’t last forever and include short breaks. Otherwise, people would get exhausted, lose concentration, start scrolling through their social media, etc.
Plan your teamwork. You need to have enough participants. How many? It’s hard to say precisely, but you need to be able to divide these people into groups. Make sure each group contains people who:
Prepare your grouping. Set the guidelines, group discussion protocols, and define the flow of other activities.
Create the visual aids and templates. At UXPressia, we always have templates prepared for the teamwork, so the participants don’t start from the empty map. You are welcome to use our .
Select your technology. No need to talk about the importance of the video conferencing platform (Zoom, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc.) that suits the best, a place to continue the conversation after the workshop (Slack, Discord), and where you can take notes online, of course. Remember that if you have technical issues, the rest will go downhill. Double-check everyone has the access to the tools they will need.
Get yourself into the tools. You should be like a fish in the water with the tool you use for creating your CJM. To record the session will be very smart since the participants and those who were not able to attend might want to review it, also it can be useful for yourself to find out afterwards what you nailed and what could be done better.
Send out guidelines. A couple of days before the workshop, send the information to the participants regarding the tools which will be used, the exact time and schedule, the workshop duration, its agenda, and the expected result of the workshop. Kindly ask them to familiarize themselves with what CJM is. To help with that, you can send your articles. Don’t have them yet? Time to start a library of useful sources!
And here are our tips and tricks to use during the workshop:
Start it right. Even though it’s an online event, try to engage the audience as much as possible. Be creative and you will come up with many options like asking them questions about their feelings and expectations, making them smile by using a virtual background. Remember to mention the workshop goals, the basics, and the structure of the map, as well as to separate people into groups.
Use a variety of activities. Prioritize certain tasks like voting for the most essential pain points, ideas, and getting feedback. To add diversity to the workshop, you can ask people to think beyond the boundaries and add some unique features to the map (e.g., pictures).
Take breaks. While switching from one type of activity to another, make short breaks. Let people take their eyes from the screen for a while and stretch their bodies. They will come back with more energy and enthusiasm.
Last minutes. Save 3-5 minutes for people to share their thoughts about and impressions of the workshop. Have a thorough discussion on what should be done with the map after the workshop, further steps, through which channels, and when to talk about the results.
After the workshop, it would be beneficial for you to go through it again and check what worked out well and what should be improved, send follow-up emails to the participants with useful notes from the workshop, its summary, further steps, and additional resources which can help them dive deeper into mapping.
In case you also want to know tips for offline workshops, check out .
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