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Starting is always the hardest. As the workshop lead or subject matter expert, you understand the problem, but you need others to help envision a solution. Please don’t underestimate the preparation required for the session. For every thirty minutes of workshop time, you need sixty minutes of preparation. The reward and energy experienced by any workshop facilitator will always eclipse the time you spend in preparation. Please focus on the thing you want, not the thing that prevents you from seeing the thing you want, from Simon Sinek [
].

Like the tools section, here are some techniques to get you started:
Objectives
. The more time you spend to define the primary objective of the workshop, the better the outcomes. The great designer Dieter Rams says “
.” Use this as a mantra to iterate and to refine. Your audience will appreciate the preparation.
The Best Rubric
. Try to use the "
How might we…
" approach to the objective. This presents open-ended questions, without bias. Remember the goal is progress not perfection. Write the objectives down; it is the essence of workshop success. See the Example Scenarios
section
.
The Agenda is the Roadmap.
An agenda is just a code word for the meeting roadmap. You control the roadmap. Invest in the agenda. The agenda is the spine of your event. This agenda is posted to the whiteboard and also used as a table of contents for session navigation within the whiteboard tool. Be sure to include:
Rules of engagement
- don't make it a the
fest, but tell attendees that when they “bitch” please be prepared to get called to submit $ to the fund that the organizer (that is you) will match and donate to charity. Second, please use
(don’t share out of the group), all ideas are fair.
Teams create results
- Allocate teams like Red-Blue-Green-Yellow but know that you will not keep the same team the entire time.
Simplify to reduce stress
- Session attendees are thinking “I have my day job” so do not make this workshop stressful. An important tip is to break ideas into buckets:
Easy
things we can do,
Crazy
things to try,
Safe
things everyone expected,
Hard
things that we should explore.
Simplify, then set a Context
. The context is to get ideas, that will lead to an experiment, that can lead to a POC. These steps ultimately can create a project. The audience will think everything must be a project because that is how their professional world works. Your goal is to create the hypothesis to start with an experiment. This reduces risk, iterates faster and saves money. Experiments are the
model for brainstorming.
Ice Breakers for the Win
. Create ice breaker questions for the start of each day. You do not want people starting a Zoom meeting in silence. That sends a subliminal message that the workshop will be boring. See example below.
Visual thinkers are the majority.
Bias all exercises to
, they are 65% of the user community. Create show-and-tell questions for participants. Ask them to bring one example they like related to the topic. It could be a consumer product that worked well, as product site, a picture, etc. Anything related to the topic of the workshop. Second, have them find a "dirty office" or "bad sweater" Zoom background for one of the workshops. Tip of the hat to
for this idea.
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