Celebrating my 30th Workshop

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Celebrating my 30th workshop. I’ve done them now for clients and internal teams, with small teams and with groups as large as 70. And yes, they get a bit unwieldy at that size. And here’s what I’ve learned along the way;

  1. Stakeholder buy-in is essential. Both for the workshop itself and all activities that come after the workshop. If you don’t have that level of commitment – don’t bother with the workshop.
  2. Preparation makes the workshop. The more research, data and analytics you have, the more impactful the workshop. And the more prep you have the better you are able to identify the opportunities to create better products and services. And super bonus if you can present all of it in a manner that is simple and visual.
  3. Don’t bring people in cold. Give participants some homework. Keep it light and easy.
  4. Watch your data. Don’t bog the room down with endless detail. There is nothing more soporific than the sonorous tones of someone spewing endless data points.
  5. Stay on your toes and read the room. Discussions should be lively. Keep it flowing. If eyelids are drooping and laptops and devices start to appear, it’s a pretty likely bet that you are losing your audience.
  6. Make sure to get people out of their seats. Workshops aren’t meant to be passive butt-in-chair experiences. Numerous studies have shown that people think better when they are on their feet. But don’t take it as far as a dance class.
  7. In the workshop make a mental note of those participants who are not participating for whatever reason. Easy to identify them when you are standing in front of the room. Sit with them. Work with them. In the end, they’ll appreciate it the most.
  8. One more workshop doesn’t an answer make. Focus on tangible outcomes. Testable prototypes, a research plan, KPIs, and identifying product owners should just be a few mandatories.
  9. Get to prioritization as quickly as you can.
  10. All eyes are on you. Stand tall. Move around. Drink water. Remember names. And make sure to personally thank and acknowledge everyone in the room.