In our example workshop, I decided to go for a discussion as the input. As the topic is collaboration an possible improvements, there is no larger need for any input as the starting point. On the contrary – imagine being invited to a workshop to reflect on your collaboration practices, and the first thing you are presented with is a theoretical text about collaboration at work. Wouldn’t this feel like a punch in the face? It’s like saying Well, nice of you to be here, let’s look at what you did wrong your whole career… and nobody likes that!
Have you ever listened to someone properly? I mean, properly. Listening involves more than turning your head into the general direction where a friend, colleague or even your boss is sitting. Listening skills are often very, if not the most, underdeveloped skill in a leader’s skill set. Well, why should you waste your time improving your listening skills? You have two ears, both are functioning, or maybe just one, but that’s still enough, right? Spoiler alert: It’s not. The good thing is: You can improve your listening skills with one simple little thing.
Giving your team a text to read is a very common and handy approach to providing input. There are more than enough texts on the internet! Preparing a text as an input is quite easy and does not require much work – however, you should do your prep! Otherwise you’ll possibly end up with many lose ends and open questions during the workshop.
Of course you have heard this question. Everybody has! The answer is probably yes. If you even wonder whether you should write something down… do it. Being the person to remind the group of writing results down – or even doing it yourself without even asking that question – might trigger your colleagues to wonder why you insist on this. So let’s quickly review the top three possible reasons.
The goals for warm-ups and feedbacks are usually quite universal. However, there is a great variance in what you can and will achieve with a warm-up. You should always consider your warm-ups, feedback phases and cool-downs as part of your workshop, and as such, as a phase that fulfills a certain function. A good warm-up is never just a game that interrupts your workshop!
Everything you do during a workshop is an exercise. It’s not just about handing out sheets with numbered questions which your participants need to fill in or answer in a written form. Think of it more like a blueprint of what you’ll do during your phases!
Leading meetings is an art and a necessity. The difference between a meeting and a great meeting is most often made by the meeting owner. There are a few mandatory steps to go through if you want to bring your meetings to the next level. A very easy way to upgrade your regulars is to introduce some rituals. That does not mean that you should make your meetings fully predictable – it just means giving everybody some bootstraps to navigate through the meeting safely.
It may seem tedious to plan a goal for each step, but it is actually not only important for you as the workshop leader. It’s also very important for the participants! This doesn’t mean that you will explicitly communicate each goal – your participants will feel whether you know your goal.
Theory is nice, but there’s nothing better than practice, right? In this post, we’ll go through an example of a workshop plan. I’ll explain some details, and you can download the files I use and plan your own session. Let’s start!
I cannot count the times I saw those motivational posts on LinkedIn or Facebook which are all about awareness and being kind to yourself. Drink enough, get enough sleep, plan your day ahead and don’t miss the breaks! An exhausted body is toxic. I know! And I do! And I bet most of you also have good habits. But if you are managing one or more teams, it’s not always your fault if something does not work according to your plan. So how can you find the balance between not losing yourself, but still staying open towards all the last-minute requests that come in during the day?