Yes, we’re already at fine-tuning! After we’ve now filled all of our columns and know what to do, there’s only a few things left: Choose an adequate initial warm-up, and one warm-up for after the break, choose a feedback exercise, check what you have to before the workshop starts.
The second half starts with an external input. I already wrote two blog posts about providing input as such. This time, the input will be text-based. As mentioned earlier, I like using hbr.org as a source for articles – they are informative, well-written and can easily be understood even if you’re not into all that management talk. For my topic of moving to agile collaboration, I found an article which in general fits this topic quite well: Agile at Scale. It is about scaling up agile teams in companies, and mentions many differences between traditional collaboration and the agile framework.
As mentioned in several other posts before, changing the working form regularly will help your workshop in multiple ways. First, it will help your participants to concentrate longer. Second, it will make your workshop more diverse as you give different types of learners the option to find a phase that they feel most comfortable with. Third, there are things than can best be done with a partner, or in a group, or in smaller groups – or alone, and adjusting the working form to the most beneficial one will help you to get the most out of each phase.
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!
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.
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!
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!
After we established a vertical structure in the last post, let’s focus on working out the horizontal dimension. Each of the defined phases needs certain attributes. How detailed you are in your planning depends on you: Do whatever makes you feel confident when you stand in front of your participants.