What do your team and client meetings look like?
If you’re like the majority of people, they look a little bit like this: after having received a vague invite, everyone stumbles in at the arranged time without really knowing why they’re there. There’s a last-minute rearranging of the room, and orders are taken for hot drinks. By the time everyone is settled, your meeting has started 20 minutes late.
A few people in the room, usually the most senior, end up sharing their strong opinions on the project. It ends up mainly as a conversation between these people, while the rest of the team, mostly scrolling through their phones, are consulted from time to time to make sure they agree.
The meeting ends, and while it seems there were a couple of decisions made, nobody's really sure what they’re supposed to do now. But the feeling is that it went well, so everyone stays quiet.
It wasn’t terrible. There was goodwill and a willingness to communicate. But as a collaborative way to advance a project between a group of professionals, the meeting was a failure.
There is a better way of conducting meetings such as this one. Good workshops and good meetings have a structure and a set of goals. They energise people, bring out different points-of-view, brainstorm possibilities and generally use the best thinking of a great team to solve a shared problem creatively. They require preparation, facilitation and follow-up.
If your job involves working with other people — which, for most of us, it does — good workshops are something that you should know how to orchestrate.
Running a good workshop doesn’t have to be daunting or complicated. You can begin well with only a few basic elements — start freestyling later on! Just like any other part of your craft, you’ll need to develop a “workshop process”. This is something that you can run, repeat, and refine many times until you know exactly what works best for you.
A Pocket Guide to Effective workshops is about giving you some tools to get that process going, or to improve the one you already have.