workshop woes

We’ve all been there: in a meeting or workshop designed to instruct or inspire, but which falls short.

Some common mistakes:

* Participants are probably busy people, with more on their plate than this workshop. If you're the facilitator who has committed much time and energy, this is an easy one to forget.

* Parcipants should gain some personal benefit - it can't be exclusively focused on the facilitator's or organization’s goals. Consider it a gift to the attendees - like a quality party favor.

* People learn differently and need the freedom to do so - let them move, let them take notes on a whiteboard, let them use their laptop.

* Give participants time to soak in the info and to work it out for themselves. Teaching is not lecturing. Take the journey together.

* It's okay to have fun, laugh. In fact, in most workshops, it's critical. It energizes. It can break down barriers. It's free-ing.

* And circling back to the first couple points: keep to the scheduled duration. For many participants, the planned end-time is a contract – keep it.

Incidentally, I've presented workshops to more than 6000 participants since 2001, of all ages and backgrounds. I love it. I love those moments where we come together, share ideas, discuss, argue and then take that experience back to the rest of our lives. Like a sauna, like a good stretch, like a belly laugh. It's beautiful.


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