Queron Jephcott Team : User Experience and Information Architecture Tags : Rants

How to run a workshop

Queron Jephcott Team : User Experience and Information Architecture Tags : Rants

Anyone can run a workshop!

There’s nothing special about running a workshop, it’s just practice. A good workmate of mine once said:

‘A good workshop is like a board game. Someone needs to know the rules, someone needs to be the time keeper and everyone needs to have their turn.’

I’m almost certain that I’ve just butchered whatever he actually said and most likely the original quote he stole it from. That aside however, the main point I want to focus on is ‘knowing the rules’.

All it means to be a workshop facilitator is to know the rules. You don’t have to be good at the game, you just need to know the rules.

With that in mind, I’m about to create another of thousands of ‘things to do for a workshop’ lists.

However, mine is going to be short. It’s also going to focus on ‘newbies’. I call it:

How to run a workshop for a person who doesn’t have much experience running workshops

Perhaps the title is too long.

  • The most critical: the agenda – I know they’re a pain, but they’re the difference between dreading the idea of how to hold the room for three hours and actually holding the room for three hours.
    • For newbies though, a good agenda is any item that makes someone else talk.
    • Therefore all you are, is the person who know what to move onto when the conversation luls.
  • Breaks – You’ve got to have breaks! No one thinks it’s a waste of time. The people sitting in the chairs need them just as much as you, standing up the front. Just like a working day, five minutes every two hours.
  • Watch the clock, but don’t dread the clock – What I mean is you need to make sure things do get out of hand. You don’t want to spend 60 minutes stuck on a 10 minute ‘purpose of the workshop’. On the flip side though, it doesn’t matter if you’re ahead of schedule. No one cares! What are you thinking? ‘Oh no! Everyone will be upset if they get to wrap up the meeting 30 minutes early and get out of the room?’ Never.