As workspaces find the balance between physical and remote work, workshopping has become an essential activity to facilitate learning and collaboration for an organization. Workshopping has always been a popular educational activity, but now more than ever, it’s important to understand what workshopping is and how to conduct it effectively.
In this article, we will discuss the definition of workshopping and the best practices for conducting it successfully.
What Is Workshopping?
Workshopping is an activity that facilitates collaboration between a group of participants through a series of meetings and educational exercises. Workshopping allows teams to promote communication and find collaborative solutions to problems or engages a large group of people in a shared educational experience.
There are two main kinds of workshops: educational and functional. Educational workshops are meant to distribute information, stimulate thought, and share innovative insights with a large group of people. These workshops are usually a presentation with some small collaborative exercises mixed in. They seek to teach something, whether it’s a lesson or a call to action.
Functional workshops, alternatively, allow groups of people to collaborate to solve a specific problem they might be facing. These workshops seek to create actionable change based on a given activity, whereas an educational workshop focuses on providing knowledgeable takeaways the participants can learn from.
One of the things that makes workshopping unique is that it’s geared toward a larger audience rather than an individual. By engaging a larger group of people, whether in collaboration or presentation, workshopping communicates knowledge in an impactful and efficient way. The ability to communicate with a larger group of people makes workshopping unique compared to 1-on-1 training.
4 Different Workshopping Exercises
Within the scope of functional and educational workshops, there are many different workshopping exercises you can conduct to promote efficiency and increase communication. Below are some popular examples that can be easily completed through an online whiteboard.
A development workshop is a functional workshop that focuses on creating action. This is commonly seen in product development but can be implemented in marketing, software development, or innovation planning.
Development workshops help build an aligned vision across an entire team and create mutually assured solutions through detailed collaboration. They are the perfect example of a functional workshop and can be conducted in one long session or over a series of meetings.
A brainstorming workshop is similar to a development workshop but more theoretical. This exercise asks team members to brainstorm solutions to a problem or create new ideas for the future.
The end goal will vary and might not always be actionable. Still, this workshopping activity is beneficial to get new ideas out and increase the flow of communication within a team. You can pair a brainstorming workshop with a popular brainstorming template like our Brainwriting template to get the most out of your session.
Networking workshops are a good example of an exercise that can both be educational and functional. A networking workshop can be a learning experience where a group of participants learn the best practices and secret tips for networking professionally.
Alternatively, it could be a big session where people come to network, collaborate, and build relationships. Whether educational or functional, this workshopping technique is very popular and is increasingly viable with more in-person options.
Virtual workshops are a medium most of the above workshops can be conducted through. Conducting a virtual workshop allows you to integrate participants and experts from around the world, without having to worry about logistical constraints. Conducting educational workshops through a virtual platform like Fresco makes it easy to open these sessions to the public and create a global communication loop.
Workshopping Best Practices
In order to conduct a successful workshop, it must be purpose-driven. Workshopping in a purpose-driven manner means engaging all participants, creating achievable goals, and facilitating an engaging environment for success. Here are some of the best practices to follow when workshopping.
Utilize Ice Breakers
To have a successful workshopping experience, everyone must feel comfortable and ready to participate. Getting people in the right state of mind and prepared to engage isn’t easy, especially online, and icebreakers can be an effective exercise to help loosen up the conversation.
Icebreakers help build trust between people and create informal, comfortable conversations. Interacting on a personal level is a key to building effective relationships and workshopping successfully. If you want to learn more about potential ice breakers, check out these suggestions for your next workshop.
Set Clear Goals
One of the most important things to remember about workshopping is you need to set clear goals from the beginning. Whether it’s educational or functional, clarifying the main goals of the workshop will set everyone up for success. If your goals aren’t clear, it will be challenging to leave with an effective action plan and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Creating clear goals helps create alignment throughout the workshopping process, but it also helps clarify the result of the exercise. Understanding goals at the beginning ensures you have a clear endpoint you’re working towards. Whether this is just a takeaway, or a specific action item, having a measurable end goal is key throughout the workshopping process to maintain focus on the shared target.
Once you create a clear idea of what you want to achieve and this vision is shared by all the participants, you can begin working on the actual workshop.
Collaboration is key to an effective workshopping session. In any workshopping scenario, it’s important to emphasize the importance of collaboration to everyone involved so they can all participate and contribute.
One of the main advantages of workshopping is being able to integrate multiple perspectives on the same issue. Whether it’s functional collaboration or sharing ideas about an educational takeaway, sharing perspectives helps broaden everyone’s thinking. This is the best way to create meaningful ideas during a workshop and should be emphasized throughout the process.
Lastly, it’s essential to communicate your findings with everyone when the workshop is over. This is an often forgotten step and is a reason that many virtual workshops struggle to gain traction. Communication is critical to ensure real action is taken on the back of the workshop you just conducted. If you don’t make a concerted effort to materialize this communication, it can negate a lot of the progress you just made.
Workshopping is a process that can achieve great results for participants when it’s conducted correctly. Whether doing so virtually or in person, hopefully, these workshopping tips will help make your next collaboration session a success.