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3 Tips for Perfecting Workshops

Published 6 months ago • 2 min read

3 Tips for Perfecting Workshops

by Jeff Humble

Dear Reader,

Workshops have been a huge career booster for me.

Designing workshops got me in front of the leadership team before I became the head of design. Some of my workshops even became paid client gigs, like a UX conference gig in Istanbul and a design sprint training for Lufthansa Airlines in Frankfurt.

But looking back, I made some rookie mistakes.

Here are 3 tips to save you from those rookie mistakes and help you iterate your workshops toward perfection.

1. Jumping to slide design too quickly

Slide design can be a huge distraction when designing workshops. Never jump into slides until you have a plan for your workshop. I used to design so many beautiful slides that I eventually threw out as the workshop idea evolved. That's a big waste of time. Simple-text outlines, Miro boards, practicing, and even a blank piece of paper will keep you out of the slides until you know the structure. Pro Tip: Fill out an Audience Strategy Worksheet to ensure you have a plan before jumping into slides.

2. Talking too much and not listening.

When I started workshops, I thought the slides were good enough to keep the audience's attention, but that's just not true. You have to keep the talking brief. Try to encourage conversation at all times throughout the workshop. I like to put up a slide that says "reflect" after every activity to remind me to spur conversations. These moments of reflection will tell you if the room is on the right track or not. Pro Tip: Ask an open-ended question and wait 10-15 awkward seconds to get through those inevitable...........long........silences that precede a good group discussion.

3. Relying on audience feedback alone.

I had this monthly workshop called "Intro to UX" that I was doing at my old job. I wanted the workshop to improve, but after a while, participant feedback wasn't helping. After inviting a few experts to join, the truth started to come out. Anonymous feedback certainly helps, and it can get you 80% of the issues. But only an expert will get you that final 20% of critical feedback to reach perfection. Pro Tip: Offer an expert a feedback trade and give them feedback in return for helping improve your workshop.

If you're interested in getting better at workshops and even turning it into a career, check out Facilitating Workshops: LIVE.

There will always be a demand for workshops and clients are quite willing to pay you for it. In my experience, a custom workshop is one of the fastest ways to develop a paid offering for some extra freelance cash.

Who doesn't need a little extra cash these days?

Source, shared in the Guild

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Until next week, have a Happy Halloween, y'all! 🎃👻

Jeff Humble
Designer & Co-Founder
The Fountain Institute

The Fountain Institute

The Fountain Institute is an independent online school that teaches advanced UX & product skills.

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