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Fostering collaboration in your team

Published over 1 year ago • 2 min read

Dear Reader,

Earlier in my career, I had trouble designing collaborative sessions.

I was excited about the new skills, and I was (too) eager to try out new methods.

But often, these sessions turned into a disaster. No one paid attention, people left early, or the outcome wasn't achieved.

They fell flat.

I was concerned with what I wanted to get out of the session not what my team wanted.

My user-centered lens wasn't focused on audiences.

I needed an audience-centered lens for creating effective and engaging workshops.

Starting with the audience

Workshops tailored to the audience's needs and interests ensure that your team members get value and achieves goals.

You can create an inclusive environment, fostering better collaboration and teamwork within your team.

Start with the audience to create experiences tailored to the participant's specific needs and ensures that the workshop is engaging, relevant, and effective.

How to get audience-centered

Research your audience.
Understand the audience's knowledge level, experience, and expectations before designing the workshop.
How to do it: interviews or if you're working with larger groups through a survey.

Match their needs and goals
Design the workshop activities and content to align with the audience's needs and goals.
How to do it: by providing clear learning objectives and interactive activities, allowing participants to apply their knowledge and skills.

Consider the diversity
Take into account different cultural and experience variety of the audience and design activities or discussions that foster collaboration and mutual respect.
How to do it: incorporate icebreakers, group discussions, and role-playing exercises, encouraging participants to share their perspectives and experiences.

Switch-up activities
Use various activity methods and approaches to cater to different learning styles and preferences.
How to do it: achieve this through visual aids, group activities, and hands-on exercises that engage participants and keep them engaged throughout the workshop.

Live feedback
Provide regular feedback and support to participants during the workshop to ensure they are learning and making progress.
How to do it: checking in with participants, providing additional resources and support, and encouraging them to ask questions and share their thoughts and experiences.

Audience Strategy Worksheet

Being audience-centered when designing a workshop requires careful planning and consideration of the audience's needs and objectives.

That's why we created the Audience Strategy Worksheet to help you understand the essential questions to ask yourself about your audience.

I've seen designers use it for presentations, blog posts, and even their portfolios!

The Audience Strategy Worksheets walk you through the following questions:

  • Who will be in the room?
  • What's their title
  • What's their experience level with the topic?
  • Why are they bothering to show up?
  • What concerns might they have?
  • How will you address those concerns?
  • What do you want them to do after the workshop?

It's magic. Try it for yourself:

You can avoid workshops that fall flat. Use your user-centered lens.

It is time to shift your focus from your own expertise to the needs and goals of your audience.

Use the Audience Strategy Worksheet for your next workshop and let us know how it turned out!

Until next week!

Hannah Baker
Educator & Co-Founder
The Fountain Institute

P.S. Don't miss our last virtual meetup of 2022 next week Building Resilience in your Design Career with Janko Jovanovic

The Fountain Institute

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

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