Holding an internal workshop is a great way to gather information before making business decisions. These events are also effective at checking the pulse of your company and troubleshooting any challenges. To get the most of out of yours, there are a few steps you can take.
- Set goals for the meeting. Knowing these will shape the questions you ask, influence the guest list and help guide you as you put the workshop together. For example, the focus may be to talk about a new technology. For this, you might involve just your tech team and a few, key end-users. Or, you may want to explore new service lines. In this case, opening it up to the company as a whole makes the most sense.
- Create a list of questions. These should be open-ended and without bias. Doing this will support more productive discussions. Also, keep the number to 10 or less. When the list of questions runs beyond that, many participants may lose interest.
- Circulate a questionnaire ahead of time and gather feedback. This will let you know where pressure points are and can identify which areas need further exploration. It will also help tighten your list of questions for the workshop. Consider presenting the results at the meeting to focus the discussion.
- Be flexible. Feel free to ask follow-up questions that aren’t on your list. If something interesting comes up, explore it.
- Keep it inclusive, but small. Include as many employees as you can, but stick to groups with under 10 participants. For many companies, this may mean hosting multiple workshops, but opening these to the entire organization will keep the events positive. The last thing you want is to generate ill will or create anxiety before going into an open forum. That being said hosting workshops with more than 10 people often means many with valuable input might not be heard, so keep each session small.
- Consider a third-party moderator. Having someone impartial promotes freer discussion, while still providing structure to the workshop.
- Have food. People like to eat. You don’t have to host an extravagant lunch, but bagels or snacks go a long way in improving moods. It also lets employees know you appreciate their input.
- Present next steps. Always let participants know what you plan to do next and how you’ll use their input.
Curious about internal workshops? Learn how we helped Landworks Studio define their business using this tool.