Workshopping the Workshop

What makes a good workshop experience? I’ve participated in some solid workshops. I’ve helped facilitate ones as well. Thinking about how to appropriately structure a workshop is an interesting design problem. As of now, I feel like I can get behind the following items as positive aspects of a workshop:

  • The facilitator establishes the tone. And holds it.
  • With the tone set, everyone can then start together from a common understanding of the problem the participants are trying to solve.
  • Time is used in a variety of ways. There is listening and talking, sitting and standing. We work together and we work alone. We discuss, present, and get feedback.
  • There is a diversity of attendees. (race, gender, age, sexuality, background, occupation, and so on) 
  • Approaches are arrived at together.
  • Everyone leaves with clearly defined action items.

I haven’t formally been trained in facilitation. I’ve dabbled. But it is something I’m becoming more interested in and see as part of a secondary set of skills I would like to continue to hone. To me, it fits nicely into the tools needed to be a graphic designer today. I would say more so than learning to code. To make ideas happen, from concept through to execution, knowing you’ll most likely need collaborators along the way, anything you can do to enhance your skills as a communicator of ideas is a good thing.