Workshops done right are brilliant. There’s no better way to bring a group together to plan, ideate and solve problems. However, we often hear that people are fed up with them, dread them and even find excuses to get out of them. Why? Because, more often than not, workshops aren’t planned or run particularly well. 

Laptops in workshop at workplace

Take a look at the 5 workshop pitfalls below

Do you recognise any of them?

  1. You’re running too many workshops. This often happens when workshops aren’t done well in the first place and get repeated, but can also happen because you’re holding workshops when what you really need is a more straightforward meeting. Our post about whether you need a workshop can help you work this out in future.

  2. You’re inviting the wrong people. Or, most likely, too many people. Whilst workshops can cope with more people than meetings, you still need to be thoughtful and selective about who’s on the list.

  3. You’re unable to be flexible. Having a strong agenda is a great start and a really important guide for a workshop, however I don’t think I’ve once adhered absolutely to an agenda.  There may be disagreements in the room that need specific exercises to deal with them, or a discussion might take longer than foreseen. In these instances, forcing people to move on in obedience to a piece of paper doesn’t work.

  4. You’re getting caught up in minutiae. Details are important, but workshops often aren’t the arena for ironing them out. Wording, logistics, tangential issues…none of these should be stalling your workshop.

  5. You aren’t using external facilitators.  Whether this is an external company like ours or someone who works on a different team, often workshops benefit from someone external guiding the way so that everyone involved can participate. 

If you’re not sure whether or not your workshops are going well, our post about running meetings will help you assess.  If you want our support with future workshops, book a free consultation to talk us through your needs.