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by Nuutti Matintupa on January 16, 2018

3 Productivity Hacks for Running Radically Shorter Workshops


You know that workshop where John talks non-stop while Linda from marketing keeps scrolling through Instagram, and Mark from analytics chews gum aggressively in the back of the room?

Now what if I told you that you’ll never have to sit through that particular form of torture again?

With that goal in mind, we created a 3-step program for cutting your workshops in half and saving Linda, Mark, and their colleagues from a prolonged state of workshop fatigue.

1. Come prepared – and expect the same from the others

The single biggest cause of workshop fatigue is poor planning.

By setting a clear agenda and communicating it to the participants well before the workshop, you’ve already won half the battle. After all, the attendees now know exactly what will happen during the workshop and how they are expected to prepare for it.

Here’s what you’ll want to include in the agenda:

  1. The primary goal of the workshop – e.g. “Setting a timeline for the website renewal project”
  2. A list of topics that will be discussed during the session – e.g. “Possible bottlenecks, the review process, and important deadlines“
  3. A list of participants and their roles in the project – e.g. “John: project management; Linda: content strategy and copy; Mark: web analytics and conversion optimization”
  4. A list of concrete action points that you’re expecting everyone to complete before the workshop – e.g. “1. Be prepared to present your suggestion of the deadlines relevant to your area of responsibility, and 2. Complete a short pre-workshop assignment.”

I can’t stress the importance of that last part enough, as the pre-workshop assignment is your chance to get the workshop attendees committed to the goal you’re trying to achieve together.

For instance, your pre-workshop assignment could focus on asking the workshop attendees to list the biggest bottlenecks they foresee in the upcoming website renewal project.

Psst! Try completing your pre-workshop assignment with Innoduel.

2. Cut through the noise and get straight to the point

Here comes the fun part.

Since your workshop attendees already know what’s coming, you can cut to the chase immediately and start discussing the results of your pre-workshop assignment. In this case: the biggest bottlenecks your team is expecting to encounter during the project.

Either ask everyone to read their lists out loud, or if you’ve used Innoduel, just check the prioritized list of list of bottlenecks that your participants have co-created.

Psst! For more helpful tips on how to use Innoduel at a workshop setting, check out this blog post.

In any case, instead of using sticky notes to collect the answers, I’d strongly advise you to use your laptop. By scraping sticky notes from the mix, you’ll save time not only during, but also after the workshop. Speaking of which...

3. Make sure to follow up

Before sending those lovely workshoppers back to their desks, take 5 minutes to recap what you’ve just agreed on and how you’ll move forward with the agreed action points.

Make sure that you’ve documented all the important discussions and open questions. And now that you have a your workshop notes in a digital format, make sure to share those with your participants immediately.

How much time would I have saved using Innoduel?

According to a client of ours, using Innoduel for just one workshop can save a total of 10 working hours – including those that your participants would spend sitting in the workshop for an extra 30 minutes and the time that you’d normally use for documenting and communicating the results.

If you’re interested in seeing similar productivity improvements in your organization, we’re happy to help!

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Nuutti Matintupa

As the CEO of Innoduel, Nuutti's goal is to get things done. He measures the success of the company by how happy InnoDuel’s customers are. In InnoDuel, he is excited about creating something new both in terms of the product as well as a modern and scalable leadership culture. Your surest bet to get his attention is to challenge him on any board game or sports. Talk about a competition-drive!