How to Create Collaborative Workshops: 4 Agenda Templates
January 19, 2023
Welcome to the world of workshops, where the success of your event largely depends on the structure of your agenda. A well-planned agenda sets the tone for your workshop and ensures that you cover all the necessary topics. But creating an effective agenda can be a daunting task, especially if you're starting from scratch! Not to worry, here are four helpful agenda templates that you can use to plan your next workshop with confidence. Let's dive in!
Why do you need a workshop agenda?
Creating an agenda is a crucial step in organizing a successful workshop. By doing so, you can ensure that your workshop is relevant and valuable for everyone involved. It serves as a roadmap, guiding you toward achieving your workshop's goals and keeping you and your attendees on track throughout the event. A well-crafted agenda will help you manage your time effectively, ensure that your attendees stay engaged and focused, and ultimately help you achieve the desired outcomes of your workshop.
Here are four agenda templates that you can use and adapt to your team’s needs.
1. Employee development workshop
Investing in development workshops for your employees is valuable. They can learn new skills, gain knowledge, and stay updated on industry trends. It enhances employee engagement, job satisfaction, and retention rates. These workshops can help individuals and organizations reach their full potential, whether it's leadership training, communication skills, or technical expertise.
Investing heavily in your employees is a surefire way to raise the value of your company in both the short and long run. If you’re looking to plan a successful training workshop, try this agenda.
- Group activity
Some of your employees would be coming to your workshop with their minds still on their previous meetings or tasks. Get them to refocus and participate actively by starting the workshop off with a simple ice-breaker. You can host a company trivia quiz, or even a group problem-solving activity to foster communication and teamwork. The goal is to free your employees of their distractions to ensure that the workshop would be a productive one.
There are many different formats that you can use for your lesson. You can conduct a lecture with presentation slides, or if you think that your employees would benefit more from the active discussion, holding a seminar would be a good idea. Whatever your style of teaching, make sure to engage your employees throughout your lesson. Hold live polls or short quizzes after each segment to keep your audience’s attention.
Often, we learn best by doing. Holding a group activity after the lessons allows your employees to internalize what they have learned in a hands-on environment. For example, if you’re holding a business analysis workshop, have your employees work in groups to solve a real-world business problem.
An assessment near the end of the workshop allows you to monitor your participants’ progress. Go through the common misunderstandings identified in the assessment, or conduct personalized review sessions individually with the weaker ones.
Hold a Q&A session before you end the workshop to address any lingering questions that your participants might have. You can also use your Q&A as a feedback channel on the workshop itself. Knowing what went right and wrong will help improve your planning for your next workshop.
Having a summary to review the key takeaways will help reinforce important learning points. A brief overview would do; refrain from giving an extremely detailed review.
2. Brainstorming workshop
A brainstorming workshop fosters creativity by encouraging participants to think openly and generate new solutions to problems. It harnesses the collective intelligence of employees, leading to innovative ideas and team collaboration. Hosting such a workshop can also build problem-solving skills and promote a culture of innovation within your organization.
Switch up the way you hold brainstorming sessions with this agenda.
- Setting the agenda
- Individual ideation
- Group discussion
- Convergent stage
Setting the agenda
A good facilitator is necessary for a fruitful discussion. If you’re the facilitator, devote some time at the start of the workshop to set the scene. This means establishing the goals, schedule, as well as ground rules for the discussion. Explain the brainstorming process you will be utilizing as well, so that everyone is on the same page.
To counter groupthink, get everyone to come up with their ideas first before moving to a group discussion. This allows introverts, who would normally be drowned out by the loudest voices in the room, to showcase their creative ideas as well. An online engagement tool such as Pigeonhole Live’s Q&A feature can help collect the responses easily and in real time.
A variation of this exercise is ‘brainswarming’, where goals are written at the top of the whiteboard, while resources to meet these goals are at the bottom. Participants then present ideas as offshoots of either side of the board. As participants build off each others’ ideas, a solution would eventually be found when the two ends meet.
Group discussions have their benefits too. However, group discussions are often ineffective as participants are usually afraid of giving any form of negative feedback to ideas. A study found that criticism can improve the quality of ideas, so fostering an environment of light dissent and constructive criticism would lead to a more fruitful discussion. Facilitators can encourage constructive criticism by setting up debates, where attendees can critique each other’s ideas.
At the same time, remember to remind your employees of the ground rules and ensure that the debates do not get too personal.
At the end of the brainstorming activity, it is time to evaluate the ideas given. There are several ways to do this. One way is to have your participants vote for their favorite ideas using a multiple-choice poll. You can also rank ideas based on different categories.
3. Lunch-and-learn workshop
A lunch-and-learn workshop is a training session that takes place during lunchtime. It's a convenient way for employees to learn new skills or gain knowledge while enjoying a meal. The workshop can cover a variety of topics, from industry trends to personal development. It's a great opportunity for organizations to invest in their employee's growth and development without interrupting their workday.
In the case of a lunch-and-learn workshop, there is such a thing as a free lunch, and they are usually offered in return for one’s time and participation!
- Speaker’s presentation
- Address Q&A questions from the audience (sent before the workshop)
- Catered networking meal
While the speaker for the workshop can be anyone, the informal setting of a lunch-and-learn is a great opportunity for employee-led development. Employees can teach each other a skill of their trade, or even a non-work related topic of their interest. Lunch-and-learns are a great platform to raise awareness for diversity as well.
Time is tight, and people are starting to get hungry. Crowdsource questions from the audience ahead of time to cut down on unnecessary waiting time. This way, more time can be spent on answering people’s questions, which would help keep the audience engaged.
Catered networking meal
To thank your employees for their time, cater lunch for the participants to enjoy after the workshop. Food is a great social lubricant, and a free meal is a great opportunity for employees to meet people from other departments and foster inter-departmental collaboration.
Or, if your lunch-and-learn workshop is open to the public, the session would be a great networking experience.
4. Company culture workshop
A company culture workshop aligns employees' values with the company's vision. Participants share their thoughts and experiences to identify areas of improvement for a positive work culture. This interactive session promotes a sense of community and boosts employee engagement, job satisfaction, and retention rates.
Seize the opportunity to address any prevailing issues your company might have with this agenda.
- Ice-breaker: word cloud activity
- Team evolution curve activity
- Culture Triangle activity
- Celebration and milestones
- Post-workshop survey
Word cloud activity
Kick off your workshop by getting your employees to share their thoughts on what they think the company’s culture is in a word cloud. This activity would set the context for the ensuing discussions. It would also let you know the current perceptions of the company culture, and whether they are in line with the envisioned one you had for the organization.
Team evolution curve activity
You can use the team evolution curve to determine where your team is currently at in terms of teamwork. The goal of the activity is to discuss the characteristics that the team currently possesses, and then draw out an action plan on how to improve from thereon. This team-building initiative would help in bringing your team members closer, facilitating a collaborative and motivated work culture.
Culture Triangle activity
A Culture Triangle is an activity that is great for strengthening inter-departmental partnerships. During this exercise, participants share the various stereotypes (e.g. strengths and weaknesses) they hold of professionals in other departments. Afterward, everyone would discuss the implications of these stereotypes on their teamwork, and how to overcome any challenges that were talked about.
The insights gained can then be used as constructive feedback to improve the company culture.
Celebration and milestones
Giving recognition to any efforts or actions that showcase the company’s values goes a long way in establishing your desired culture. Not only do celebrations reinforce positive actions, but they also improve morale and foster relationship-building in the workplace.
Featuring any milestones your employees have hit also lets them know that the company values them, and would foster a culture of appreciation and recognition.
Use these agenda templates for your workshops
A clear and effective agenda is crucial for a successful workshop. Streamline your planning process and meet your workshop's objectives by using one of the agenda templates we have outlined. Whether it's employee development, brainstorming, lunch-and-learn, or company culture workshops, a well-designed agenda can create a valuable and engaging experience for your participants. So, why not take advantage of these templates and elevate your next workshop?