Planning workshops or meetings may seem daunting at first but, as with most things in life, when broken down into a few simple steps it is amazing what can be achieved.
It is absolutely critical to begin with a concise, clear idea of what represents a good outcome from the workshop. Consider what the deliverable might be, what that deliverable might look like and what questions to ask to help produce it.
When you have the answers to these questions, write them down and send them to the attendees as part of the workshop brief. Remember you are describing the purpose, value and approach to the workshop – not the agenda. You are trying to reassure the attendees that they understand what the workshop is about, what will be expected of them and how they might succeed.
Then plan the workshop in detail. Break the problem up into a series of questions, then consider how you will tackle each question in turn. Understand how the answers to these questions maintain the momentum of the workshop and keep building towards the deliverable. Schedule them, allocating a set time to each. Remember to top and tail your agenda with an introduction and a close that agrees follow up actions.
The introduction is your final chance to focus the attendees on why they are there, what they are being asked to do and how they will do it. Avoid going over old ground. Summarise the briefing you sent out earlier and then get straight down to the first item in the agenda.