Creating an engaging and interactive ‘workshop-in-a-box’ communications approach
An observation in Monster Towers at the moment, is how many times per week Danielle writes the following phrases in project scope documents – ‘we will develop a compelling corporate narrative’ and ‘we will design and create a visually engaging and content rich workshop in a box’
We shared with you previously, here, some steps and ideas around the first so now we will explore the second.
The need to connect and engage people face to face is still strong. Even in a digital world there is still a desire for live interaction, as an opportunity to discuss as a group and to build relationships.
But with tighter budgets and globally dispersed employees, conducting centrally held face to face sessions is not always possible. A viable alternative is needed – combining the power of face to face interaction with the consistency and impact of centrally run events.
A workshop-in-a-box is this alternative.
What is a workshop-in-a-box?
It really is what it says on the box. A pack containing everything needed to run an engaging, interactive workshop. This usually includes:
- A visual focus point
Normally an illustrated version of the vision or strategy or a different visual representation of a new process or way of working. Whatever it is, this central visual provides a comprehensive focus point for the discussion. The more engaging, visually compelling and interesting it is, the more likely it is that people will spend time exploring and discussing the key messages.
- Facilitator guide
This helps anyone facilitating the session to do so in an engaging and consistent way. Containing information not only on the subject matter but also tips on how to set up the room, how to ask open questions and what to do with the outputs. This helps to drive both consistency in messaging but also provides support to people who might be nervous or inexperienced in hosting such discussions.
- Output templates
Most workshops lead to the development of outputs, be they commitments, action plans or ideas. By providing templates, the messages are more likely to be captured consistently. The added advantage is that these can be transformed into a permanent visual output which can be used on an ongoing basis to remind people of the part they played in the discussion.
- Question cards
These help the facilitator drive interesting and engaging conversations.
- Exercise instructions and materials
By designing activities or exercises for people to carry out during the session this will encourage interaction and increase understanding. The pack can contain everything you need to set up and deliver these activities including instructions and any materials.
- Memory stick loaded with an Introduction video or animation
A good way to ensure that each workshop starts with the same context. Again, the more interesting and engaging this is, the more likely it will capture people’s attention from the start.
Does this approach work?
We are huge fans of big, impactful events in order to bring people together, forge strong relationships and encourage cross functional working but recognise this isn’t always possible. A workshop in a box approach is a very strong substitute. This is what previous workshop in a box attendees said about events they attended.
93% agree it was a good use of time
89% said “the conversation brought to life our objectives and helped me understand them”
92% said “I was encouraged to express my views during the conversation
95% of Managers said the pack has been an effective tool for communicating our Customer Delivery objectives to my team
Why are visuals so important?
Simply put, engaging visuals make content much more interesting. They allow people to discuss, debate and ask questions so much more than a set of PowerPoint slides. An engaging visual helps to physically draw people together, as quite often this is a large printed sheet that allows attendees to gather around and really collaborate. It can also be used following the workshop as a proof point of the involvement of many.
What topics could use this approach?
It could be used for the roll out of a future vision, the cascade of strategic plans and even training material related to technical technology changes. In order to make it a cost-effective solution however, work out how many people need to be communicated to, as the more people that can be involved, the more the cost per person reduces. This usually means communicating strategic or critical messages, collaborative visioning sessions and involving people in new ways of working. Now you could carry out a DIY version for minimum cost as long as it still remains engaging. Just providing a box of printed PowerPoint slides and instructions to read is not going to help your messages land!
So while nobody wants to be put in a box, a workshop in a box doesn’t mind at all. And Danielle won’t mind writing out her favourite sentence all over again!
Got a complex topic you want employees to engage with?
Our visual and creative design team can help you make an impactful, interactive and business relevant workshop.