Create a Successful Workshop with Idea-Generating Interactivity

By Tommy Brotte

Welcome to the second part of our series on interactive meetings. The first part was about Rhetorical interactivity – an effective tool for increasing understanding, engagement and learning among participants. In this post, I want to tell you a little more about Idea-generating interactivity – how to gather thoughts and ideas from your participants in a fun, engaging and effective way.

Act out

One way to quickly get a little further in a workshop is to ask participants to be actors. Make sure you have about six people at each table. For example, if you’re hosting a conference for business developers in a municipality, tell the participants to see themselves as board members of a company. Then distribute different fictitious or real companies to the different tables. Ask your participants to answer questions from the perspectives they think this board of the company they represent would have. Questions they can answer could be: How can we increase our growth by using the fact that there are two colleges close to our company? The answers will certainly differ depending on which business perspective they respond from and together they will come farther than if everyone would have just answered the question: What advice should we give the companies so that they can make better use of the fact that there are two colleges in their vicinity? Success factors here are clarity and that they have time to get into “their company’s” profile.

Have the participants decide what the workshop is about

Recently, a customer held a very appreciated two-day conference. They needed to involve the participants in the work on a new business plan. The business plan had eight important development areas. But they knew that during the conference they would only be able to work with three. During the first conference day, all development areas were presented. The participants were then asked to vote on which three areas they felt they should work with during the conference. Said and done. The participants voted and the rest of the conference was then devoted to a digitally supported workshop where the three selected areas were worked through in depth.

A digital Post-it note

We have all worked with Post-it notes. An often simple and good way to inventory, sort and prioritize. But it has its drawbacks. For one, the shape may be a little outdated. Also, it often creates a lot of additional work in the form of documentation and rewriting. It is difficult in larger groups and the fact that the participants cannot be anonymous means that the participants do not always share completely truthful thoughts. By taking the help of a meeting app or another digital tool for this type of exercise, you will get further in less time and have more fun while doing it.

Next week…

These were three examples of how you can use Idea-generating interactivity at your meetings and events. Next week it’s time for the third and final post in this series, where I talk about how you can use Exploratory interactivity to give your participants ideal conditions to share their thoughts on a special and perhaps sensitive issue – and why it is important to do so.

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