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013 – How to make meetings better by using workshop techniques – with Alison Coward


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In episode 013, I talk to Alison Coward, a founder, facilitator, book author and keynote speaker. Alison runs Bracket, a consulting agency that helps teams work better together. We talk about “workshop culture” and the fact that not every professional gathering must turn into a workshop. Instead, we can use workshop elements that will help boost team collaboration and creativity in meetings and everyday business. In the show, Alison shares how to create a workshops culture with groups who are not used to post-it notes and sharpie markers. Alison’s reflections on creativity at work will inspire you to design and deliver workshops that work. 


Questions and Answers


[1:11] What’s the story behind your company name “Bracket”?

[5:15] What did you learn from your time working with creatives about the facilitation of business meetings and workshops?

[6:43] How do you get management teams to become more “creative”? 

[7:48] How do you facilitate creativity without getting into the “touchy-feely” zone and how do you turn the outcomes into something productive? 

[9:45] What will you then do with these ideas to get to the productive bit?

[11:53] What is the timeframe you advise your clients to take for a workshop to tackle a specific problem?

[13:21] What is the difference between a workshop, a group discussion and a meeting? 

[15:48] How can we bring the dynamic part of a workshop into a meeting? 

[19:30] How would you initiate this transformative process of introducing workshop culture into a team? 

[26:08] Do you have ground rules that come along with what you call “workshop culture”?

[28:05] What are the ingredients you need to bring workshop culture into a “normal meeting”?

[28:36] With what kind of exercises would you use for that?

[29:38] Not every team can afford hiring a facilitator for a “normal” meeting. Could a team member take on this facilitation role? 

[34:33] Do you believe in taking mindfulness into meetings?

[35:50] How do you deal with a situation where a check-in comment risks to take the meeting somewhere else? 

[36:54] What’s the magic that gets work done in a workshop?

[38:06] To what extent is the facilitator responsible for the follow-through of workshop outcomes? 

[40:37] How can we bring the energy back up in a full day workshop – especially after everyone comes back from lunch? 

[45:03] Why are organisations today so much more aware of the benefits of collaboration compared to 10 years ago when you first started? What has changed?


Links and Connection



Shows we mentioned

Artistic Intelligence: The new Design Thinking - with Romas Stukenberg


Connect to Alison


Follow Alison: @alisoncoward and @bracketcreative

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