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
- Alison’s business page: https://www.bracketcreative.co.uk
- Her book: “A pocket guide to effective workshops”
- Doodle: The state of meetings report
- Alison’s blog post on the creative process of workshop design
- New York Times article on 36 question
- Our sponsor Session Lab (affiliate link)
Shows we mentioned
Artistic Intelligence: The new Design Thinking - with Romas Stukenberg
Connect to Alison
Follow Alison: @alisoncoward and @bracketcreative