I once spent three days of my life in a facilitated workshop away from home and away from the office with 100 other managers in a newly merged organisation. I brainstormed, I networked, I participated, I contributed, I listened, I voted, I built consensus, I presented. I talked in pairs, in triads, in foursomes, in medium-sized groups and in large groups. I reflected, I bonded, I awoke fresh in the morning to do it all again for two more days. At the end I felt gratified that we’d actually done a lot of great work in such a short amount of time.
Not a word of thanks, acknowledgement, next steps, minutes, pictures or any artefact whatsoever.
Years later I question the certainty that it actually happened at all… I’ll never know if A) nothing was done with all that input B) something was done with it, but it wasn’t helpful or C) something was done with it and I (and the other 100 managers) deserve a lot of appreciation because it turned the company around. I’ll never know.
Sending out workshop artefacts is equally as important as creating them in the first place.
Artefacts from such an intense, focused exercise as a facilitated workshop demonstrate acknowledgement, thanks and appreciation. All of which goes a long way in motivation and increases the likelihood of a repeat performance when needed next. No artefacts, no motivation. All of a sudden everyone is ‘unavailable’ for your next workshop. Say goodbye to collaboration and inspiring ideas. No one will be there to generate them.
Anything is better than nothing.
Ideally there will be meeting minutes, encapsulating the rundown of the event, the participants, the results, and the next steps.
At a minimum, pick from any of the following and be sure to send it out (as soon as possible after the event):
- Thank you message
- Summary statement
- Next steps
- Ideas explored
- Decisions made
- List of participants (contact information, especially for groups that didn’t know each other at the beginning)
- Presentation, slides from the event
- Sources for further information
- Leaflet, pamphlet, brochure, publication, broadsheet, flier, bulletin
- Pictures of participants and/or flipcharts and other writings captured throughout the event
- White paper of the topic
- Link to blog, vlog, podcast, video, webinar about the event or at least the topic
- Summary or typed up list of posters, flip charts, notes, whiteboard drawings, sticky notes created
What other artefacts have you found to be helpful after a workshop?