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How to deliver an online brainstorming workshop

By | Sridhar Ramanathan

I have been delivering online talks since April 2020. One full year now.  I had a few successful talks and some that bombed. On the whole I am a little wiser. And in a position to share what I have learnt. 

First realization is that you have to understand how this works. I realized early on that I am a content expert and not a technology expert. Zoom, MS Teams, Google Meet, Webex, Google Hang Out. In addition, there are apps like Figma, Padlet, Mila Note, Idea Flip, Miro and Mural. I realized that I knew my content but could not handle the apps. 

So, the first thing I did was to come clean and say that I need someone from the client’s end to handle that. Logic: When I facilitated any workshop, I handled my facilitation work and client arranged the venue, projector, screen, sound system etc. I addition I used to give them checklist that included every single item that the client had to arrange. It was a tried and tested checklist and worked very well. (Happy to share the workshop requirements checklist with you – send a mail to me at Subject: Workshop Check List. I will mail it within 24 hours.) 


Understanding the client’s requirements. Here are 5 questions I asked

a.    What is happening today?

b.   What would you like happening instead?

c.    What is coming in the way?

d.   What is the biggest barrier/challenge?

e.    Therefore, what do you need ideas for?

It had to be a simple single line statement. Clear and sharp. (Nothing in brackets, no add ons).

Step 2

Suggest the right mix of participants for the workshop. If there are 30 participants only 5 should be accountable for solving the problem. All others are idea donors. They will give us the ideas but are not responsible for solving the problem. 

It is the problem owner/team who will move the ideas for execution.

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