Third time a charm? Maybe. But sometimes you need more than three attempts to do something right. At least, this is how it works for me while I’m working on improving my workshops.
Today I ran a short workshop based on Christopher Avery’s concept of The Responsibility Process. It was the fifth or sixth time I did it. I’ve been improving it since months and today was the first time that I felt I did it right! 🙂
It Started Small
The previous ones that I ran weren’t bad. On the contrary. The participants seemed to (moderately) enjoy it, and based on the feedback I got, I delivered some value each single time. But every time I felt, I could do much better.
Today the feelings are different. There is still some room for improvement (I hope to get some valuable feedback hints in addition to my own observations), but everything “clicked”.
I keep all the old slides & materials, so I can compare them to the current version. And this is where things get really interesting. I never redesigned this workshop, I never introduced a big change in the overall approach, but now, when I look at the first version, the difference is striking. All these small improvements accumulated over time and together made it so much better. It feels like compound interest, so to say. 🙂
But How Do You Work on Improving Workshop?
First, I try to get feedback from the participants. Not always simple, as giving you feedback is usually not their priority. To increase my chances of getting some valuable feedback I always ask for feedback explicitly at the very end of the training. I also send the survey right after the workshop ends, hoping that people won’t get drawn into the everyday whirlwind yet. 🙂
And BTW. There is another neat trick regarding feedback received after a meeting.
The second thing I do, is I run a kind of retrospective after each workshop I run. I have a simple template with a set of questions that I answer. I focus on things that went well (very important to think about it!), things that I could improve, and some “lessons learned” (e.g. about the time needed for specific activities). And one more thing. I try to introduce the changes immediately afterwards.
Improving Workshops Never Stops
And what next? Well, I hope to introduce a few changes so that the next workshop should be yet another few percent better. Which is all that really counts!