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6 things to open your next workshop, meeting or presentation nobody taught you at school

When we communicate, we often rely on unconscious competences in doing this. We float on waves of intuition and when that yields the expected feedback, we are happy. When it doesn't, we blame the others for not having understood our point, don't we?

Whether you are about to write a mail, have a call, an on-line meeting, a live meeting, a presentation or a workshop, the 6 steps below may serve as inspiration to increase your efficiency. I borrow them from my 1 day workshop on Communication. In this blog, I focus on opening meetings, workshops or interactive sessions with people.

1. Purpose

Make every second relevant for all participants. Create curiosity to keep the attention and focus. Have the audience look forward to the moment their topic will be dealt with. Set the mindsets right at the very beginning.

  • "I am happy to see you have all made time in your busy schedules to be here. It shows that what we will be doing matters to you. At what will you see at the end of this meeting, that it has been worth the time spent?" - write down the expected outcomes on a flip chart.

2. your role:

When communicating, you are either the speaker or the listener. When you speak, you can be a trainer, a guide, a coach, a motivator or inspirator. You can be moderator or facilitator. You can choose to be the friend, the parent, the team lead, ...

  • "I will talk to you in the capacity of..... I would like all of you to listen as if you were...."

3. what is important:

Would you like people to learn new things, to share knowledge, to co-create or co-learn, to discuss in a respectful way, ... ?

  • "I have installed a few flip charts in the room and you'll find post-its on every table. After the introduction you'll have the opportunity to draw your ideas and share them. If you feel you already know what I am about to share, feel free to add elements and share your expertise with the others and with me."

4. how will you proceed:

"Death by PowerPoint" is known to all of us. What tools are you going to use? What tools can participants use and do they know?

  • "You will all get hand-outs by e-mail. We'll have a lot of interactive moments to co-create and co-learn. In between I will facilitate and explain some processes. Also keep your smartphone at hand for some games we'll play."

5. what is allowed (and not):

When people feel comfortable and at ease, they are likely to be more engaged. Be clear on the rules and stimulate actions if they are relevant to the meeting

  • "Feel free to get coffee or water at any moment. If you have an urgency to deal with, take it outside the room. If you feel I am repeating things you know, or going too fast, give the 'break' sign and provide feedback (in a polite and respectful way please"

6. the appropriate time and place and environment:

Do you need tables, or is an open circle the better option? Can you meet outside on a sunny day instead of inside the scheduled meeting room? Is e-mail the best 'environment' for the desired communication? Are we more likely to concentrate in the mornings?

  • "I deliberately chose this setting. It may feel fragile, and you will see it encourages collaboration. Later today, we'll be outside for some interactive games. Are you all comfortable with this?"

As said in the introduction, the six steps above are a very brief excerpt of what I share during a full day interactive workshop on effective communication in various situations and settings! If you too, you want to say one of the quotes below, get in touch. We'll set a date and location and take you and your team to the next level and beyond!

  • Yet another inspiring day with the Supplier of Optimism. Thanks!"

  • "Inspiring workshop with a lot of value-add in both my professional and private life. Great Job"

  • "Very inspiring and interesting session"

  • "Training to the point, lot of hands-on and tips and tricks. Trainer is very knowledgeable. A must-do!!!"

  • "A very high score for this interesting and fun training"

  • "Great sunny day, with plenty of useful stuff to process"

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