Much like regular payroll and all other human resources costs, workshops are an investment. The investment is even more significant because the business must not only pay the workshop costs, but also deal with diminished productivity during those days or hours.

Yet despite the investments, these events are vital, especially given today’s geographically and/or ethnically diverse workforces. Group interactive meetings get everyone on the same page and give everyone the feeling that they directly contribute to the organization’s success.

But since poorly planned events often have the opposite effect, it’s important to examine some effective requirements workshop techniques before planning the agenda.

Plan Backwards

In most cases, such an approach is a bad idea, but requirements workshops are one of the rare exceptions. Identify the workshop’s objectives, such as better morale or higher productivity, then plan events and discussion topics that move the group toward that goal.

Scheduling Matters

There are some factors to consider here, other than obvious ones like not scheduling a company-wide retreat during a very busy time when productivity is essential or during a very slow time when funds are tight.

Rather than a full day of activities, consider spreading those six or eight hours over two or three days. Of course, if your workforce is remote, the extended schedule may not be an option. Furthermore, build in long lunch breaks to avoid scheduling activities immediately before or after a meal.

Choose the Right Environment

The venue should be easily accessible to everyone, so an office conference room may be the best location. If the event is offsite, the venue should be neither too large nor too small, so an accurate attendance prediction is essential.

Whether the event is onsite or offsite, be sure there are an excess of supplies both for presenters and attendees, because the last thing you want to happen is to run out of either one.

Select the Right Presenters and Attendees

Training presenters should reflect the values of the organization and the makeup of its workforce. They should also be experienced in the areas they are to handle. Typically, all workers need to be at a training event. However, there are times when attendance should be segmented by division or be a representative sample.

Get Everyone Ready

A few days’ notice is probably insufficient to get everyone’s calendar cleared and ready to attend, but notice takes place a few months in advance, excitement and motivation may be almost nonexistent by the time the conference occurs.

Attendees should also have early access to at least some materials, so they are ready to fully participate.

Set Ground Rules

In the best workshops, the leaders are more like facilitators, so it is essential to have some other authoritative source that keeps all participants respectful towards one another. Among other things, that includes respect for one another’s opinions and for one another’s time. A few broad rules that are easy to understand is better than many specific rules that are applicable only in certain situations.

A well-planned training session nearly always produces the best possible results, so do not let this opportunity pass you by.