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More slides, less talk?

In the past couple of years my role allowed me to run almost 500 workshops to just over 8000 people. They have been a combination of virtual and in person (virtual sessions make up about 85% of those totals).

The topics covered a wide range of leadership skills including how to coach, psychological safety, leading a team, resilience, hybrid working and unconscious bias to name but a few.

Almost every session included formal presentation of a skill or skills, model or framework, time for large group Q&A, small group practice and large group debrief.

And over the course of all those sessions I collected and collated participant feedback, reviewed what was working and what was not and, reflected on how to improve after every session. And there were so many insights that are obvious:

  • know your content well

  • have a good set up (monitor, camera, headset, lighting etc.)

  • stay hydrated

  • get plenty of rest between sessions

  • have a back up plan (if Zoom goes down or the projector fails)

but the two observations that stand out are so glaringly obvious I'm amazed more designers don't include them in their planning. You see in the whole of 2020-2022, not one participant asked for more slides. Not. A. Single. One.

The other? No single participant ever said there was too much discussion in groups.

So when you are planning a session - be it a boot camp or kick off, a white paper launch or a skill builder, ask yourself; How can you hone the content down as best you can? And always ask, are participants given enough opportunity to learn with and from one another?

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