If it seems that workshops are actually well run meetings, that is true to a certain degree. Facilitated workshops and well-run meetings are very similar. The main differences between meetings and workshops are:

Structuring Meetings and Workshops

Differences Between Meetings and Workshops – Structure

Workshops

  • A building method—a way to solve a problem, develop a plan, reach a decision, agree on analytics, design a flow, etc.
  • Having formally defined roles
  • Remaining focused on one issue at a time

Meetings

  • Primarily intended to inform by exchanging information
  • Tending to have informally defined roles
  • Typically covering many issues

The MG Rush Structured Technique Works with Meetings and Workshops Because . . .

  • Assignments combine and finish timely
  • Clear tasks define products and directions.
  • Consensus derived information becomes input to the technique.
  • MG Rush aids analysis by providing methodologies, such as structured analysis and information modeling.
  • Groups make higher quality decisions than the smartest person 
in the group.
  • Ownership is clear.
  • Structured workshops provide well-defined deliverables.
  • The approach is manageable.
  • The group reaches mutual understanding of the business needs and priorities.
  • The participants have well-defined roles.
  • The session leader stimulates participants with a tool kit of visual aids, documentation forms, and group dynamics skills.
  • The workshop structure and group dynamics provide complete and accurate information.

Success for Both Meetings and Workshops

The following are the critical elements necessary for the success of using structure in both meetings and workshops:

  • A well-trained session leader with facilitation skills and technique skills—without which, execution of the workshops and preparation tasks becomes less than adequate, ad hoc, and inconsistent
  • Availability and commitment of proper resources—both people and facilities; with people providing the input and facilities supporting the environment—having less than optimum produces less than optimal results
  • Commitment from all management, thus ensuring availability of the proper resources, personnel, time, and support
  • Proper application of the concepts and structure of the technique, therefore avoiding inconsistent and unpredictable results

Secret Sauce 
Summary of Meetings and Workshops

The secret to leading more effective meetings reminds us to put a CAP on wasted time and energy by embracing three behaviors:

  1. Clear thinking (ie, yields consciousness)
  2. Active listening (ie, yields competence)
  3. Prepared structure (ie, yields confidence)

The effective meeting leader learns to cap waste—to maintain control over direction, environment, and contributions of meeting participants. To be highly effective, requires a servile attitude. Subsequent FAST Weekly Updates will cover HOW TO amplify the three behaviors in detail.

The MG RUSH professional facilitation curriculum focuses on providing methodology that gets thoroughly practiced by each student before the week concludes. Some call this immersion. We call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Become Part of the Solution While You Improve Your Facilitation, Leadership, and Methodology Skills

MG RUSH Professional Facilitation Training provides an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, 40 CDUs from IIBA, and 3.2 CEUs. As a member of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), our Professional Facilitation Training aligns with IAF Certification Principles and fully prepares alumni for their Certified Professional Facilitator designation.

Furthermore, our Professional Facilitation curriculum immerses students in the responsibilities and dynamics of an effective facilitator and methodologist. Because nobody is smarter than everybody, attend an MG RUSH Professional Facilitation, Leadership, and Methodology workshop offered around the world, see MG RUSH for a current schedule.

Additionally, go to the Facilitation Training Store to access our in-house resources. Finally, you will discover numerous annotated agendas, break timers, and templates.

In conclusion, we dare you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Monthly Facilitation blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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3 Comments

    • Thanks Helene,

      While you are sooo.. TRUE, perhaps the optimal would include more participation during meetings as well, rather than passive attendance, unclear deliverables, and unstructured (ie, without agenda) use of time. So many meetings fail to have a beginning, a middle, or an end. Without clear scope, discussions range from the strategic to the operational. And they finish, not when complete, rather when the rime tuns out.

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