10 Feb 50 Shades of Post It Notes

Participant harmony and happiness is undoubtedly an important ingredient for a successful workshop, but setting up and running workshops might not be something you do every day.

So we’ve taken the opportunity this Valentine’s Day to share some tips on building the participant behaviours that will enable a positive and productive workshop.

Our guidance comes from Triniti’s considerable experience in bringing people together for live project progress and building team capability. It is based on a deep understanding of how our brains work and the four things that matter for a positive experience:


Our top tips for finding some love in your next workshop include:

  1. Prime participants for productivity and positivity. As a facilitator being ready to warmly greet your guests and not anxiously searching for HDMI socket or two is, of course, important. But motivation should start before arrival via briefings, agendas and preparatory work. In walking down the corridor to a recent idea generation workshop I encountered a sequence of different posters announcing the workshop, highlighting quotes on the project’s strategic importance and finally thanking me in advance for my generous donation of expertise and ideas. Before seeing the first slide I was primed for hard work!
  2. Quickly reduce the behavioural barriers to effective participation.Acknowledge contributions already made and provide an early opportunity for everyone to provide input. Getting people over the hurdle of their first contribution is scripting the behaviour you need for later more challenging tasks or topics.
  3. Widen and strengthen ownership of direction and content. We value more what we have personally created or own. The presenting of draft or ‘straw-man’ material enables collective shaping with focus. A great recent example of quickly establishing ownership was a market clustering exercise for strategy workshop. Participants refined the clustering criteria and then allocated their market to the best fit revised cluster map. They owned the clustering and their cluster teams for the remainder of the workshop.
  4. Embrace unexpected events, responses and disruptions. Surprising interventions (and your reaction) are more likely to be remembered so embrace them to extract the positives. We tend to remember most the things that disrupt or don’t fit the anticipated experience. Be flexible and responsive!
  5. End the session on a high. Participants’ perception of the workshop is biased to how it concludes. Ensuring a positive and memorable outcome will increase enthusiasm for progressing next steps. In a recent workshop before concluding with objective setting we shared a film with a montage of recent project successes which prompted attendees to applaud those in the room that were involved. Success felt more achievable and the urgency for action greater.
  6. Increase the commitment to actions. It has been shown that commitments become stronger when the costs or consequences of no action increases or if publicly expressed. Seeking verbal commitments to captured next steps and emphasizing losses associated with slow or incomplete action therefore makes sense.

So good luck in creating connections in your next workshop and enjoy Valentine’s day.  Of course, if team harmony and happiness looks very difficult Triniti is here to help.

Triniti Marketing is a consultancy specialising in Behaviour Change Marketing (BCM). We use the latest findings in Marketing Science and Behavioural Economics to understand how people make decisions, to help our clients win more customers. If you have a Behaviour Change Challenge you’d like to talk about please get in touch with us at: info@triniti-m.com