Every year I get to facilitate strategy sessions, planning days, advisory panels, corporate partner workshops and staff days for a diverse range of organisations.
At the end of each workshop I make a note of my key learning to take forward to the next. One observation and key learning is the need to keep presentations to an absolute minimum in these sessions to make them effective.
I am sharing this learning with you so that you can make the most of the time when you get together with your colleagues and partners.
Keep presentations to an absolute minimum
One of the key elements of a successful strategy day is preparation and as part of preparation I guide my clients on how best to structure their sessions to achieve the outcomes they want.
Too often I find organisations wanting to pack the day with presentations leaving little time for talking to one another which is the real benefit of being together in a room.
The benefit of being together is the opportunity to talk with one another
Often I find myself having to push back and advise clients that if they want to make the most of time together then they should keep presentations to an absolute minimum.
Starting the day with a 45 minute presentation from one person followed by a 45 minute presentation from another person before the morning coffee break is a wasted opportunity.
In the first hour and a half using structured facilitated processes you should have achieved so much more. You should have started to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing your organisation and begun to explore solutions and strategies; leaving people inspired by what has been achieved in the opening session and looking forward to the rest of the day.
People should head to morning coffee break feeling inspired and that they have achieved much already, not feeling that the main event is yet to start
By all means start the first session with a stirring ‘view from the bridge’ from the CEO about what has been achieved to date, plans for the future and the importance of getting together, but after that you should head straight into maximsing the opportunity of being together – discussion.
Even more problematic than the two 45 minute presentation scenario is when a whole series of five minute presentations are planned from different team members. I guarantee that some of the people will not stick to the time limit and you will run over the allocated time eating in to the most important time of all, discussion time.
So what is the solution?
First, send presentations around before hand for the participants as pre reading stressing the importance of reading it before the day, making reference to the information in the opening.
Secondly, develop a robust session plan and agenda that allows you to get to the key issues of the day straight away.
You have gone to trouble (time and cost) of bringing everyone together, don’t waste it!
If you are planning a strategy day, planning day, corporate partner workshop, organsiational day or advisory panel, feel free to contact me to discuss how to maximise your time together with colleagues and partners.
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