When you organise an important workshop, with the best minds from around the organisation, or the industry, you can be forgiven for wanting to get straight into it from the 1st minute. After all, as the person who called the workshop, you are pretty clear on why it has been scheduled, and what you need out of it. And often you are paying for the privilege! So why is it not only worthwhile, but strongly advisable, to take some time up front to allow attendees to check-in?

If you have engaged 3rdView to facilitate, you have recruited someone who is focused holistically on the session, and not driving the group to the ‘required answers’. A 3rdView facilitator is an expert in Customer Experience. And when it comes to workshops, the most important customer experience taking place, is that of the attendee.

We all know from sessions we have attended, that the better our experience, the more valuable our contribution. The more people who contribute positively, the better the outcome overall. When you step back and look at it from the attendees’ perspective, you begin to understand why ‘check-in’ is a non-negotiable for any 3rdView workshop.

So what does a 3rdView check-in entail?

A 3rdView Check-in includes 3 things…

  1. Acknowledging the presence and equal importance of every attendee, including learning and recording their name, and understanding the perspective and expertise they bring
  2. Posing a thought-provoking question about the ‘topic in focus’ which each person has the chance to respond to, so that everyone can hear the views of others in the room
  3. A guarantee that each attendee will have the floor and the opportunity to speak in the first 15-30 minutes of the session, to prove that we are genuinely interested in their contribution

Attendees have been invited because they are subject-matter-experts. They are the ‘go to’ person from their area, and projects always want a piece of their time. Even if there were specific preparation tasks, in all likelihood they are thinking about something else when they walk through the door. If you, as the workshop organiser, want them to add real value, you need to give them a chance to get in the right headspace.

Depending on the type of session, 3rdView may go further to help get people in a different frame of mind, like a quick round of Pictionary before an ideation workshop. At the end of the day, the experience of every attendee is paramount. Check-in sets up the session to extract every ounce of value from every person in the room. A 30-minute investment upfront will maximise the chances of the workshop achieving, and exceeding, its objectives.

To balance out the workshop, a quick check-out at the end is an opportunity to test whether you did indeed deliver a great experience, in addition to great outputs. If you did, attendees will make it a priority to engage and commit to your project, and are more likely to accept your next invitation to contribute. Without this, engaging key people, and building support for your project, just got a lot harder!

I know our clients wouldn’t expect anything less from 3rdView, even though they still sometimes ask “Can we just skip check-in?”. Our answer is always the same: “It’s a critical investment that will set the session up for success”. And while they may not realise it, effectively engaging each and every attendee is massive contributor to the session’s effectiveness. Check-in is a brilliant way to achieve this.