There’s no doubt about the fact that workshops are – now more than ever – a key part of the professional landscape, and workshop activities have proven time and time again to be a brilliant way to boost engagement, connectivity, creativity, and a sense of dynamism. With the right corporate workshop ideas, the right team attitude, and the right approach to getting workshops started, it’s surprisingly easy to facilitate openness of communication, bright ideas, and a kind of free-flowing atmosphere that leads to fantastic results.
However, despite the fact that workshops can be so enormously effective, I’m sure each and every one of us has found ourselves nodding off at the back of a corporate workshop or seminar, wondering how on earth the subject matter we’re all so passionate about could end up being so boring.
It’s a sad fact that all too often, workshop leaders forget that great teaching is a two-way process; it’s all about creating a safe and comfortable space where ice is easily broken, and ideas can fly around the room waiting to be caught and explored.
There are loads of fantastic ways with which corporate workshops can be made more effective and dynamic. Here at Ultimate Experience, we’ve spent years in this industry and have seen the full spectrum of workshop activities and concepts, from the zippy, exciting, and effective, to the crushingly dull and disappointing.
Over that time, we’ve picked up more than our fair share of tips and tricks to make your workshop activities really pop… and as ever, we’re more than happy to share a few of them with you. Read on to find out more!
Factors to Bear In Mind During Your Corporate Workshops
Keep It Relevant
You want to know the best way to completely crush engagement and create a negative, non-creative atmosphere in a workshop? Failure to keep things relevant and to the point. Your workshop attendees are industry professionals, looking to boost their knowledge and explore new ideas. Going off the subject, disappearing down long tangents, and including pointless info is sure to turn people off like nothing else.
It’s a Sprint, Not a Marathon
Your workshop attendees might be the most dedicated events professionals in the world… but that doesn’t make them superhumans. People are at their most effective, creative, and dynamic in short bursts, so don’t make your workshop go on for hour after hour after hour. Short, snappy, and fast paced is the order of the day. Find some top tips for workshop length here.
Accommodate Different Learning Methods
Great teachers and workshop leaders always keep in mind that different people learn in different ways. Make sure your workshop reflects this by having some group discussion, some individual presentation, some games and kinesthetic activities, and some audiovisual content, too.
It might seem like a small thing, but engagement can be massively boosted simply by offering some recognition and reward for participation. A simple certificate at the end of the workshop which can go in somebody’s CV or permanent record can make all the difference. Failing that, a free drink at the local pub is never unappreciated.
Every great workshop requires some activities and games to get things moving. They can be simple or complex, take a couple of minutes or much longer, and can involve individuals or the whole group… but the important thing is that they effectively break the ice, and facilitate open thinking and the sharing of ideas. Here are some of our favourite corporate workshop activities for you to try!
Share Pecha Kuchas
No, it’s not the latest trendy tea from Argentina. Pecha Kucha is a presentation activity which has been proven to quickly build trust among a team, and open people up to sharing their thoughts, ideas, and inspirations without inhibition or fear.
It essentially involves a very quick 10-slide presentation, based around the out-of-office life of a select few team members. Ask two or three of your workshop attendees to pick out ten of their favourite personal photos (holiday snaps, shots of home life, family members etc), which will be shown for 10 seconds each on a projector screen.
They have to prepare a fast-paced, light-hearted presentation to the group, before moving on to the start of the workshop itself.
Sharing Future Plans and Dreams
Great workshops always kick off with a positive start. This brief activity is all about focusing on goals and ambitions, dreams and aspirations, and is sure to spread plenty smiles and tap into the emotional lives of your attendees.
Simply ask your attendees to write a few notes on their ‘best possible future’ for three years from now. This can be either a professional ambition, a personal one, or both. You can then either ask them to present their own notes, or speak to the person next to them in order to present the plans of their partner.
The Walking One-to-One
All too many workshops involve being shut into a function room, where attendees have to sit around those grey tables under artificial light. Try something completely different, and get your group to go for a walk outside in pairs for 10 minutes or so – you’d be amazed at how much more energy they’ll bring back into the room.
This workshop activity works best when you pair up your team, and give them a specific set of questions or problems to answer as they take their stroll. Allow them to follow a route, or walk freely for a set amount of time, and get to know each other as they focus on the questions at hand.
Two Truths and a Lie
This classic panel show game has long since been popular with teachers and workshop leaders, as it involves plenty of laughter alongside insights into the personal lives of the attendees.
A select few of the workshop attendees will be instructed to write three sentences about their personal or professional lives. Two of these statements must be completely true, one of them must be a blazing lie. The rest of the group must ask the presenter questions about their statements, and then take a vote on which they think is the lie.
The Robot Game
This activity is all about the importance of clarity of instruction, logical ordering, and careful listening. It has been used in classrooms and workshop centres across the globe for decades, and manages to be a huge amount of fun while also having a powerful point behind it.
Sit your attendees back to back, so they are not able to see each other, but can hear each other clearly when they speak. Give one member of each pair a drawing – the classic involves a picture of a ‘robot’ made up of simple shapes and lines, but you can really do anything you like.
That individual must then carefully describe their drawing, and instruct their partner how to recreate the picture on another piece of paper. You can even give a prize for the most accurate copy created!
Just A Minute
This classic radio game is all another one which is all about clarity of speech and careful listening, but also has the added bonus of being based upon the idea of thinking carefully about every single thing you say. Don’t make it too serious, though – the game is best when it’s light-hearted and fun!
Play this game by coming up with a list of ‘secret subjects’ which can be pulled from a hat. Split your group into two teams, and ask one member of the first team to choose their subject.
They must try to give an improvised presentation of exactly one minute on their subject without hesitating, repeating any words or phrases, or deviating from the subject itself. Should they make a mistake, the subject is passed to the opposing team, and the person speaking at the end of one minute wins a point.
I Went To The Woods and I Saw…
It’s amazing how many drinking games are perfect for team-building and workshop activities. This is a game of memory and rhythm, and is sure to break the ice faster than a flame-thrower in the freezer aisle.
It involves sitting in a circle, and the first member of the group saying ‘I went to the woods and I saw…’ followed by something beginning with the letter ‘A’ (for example, an alligator, an avocado, or something totally surreal). The person next to them must repeat the mantra, along with the item beginning with ‘A’, and followed by one beginning with ‘B’. The next must provide the ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ items, etc.
Workshop Activities: Easy Ways to Boost Engagement, Effectiveness, and Fun
As we’ve seen, it’s not easy to bring a sense of dynamism and fun to your workshops and corporate teaching sessions – it just involves an ability to think outside the box, and to remain unafraid of having a laugh and injecting a bit of fun into proceedings. The results, as you’ll see, really do speak for themselves.
At Ultimate Experience, we spend all day every day thinking outside the box to present the best ideas for our clients. If you’d like to benefit from our expertise and imagination, we’d love to hear from you, so get in touch today!