Persona Empathy Workshop

Demonstrate the power of personas and help instill a user research culture in your organisation.

Created by Maxwell Forrest – UX Research Specialist


When should this session be delivered?

This workshop is intended for groups and organizations that are already using or starting to use customer personas and who are trying to extend the understanding and use of personas across an organization. 

In groups or teams without a strong user research culture, it can be extremely useful to share insights on how to use personas and to demonstrate how powerful and effective they can be when guiding product or marketing decisions. You’ll also find that by including participants from across an organization, any solutions or ideas generated are more well rounded and fully featured. 

You may run this with participants in less user-centric parts of the organization, or with whole teams in order to start demonstrating the value and use of personas in a concise, effective way.

The session is short by design – you’ll want as many necessary people to attend as possible so they can begin factoring personas into their day-to-day work.

This workshop is effective in both live and remote formats. Using an online whiteboard makes the collation of materials and learnings easy. Sharing and explaining user profiling data is also effective in a virtual setting, where data and user research can be shared in a simple, organic manner.    

Who can facilitate it?

While any facilitator can lead the Persona Empathy Workshop effectively using the instructions and notes in the template, we recommend that the person responsible for user research and who is likely in charge of any persona-based projects to lead the session. 

Knowing your personas in and out and being able to answer questions on how research is conducted can be vital in ensuring that everyone understands the value of personas. 

If you’re trying to instill a user research culture into a new organization, you might find that key stakeholders from all parts of the organization should attend. Because of the short, swift nature of the workshop, you might even run it several times for different groups. You might find that you are introducing personas specifically to new parts of the organization and so you will likely want to include that team only. 

Just remember that the purpose of the workshop is to instill a user-research culture and help groups understand the value of personas: if certain teams already know and use personas, this workshop may not be something they should attend.


Check out the template details including step-by-step plan with instructions, timings, printable schedule and more

About the author

Maxwell Forrest is a bilingual UX researcher in Tokyo, Japan. He has worked in user experience at some of Japan’s top tech companies, including LINE and Mercari, and is currently the UX research lead at NewsPicks, Japan’s top economic news app. He also works with international companies to help them understand Japanese users and localize their products to the Japanese market.
The Japan Manager for the Interaction Design Foundation, Maxwell regularly holds UX workshops and study groups in Tokyo.