Planning a workshop template

A series of 1-hour meetings among clients and facilitators to ease the process of workshop design!

Created by Deborah Rim Moiso – SessionLab


When should this session be delivered?

In the blog article “A step-by-step guide to planning a workshop” you can find reflections and inspiration on how to create a new workshop from scratch, from ideation to follow-up. If you are creating a new workshop, chances are you are doing it for a client. During the entire process, you will be checking in with them to learn about their needs, agree on the design, collect feedback, and reflect together after the event.

This template makes that process easier by laying out clearly each step to be covered. It is divided into five parts, each lasting an hour. 

  • Sharing a vision
  • Defining the agenda
  • Refining the agenda
  • Briefing the team
  • Collecting learnings

The first part, Sharing a vision, sets out a model for the first meeting with your client (and/or their team) to collect information about the future workshop. Are there non-negotiable elements (e.g. has the date been set already)? What are the tangible and intangible desired outcomes? You can even download a ready-to-use canvas for this important first meeting!

The second part, Defining the agenda is likely to be… a meeting you have with yourself, if you work alone, or just with your co-facilitator. This is the stage at which you will define your draft agenda, to share with the client before, or at, the next meeting.

The third part, Refining the agenda, is about explaining your proposed design and collecting feedback. This is also an opportunity to share your knowledge about facilitation and explain your choices, helping you and your client grow together.

As the workshop date draws nearer, get ready by briefing the team, host and speakers in the third meeting. Finally, after the event is over, get together once again for a retrospective focused on learning.

The touchpoints detailed in this resource do not cover the entire process of workshop planning. The parts covered by the template are the ones most likely to happen in synchronous meetings.

There are other tasks, such as signing agreements with your client, advertising the workshop, or registering participants, that happen asynchronously, via emails and other digital tools.  All of these steps are described in the accompanying blog post on Workshop Planning.

Who can facilitate it?

The premise for this series of meetings is that you have a workshop to organize and facilitate. If you are not working for a client but have ideated the workshop yourself and cater directly to participants, you can still use this template as an outline for matters you’ll need to clarify as you design.

It is increasingly likely that you will be holding these meetings online, in a virtual meeting space such as Zoom or Teams. A whiteboard or shared document is useful, particularly for the first session, and you can download our ready-to-use canvas to start with!

For the next part of your work, SessionLab can help you design and share your proposed agenda in an engaging and professional way. For the final retrospective, you can use a whiteboard again or a dedicated tool for retros such as Team retro.

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

About the author

Deborah Rim Moiso

Deborah Rim Moiso is an Endorsed Facilitator with the IAF – International Association of Facilitators and the current co-chair of the Italian IAF Chapter. She is also a content writer for SessionLab and a published author of a manual and deck of cards on facilitation available in Italian (Facilitiamoci! Prendersi cura di gruppi e comunità). She has been working with groups since 2009, particularly in the fields of climate activism, innovation in education, and participatory citizenship.

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