Workshops are designed to give people practical takeaways, but all too often, there is just too much content to cover. Of course, the easiest solution is to reduce the content, but sometimes the content to be covered is prescribed, such as training employees on new methods and procedures or, covering all the officer duties for a nonprofit organization.
How would you like to create content experts in 20 minutes?
Would you like to learn a workshop technique that takes almost zero preparation time, promotes critical thinking, engages the participants in discussion and meets the goal of getting through content?
The “Create Content Experts in 20 Minutes” technique takes about 20 minutes to complete and involves giving each participant some reading material (not more than about 10 minutes worth of reading). Typically this would be a chapter or two in a book or a section of a manual (or an officer role description).
The chapters in a book can be divided among the participants so that most of the entire book ends up being read (for example if you have 5 people at a table, each person can pick 1 or 2 different chapters). Each participant reads the selected material with a highlighter and picks out the 5 most interesting or important pieces of information.
After the reading time is over, the participants share their top 5 items with others in a small group (usually in groups of 4 or 5). Then, the small group picks the top 5 out of all the items shared. After all groups have gotten to the top 5 list, a spokesperson for each group shares the top 5 with the entire group.
The technique can be approached in a few ways:
- Using Best Sellers on Your Topic: This is easiest for a small group. You could probably raid your own library and bring a few books. You will need one per participant. Each participant picks out a chapter that seems most interesting to them.
- Using YOUR Book: Give every participant the same book (preferably YOUR book that you have pre-sold for use in the workshop) and divide the chapters among all so that the entire book is read.
- Using Procedure manuals or Role Descriptions: Divide the sections so that each section is read by one or more people in the group. You could even divide the group so that each table has one section to read and discuss as a small group before sharing with the larger group.
In a scenario for officer training, using a Toastmasters club as an example, let’s say a trainer wants to train all 7 officers during a club meeting, which also includes non-officer members. Rather than having the trainer talk about each role, this task is much easier and more engaging using the “Create Content Experts in 20 Minutes” approach.
The officer descriptions can be printed out and distributed so that each person gets one officer role description (making sure the actual officers get their own role description). Each person can read and highlight the role they received and then get in a group with others who may have received the same role description. This small group can then select 5 most important duties. One person from each small group can share with the larger group the 5 top most important duties. That way all of the officers (and the non-officers as well), hear the office duty highlights and the process of individual reading, thought and then small group discussion helps with information retention. If time allows, a question and answer session can be held and possible scenarios discussed.
In addition to being an effective and engaging way to get through a lot of content, participants get a sense of accomplishment from helping contribute to the other participants’ knowledge.
Create content experts in 20 minutes!