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Establish a workshop rhythm

Meetings tend to favor people who are quick thinkers who like to “think out loud”but everyone doesn’t think in the same way or at the same speed. A “think out loud” meeting can be discouraging to quiet, more introspective types who prefer time to think before they speak, leading them to disengage. To level the playing field, design a rhythm into your meeting that respects all thinking types. One rhythm I like is something I call “solo, group, room.”

  1. Start by giving everyone an individual activity. Give them time to collect their thoughts and write them down or even draw them.
  2. Follow that with a small group activity. You might have people share the results of their solo thinking in pairs or with a small group at their table. In a Zoom call you can do this with breakout rooms.
  3. If you’re working with a larger group, you might have each table share their thinking with the whole “room” (in a Zoom meeting this would be everyone on the call).

You can repeat this rhythm as many times as necessary, depending on the length of the meeting. It’s like giving people space and time to take a breath. It respects the diversity of thinking types you might find in a group, and it’s a great way to keep energy high and flowing during a longer session.

Some variations:

  1. Give people an agenda or something to think about or work on in advance of the meeting.
  2. Break your workshop into several shorter meetings, so people have time to sleep on the ideas and reflect.
  3. Creat opportunities for people to work in parallel. For example, create a space for stickies that are not directly related to the workshop but they might want to follow up on later.