For a good workshop, it involves about 10% content and 90% methodological expertise
Tired faces, boredom, and a presentation with over 200 slides…? Not with Serpil Uensal! Edutainment is her key to success: In-depth knowledge and expertise are prerequisites, but so are fun and a good atmosphere. Setting the stage for the people, taking them along for the ride, allowing humor, engaging in passionate discussions. All of these activities contribute towards achieving the goal at hand. However, this is also where the Achilles heel of workshop moderation can be found. If the discussion rounds devolve into small talk that takes on a life of its own and, in the end, nobody knows why they came here in the first place, then the situation becomes dissatisfying for the participants, the moderator, and of course the employer who has to pay for it.
In her workshops for marketing, product management, and business development, Serpil Uensal stimulates discussion at the right points, steps back and gives space when needed, but also takes the helm when the situation calls for it. She always carries her toolbox full of methods along with her. During her workshops, these are just some of the formats she utilizes:
Open World Café:
The “Open World Café” provides space for movement. There are cards with different key words on several tables in the room. The participants wander from one table to the next and write down their own ideas, but also have the opportunity to expand on other people’s ideas. This method is used in order to provide a suitable forum for introverted participants within larger groups. In this format, swarm intelligence is on display front and center. The ideas that have been submitted by all of the participants are presented to the group afterwards and they are invited to discuss them further.
Serpil Uensal also moderates discussions in larger groups and takes care to ensure fairness between the participants. The event can only be successful on the whole when people follow the rules and time-limits for discussion that have been agreed upon in advance. Only participants who are satisfied actually internalize the knowledge and insights and then subsequently implement them.
This method is perfect for discussions in groups of 100 to 200 participants. In the middle of the room, a small circle of chairs is set up. Depending on the number of available chairs (or alternatively, seat cushions), active participants in the discussion come to the middle circle and take a seat. All of the other participants seat themselves outside this small circle of chairs. When new participants want to join the discussion, they can raise their hand proceed to the inner circle of chairs, the fishbowl, replacing one of the other participants. One advantage of this method over a panel discussion is that introverted participants can contribute their ideas more easily when they move into the inner circle.
The participants actively involve themselves in shaping the event by developing the agenda and the content, which emerge in the process. It’s not predetermined who speaks at the beginning. This method is characterized by mass collaboration. The participants contribute their own topics. These are collected and then each participant has the opportunity to present his or her contribution to the whole group. Subsequently, the topics are divided up and assigned to different rooms at the venue, so there are various “topic rooms” that the participants can join. What is special about this method is that the group organizes itself autonomously.
Marketing: Customer Acquisition at the Push of Button
No matter which of these event formats you choose, it’s important that the results are actually implemented afterwards. It’s time to get down to business. In marketing workshops, for example, when exploring whether the company needs a sales funnel to automate the transfer of knowledge to the target group, or, in the best-case scenario, to automate revenue generation with specialized knowledge, then all of the workshop participants have to be wide awake. Small companies are particularly reliant upon their reach and new customer contacts. Using the internet, this knowledge can push its way through to the potential target group.