Inspirational Series

7 actionable workshop ideas from a goal-mapping training

By 11/06/2018 September 1st, 2019 No Comments

Welcome to the Inspirational Series!

Highly actionable creativity tools and training best-practices based on various events that I either loved or loathed. Innovation is one part imitation, so lets copy what works for other facilitators while we elegantly avoid their mistakes.

Quick win I.

Have an “Inspiration Poster” at your training where people can share their favorite books & movies with the group related to the training’s topic. Thus, your participants feel valued and you will have a list of extra resources after a few trainings.

Read further for tips on:

  • Tips on how to start your workshop well
  • How to frame frustration
  • Tips to energize participants
  • +2 workshop activities to spice up your events

In the spotlight today is … Drumroll … A Goal Mapping Training with the aim to teach people about setting goals to change their lives for the better. 

Can goal setting be sexy?

People constantly set targets in their work, but do they set good goals for their personal life? Since, half of the self-development books drone about people skipping on planning their life, not necessarily… The goal mapping training in focus now aimed to teach a practical toolbox for setting goals and reaching them. It also gave a unique flavor to the event that our trainer was a world champion sportswoman, so she really knows her way around how to create breakthrough results. 

Crash the boundaries of innovation

So let’s see which parts of the training inspired me. Feel free to take them, experiment with them and make your events more awesome!

A preemptive strike against confusion!

Let me introduce myself

First, introduce the plan of your training, only then do an introduction of yourself.

The training started with the trainer lengthily introducing herself. As the minutes passed and the life stories piled up, I felt my eyelids getting heavier and heavier. 10 minutes into the training and I still did know what will we do for the rest of the day. What woke me up at once was when she told us how she became a world champion. 

When I facilitate workshops, I like to present the goals and agenda before I introduce myself. I do this because the participants came to the workshop with a goal; such as solving a problem or learning a skill. Show the participants how they are going to reach their goal through your workshop, then spend some time on introducing yourself. If you are not a superhero – an Albert Einstein or Chuck Norris – then people will most likely care more about the process they are going through, than they care about getting to know you.

BUT, after having introduced the agenda, introduce yourself too.

I like to tell two main things about myself in the intro. Firstly, my background in facilitation and leading creative teamwork. I speak about this because it is one of the main reasons why participants trust me leading them through the workshop process.

Secondly, I like to share a personal story which is easy to relate to. Like, I am somewhat of a geek and I led an epic board gaming session during the weekend.  By introducing yourself like this, people will trust that you know what you are doing and they are more patient/empathetic with minor confusions during the workshop and you have more space to maneuver the process back to the right direction.

Keep the intro short

Aim to keep the introduction of the event concise.

Sitting at the goal-mapping training, I felt that the training introduction was a bit too long for my taste.

I have my “Ultimate Workshop Introduction Formula”, which is a comprehensive checklist & process for introducing the most important information when starting a event. I like to use it because giving relevant information and properly framing the workshop makes my facilitation work much easier. Simply, because I answer the most often asked questions at the intro, even before they would emerge. But!

A good workshop intro is a balance between giving enough information in the least amount of the valuable workshop time.

Even though a through workshop introduction is super important to avoid confusion, if the participants just sit around and listen to it like in elementary school, then they will be bored. Keep your intro crisp, or if it is lengthy, mix participant interaction in it.

If you are interested, I might write about my “Ultimate Workshop Introduction Formula” in greater depth. Let me know in the comments.

Before a lunch break sum up what happened so far,

And add what will happen after the break. You already introduced the workshop agenda at the workshop’s start and now you recap it before people run away to fill their bellies. I promise you, after lunch your participants will be ready for the launch…

I also like to do a quick energizer after meal time to get the creative juices flowing. I really liked the one from the goal-mapping training! Feel free to try it, it is in the end of the blog post.

How to frame frustration from the start

It's hard to get out of the comfort zone

Tell participants that some confusion is part of the process and it is entirely natural.

And it is true! Some confusion and even minor frustration is ok, but be prepared to handle it. For example at some creative workshops of mine, I use games to take people out of their usual thinking patterns. Such exercises are good tools to come up with out-of-the box ideas, at the same time it can be unfamiliar for people to see things from a different perspective. So I suggest to frame this before such exercises.

At the goal mapping training, I really liked how the trainer went ahead of potential issues and framed confusion right at the introduction:

– “During the day, sometimes you might feel challenged… This is totally fine and natural. This is how people develop, by stepping out of your comfort zone.”

If you are doing exercises that might really prove to be overwhelming for some people, you can also add something on these lines: 

“People develop when they step out of their comfort zone, and at the same time, I ask you to pay attention to yourself. If you would experience that an exercise is too too challenging emotionally, you can always say that you want to stop. Please, pay attention to yourself and take care of yourself.”

Tips to keep your people energized

Play music for the co-creation teamwork sessions.

I liked how the trainer put on some retro music tracks when we had a longer co-creation / team working session. Music lightened the mood and people noticed that the time is up when the trainer turned down the music. Imagine… drawing your vision board while listening to the Eye of the tiger! Instant energy! 

Two workshop exercises to try

1. Show the power of thoughts with this game in 5 minutes.

At this specific goal-mapping training there was a nice magic trick to show the power of the mind. It can give a bit of extra motivation to the participants to show how powerful the influence of their mind on their body. (It is good if you have a tiny bit of experience in guiding meditation to lead this game)

When you facilitate this, every participant is sitting with closed eyes. You lead a short visualization for them to remember an unpleasant experience, and then the “best day of their life”.  Participants can compare how they feel during the two visualizations. Spend one minute for each memory. After the visualizations give some time for the participants to check-in with their feelings. Optimally, they felt very different when recalling their good or bad memories. Hint: keep the negative memory light, like the experience of an annoying mosquito, stubbed toe, etc. You don’t want to lead people to relive the worst day of their life, do you??

(I wonder if the same effect can be achieved faster, and without recalling a negative state of mind… Lets have participants remember drinking a cold, juicy lemonade. If you do the visualization right, they will have water in their mouth. I will try this next time.)

2. A quick and easy energizer

I really liked this game. Quick, easy to lead and gets participants a little bit physical. Organised groups of three-four people standing in circles. Everyone has their left index finger pointing downwards and their right palm open facing upwards. They point with their left index finger into the palm of their neighbor while somebody points into their right palm. The game goes like this: when the facilitator says NOW, then everybody has to catch the index finger pointing in their palm and avoid getting their index finger caught. Instant energy in 5 minutes, synchronizes the two brain hemispheres and brings out your playful side.

Lets sum up the best workshop ideas that you can try in your next training:

  • Use an “Inspiration Poster” to collect and share recommended books & movies.
  • Give your workshop a good start by keeping the opening speech short and introducing the workshop’s goals & agenda before introducing yourself.
  • Manage expectations by preparing participants that some exercises aim to be challenging and it is part of the process.
  • Experiment with using music for teamwork exercises.
  • Two workshop exercises to energize people and demonstrate the power of thoughts.

Thank you for reading my blog post! When I write, I want to prioritize topics that are the most helpful for you. Please, tell me in the comments, which tips you want to read more about? 🙂

Innovatively yours,



Author Viktor

Hi, I am Viktor and I am here to share my experiences on creating innovative ideas through guiding fun and effective teamwork. I am a workshop facilitator, trainer, and an overall innovation geek. Let me share with you how to spark creativity and innovation!

More posts by Viktor

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