How do you plan your meeting/workshop agendas? Word / Excel / SessionLab / anything else?

Hey everyone!

Our team at SessionLab is developing a tool to provide an easier way for creating workshop plans and help facilitators to manage their process design work and facilitation knowledge.

One of the very initial reasons why we set out to do this was the frustration we had with Word and Excel sheets, thinking there has to be a more intuitive way to plan a detailed agenda for a facilitated session.

So I am quite interested to learn more about your own experience:

  1. What is your preferred tool when you are preparing your agenda for workshops or training session? What do you like and dislike about the tool you are using?

  2. What’s your opinion about SessionLab? What potential do you see in there?
    (You can see a 2 mins intro about the tool at this video link)

Looking forward to read your opinion/feedback,
/co-founder of SessionLab

BTW, on this forum, if you paste a link in a line on its own, it automatically becomes a preview of the page and in the case of youtube, you can watch the right here:

Anyway, here are some quick reactions just from looking at the video and the website:

  1. I like the idea and I would have loved to use it when I planned the Gothenburg Meeting Science Symposium (I did it in excel)
  2. But we were two facilitators and each of us had our own column in the excel file where we could see at any time what we were supposed to be doing. It looks like sessionlab is a bit limited in that respect… I read:

Nominate co-trainers
Distribute the session plan between yourself and your co-facilitators. Share an overview of who delivers which part.

but the co-trainer who is not delivering a certain part, may still have a task, while the other is “delivering”…

  1. What about breakout groups or parallel sessions (a typical feature of academic conferences and workshops)?
  2. Does the tool have a front-end and a backend, i.e. can I print a simplified agenda for the participants and one for me with all the details?
  3. While I have yet to test how far the free plan will take me, I think your paid plans might be targeted at a somewhat narrow audience, i.e. professional facilitators/trainers or other people who often run meetings, but what do you I do if I organize a workshop once in a year or so? Perhaps you could allow Free Plan users to buy a single event? But maybe I’m missing the point?

Hey Christoph,

Thanks for the questions and for the tip on the video, that’s smart indeed :slight_smile:

I really appreciate the feedback and the questions, that’s actually what I was looking for!

Regarding your question:
2) You can assign each block of your session to one of the facilitators of the session, but besides that, you can freely record information in any field in the structure we have. (The main planner interface has two main text columns for each block. They are labelled as Description and Additional information, but you can for example just use one of the columns for yourself, and the other one for your co-facilitator. Nonetheless, in Excel for sure you can have more flexibility with setting up your own template, so there are cases when that suits better.)

  1. Thanks for the suggestion on breakout groups, it’s actually on our roadmap for 2018 :slight_smile:

  2. There are different printout templates, including one with all the details, and some with less information (e.g. just with the block titles, timing and short description), and some of our users use it to create printouts for participants vs. printouts for themselves as facilitators. But I think there might be room for improvement, depending what you’d need exactly.

  3. It’s an interesting point regarding an event/session-based pricing, it’s something might be worthy to explore further in the future. Indeed, the paid plans are mostly targeted for people who regularly run workshops / training / design sessions - and in that scheme, the people who need the extra features beyond the free plan (collaboration, branding, multi-day agendas, Word export) usually buy a one or two months subscription if they only need it for an event.
    But I do see a point why it can be useful to offer the extra features on an event basis.

You are certainly more than welcome to try SessionLab yourself, and I’d love to hear if you have further feedback!