Workshops to discover what matters and decide what the project will do
The outlines below show how the Four Questions and Four Zones framework can be used with a group to develop your project. They take a group of people through the stages Discover what matters and Decide what the project will do:
Be clear about
Agree what issue your community group wants to tackle
Decide the specific changes your community group seeks
Discover what matters:
Find out what people feel and think about the change
Find out what might help or hinder them to make the change
Work out who could help develop and deliver the project
Decide what the project will do:
Identify possible activities
Work out how other people and organisations could help
Decide the project's main activities and partners to cover all Four Zones
Develop clear, consistent messages:
Communicate to reinforce the issues that are helpful to the change
Ensure every aspect of your project supports the change
Support staff and volunteers and engage with partner organisations
Feel free to adapt these suggestions or to integrate the Four Questions and Four Zones framework into your own approach. The workshops could be adapted for different circumstances, perhaps for a session with partner organisations. Each workshop can be run in two hours.
Tips for running a workshop
Make people feel welcome with tea, coffee and cake on arrival!
A good layout for 8-12 people is sit around a large table so everyone can see each other clearly. Try and arrange things so the workshop leader(s) can also sit at the table when they don't need to be standing up to write on the flip chart. This helps the workshop feel more like a conversation where everyone can speak freely.
With more than 12 people, arranging the room 'cabaret style' with 4-5 people around a number of smaller tables works well. Here the workshop leaders will normally have to stand separately from the people at the tables in order for everyone to hear them. In this case, you may need to adapt the structure below slightly.
You will need:
The workshop leader should be familiar with this guide and the structure of the workshop. It can be useful to have two people: one to lead the workshop and one to write up the flip charts, hand out materials etc, keep an eye on the time and remind the other if anything has been missed.
The purpose of the workshop is to gather the views of the participants, so it's important that the workshop leader doesn't influence people or only 'hear what they want to hear'. When writing what people say on the flip chart, take care to use their own words as much as possible; ask them to summarise their point if necessary. If you alter their words to make them clearer, make sure they are happy with what you have done.
Some people may be quiet during the workshop, they may feel they don't have anything to add to what has already been said, or they may feel shy about speaking up. It's important to make sure everyone who wants to contribute can do so; the discussions in pairs or threes below make this easier. When the whole group is invited to contribute a good way to give quieter people an opening is to ask, "Does anyone who hasn't spoken about [this topic] have anything they'd like to add?" This avoids putting anyone on the spot by asking them by name to contribute which can feel uncomfortable.