你有没有参加过一个完全浪费时间的研讨会?也许目标尚不清楚,活动似乎毫无意义,或者它只是没有任何成就。或者,你有没有被要求过facilitate a workshopyou felt was unnecessary? Perhaps you felt like you were arbitrarily filling in the hours as you structured the agenda.


Understanding the differences between workshops and meetings can save everybody’s time, make the most of group collaboration, and avoid creating a bad reputation for workshops.

This article compares distinguishing characteristics for workshops and meetings, including purpose, scope, structure, and the amount of preparation required for each.

An infographic comparing the differences in meeting and workshop purposes, scope, length, structure and preparation
UX Workshops vs. Meetings: Meetings are for people to share information. Workshops are for solving a problem. Purpose, scope, length, structure, and preparation differ for each.

Purpose and Scope

Meetings are a way for people to exchange information. (Think: status updates or general knowledge sharing.) In comparison, workshops are for solving problems, with a concentrated time dedicated to idea generation and hands-on activities that allow groups to achieve an actionable, predefined goal. Simply put, meetings are where things get discussed. Workshops are where things get done.

Because of this difference, meetings are best for shallow coverage of many topics, while workshops are best for deep, focused coverage of an issue.

什么时候Should I Have a Meeting?

Meeting-appropriate scenarios are those where the intention of the attendees is to create a dedicated time to disburse and receive information. These discussions could cover several topics, and decisions or action items don’t necessarily have to be defined or acted upon during the same gathering. Common situations where会晤are appropriate include:

  • Project kickoff:An initial gathering of team members who are converging to work on a project together, where key information such as project briefs and roles are discussed
  • Standup:A quick (typically 15-minutes) daily, literal standup of a crossfunctional team to share updates on progress and obstacles across workstreams
  • 回顾一下:经常发生的讨论,队伍反思他们如何共同努力,并考虑如何改善流程
  • One-on-one:Dedicated time for leads or managers to meet with a direct report to discuss projects,personal growth和发展机会
  • Leadership sync: Crossfunctional leads over several subteams gathering to discuss progress, learnings, and outstanding action items
  • UX / Design-Team会议:UX or design team members coming together to share work, knowledge and sources of inspiration
  • Design review:Design team members presenting progress and receiving feedback on a design

什么时候Should I Have a Workshop?

Situations that require input and consensus from diverse groups or that would benefit from a sense of shared ownership are appropriate for a collaborative, hands-on workshop format. We’ve previously written about5 common scenarios for UX workshops, including:

  • 发现研讨会:Team members and key knowledge holders converge to understand the current state and build consensus for milestones and plans for an upcoming project.
  • Empathy workshops:Designers, researchers and other stakeholders create a shared understanding of user needs before designing a solution.
  • Design workshops:Crossdisciplinary team members gather to rapidly generate and discuss a wide set of ideas from various perspectives.
  • Prioritization workshops:团队成员和其他关键决策者来gether to decide which items are most important and prioritize them.
  • Critique workshops:角色集成到设计过程协作分析和改进设计,以便它符合其目标。



Because the foundational purposes for workshops and meetings differ, it makes sense that the structure of each should also differ. Often, meetings are more passive than workshops — attendees spend most of the time speaking or listening — while workshops encourage active participation in activities such assketching,brainstorming, or artifact creation to organize and capture group progress. However, hands-on activities certainly do not need to be reserved only for workshops; in meetings they can help participants stay engaged, break out of routine ways of thinking, or encourage reserved personalities to contribute to the conversation.


Workshops often go through a series of分歧和融合序列。在分歧活动期间,团队成员产生许多想法或产生与手头主题相关的大量贡献。研讨会促进者可以利用许多类型的活动来实现这一目标,包括timed cycles of sketching, brainstorming on sticky notes, or silent idea generation through brainwriting.

Divergent activities are followed by convergent activities, where groups identify and make sense of the patterns and themes within the generated ideas and inputs, and then work to prioritize ideas that are most feasible or have the highest potential for them. Methods such as亲和力图andforced ranking在这个阶段是合适的。

Meetings Have Structure, Too


Even routinely occurring meetings such as standup and one-on-one meetings benefit from structure. One effective approach to introduce a structure flexible enough to accommodate changing discussion items over time is to provide a short list of open-ended questions to contributors before the meeting.

For example, traditional daily standups use a series of questions to ensure that dialogue stays on track. Participants might limit contributions by answering only:

  • 你昨天完成了什么?
  • What are you working on today?
  • What obstacles are in your way?

In another example, a manager might ask a direct report to prepare an agenda for recurring one-on-one meetings, structured within the framework of a set of questions such as these:

  • How’s your happiness?
  • 您需要在哪里支持?
  • What’s exciting for you, or what aspirations do you have right now?
  • 你对我有任何反馈吗?


Planning and Preparation

Planning a meeting certainly requires preparation: there may be presentation slides to create, an agenda or meeting outline to draft, and, for nonroutine meetings, you may even have to do a little campaigning so that invitees will show up.

But the preparation required for most meetings pales in comparison to the preparation and planning required for workshops. Workshops are longer in duration and have increased complexities such as hands-on activities that need to be planned and run through,tangible materialsand tools to gather, and additional buy-in to build with workshop supporters and attendees about the purpose of the workshop and the importance of their attendance.

One of the most time-consuming preparation activities for workshops, as compared with meetings, is designing the workshop and capturing the structure in a formalized, detailed agenda.

什么时候creating a workshop agenda, begin with a clear goal and work backwards to develop your sequence of activities, rather than jumping straight into listing out all the methods you want to incorporate. Consider first filling out a workshop brief such as the one below to capture the workshop objective, key questions you need to answer, ideal attendees and environment, and your definition of success.

A screenshot of a workshop brief template, with areas for writing in workshop goals, attendees, and success metrics
An example模板for a workshop brief to help workshop facilitators capture key objectives and goals.

The following checklists for meeting and workshop preparation aren’t comprehensive, but they provide a sense of the differences in required preparation for each gathering. Use them as a starting place when considering how much preparation and planning time will be required for your next workshop and whether you can realistically plan and deliver a useful workshop within your timeline.

检查表:Preparing for Meetings vs. Workshops

Meeting Preparation



  • Identify and document the purpose of the meeting.
  • 识别并记录研讨会的目的。
  • Complete a workshop brief to ensure scenario at hand is appropriate for a workshop.


  • Identify and invite relevant attendees via email.
  • Identify attendees who will be able to provide the information needed during the workshop. Ensure you have both knowledge holders and decision makers represented.
  • Discuss the workshop purpose and the relevance of each person’s attendance with each attendee in person, if possible, before inviting attendees.
  • 邀请与会者并确认出席。表现出色!


  • Create a list of discussion topics or a meeting outline to provide to attendees. (Longer, broader meetings may require assigning time limits to each topic.)
  • Identify discussions or activities that align to your workshop goals and create a draft sequence of how activities will string together (e.g., will the outputs of one activity be used as inputs for the next?).
  • Plan how much time to allot to introduce, run, and debrief each exercise. (Consider doing a mock run-through for each.)
  • 创建一个正式的议程,与团队传播。
  • 与主要利益相关者或COFACILITATORS以议程为准,并确保支持所包含的活动。
  • Create a detailed execution document listing additional details for yourself (e.g., materials needed and ideal timing for each activity).


  • Book the physical or digital meeting space.
  • Ensure technical equipment (e.g., projector, phone, etc.) is properly functioning ahead of time.
  • Book the physical or digital meeting space.
  • Ensure technical equipment (e.g., projector, phone, etc.) is properly functioning ahead of time.
  • 考虑到物理空间如何支持您的研讨会目标(例如,在经常使用的会议室的研讨会上表明了形式;非石头空间或创意空间设定了不同的期望)。
  • Ensure there is enough floor space for physical activities and wall space for posting up group artifacts.


  • 如有必要,创建演示幻灯片。
  • Create handouts, if necessary.
  • Create workshop slides to help participants maintain a sense of place during the workshop and provide instructions and visual references for each activity.
  • Create handouts, if necessary.
  • Print the previously circulated, finalized agenda for each attendee.
  • Gather and organize tangible materials and tools needed for each activity.


  • Follow up via email to share minutes or meeting notes and key decisions made.
  • 注意行动项目和负责任各方。
  • Create a synthesis of key insights, goals accomplished, and decisions made.
  • 注意行动项目和负责任各方。
  • Capture and include photographs of in-the-moment collaboration and activity outputs.
  • 为参加者创建并发送评估表,以评估研讨会的成功。
  • 创建和填写自我评估和反思表,以注意下次不同的优化领域。
  • Now relax. You did great!


It’s a useful activity to sit down with relevant team members and explicitly define the differences between meetings and workshops for your own group or organization.


  • Purpose and scope
  • Typical session length
  • Internal cost to produce
  • Cost to clients (if working at an agency, consultancy, or as a freelancer)
  • Materials required
  • Roles required
  • 准备准备
  • Post-session activities required

You’ll help your team develop a shared language and a shared understanding that prevents people from flippantly suggesting or calling for workshops without fully understanding the level of commitment and thoughtful planning that effective workshops require.