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With the rising popularity of UX topic I decided to share with you some rules how to conduct UX/design thinking workshops the best way possible. You might know some of them, but hopefully you will be able to find something new here as well.

So let’s get to it – my top-5 rules for successful UX workshop.

  1. Do not interrupt

So, first of all, when the client shares something with you do not interrupt him. Even if you think that he is talking about something non-important, don’t do it, since you might be wrong. Or if it’s really non-important, by not interrupting him and listening closely you will build some confidence and trust between yourself and him. So try to let the client speak as long as possible. Sure sometimes you just don’t have enough time for listening everything non-important or the client might be talking forever if you don’t stop him, but then my advise is to be gentle and to try to move the subject as slowly as possible.

  1. Do not suggest any ready decisions

You are here to listen to the client, not to sell any solution. Even if you think that you already know what the client needs, don’t let yourself propose it. You will be able to show this solution to him next time you’ll meet, if you won’t change your mind. Because if you present your solution to the client now, you might stop his fantasy running wild and that exactly what we have to avoid. Also, you shouldn’t agree or disagree with clients ideas. You actually shouldn’t even say anything like “yeah, I think that’s quite interesting” or “no, I don’t think it’s possible”, because it might stop the client from bringing new ideas. We need our clients to think as widely as possible and leave all the worries about possibilities, visual representations and so on to us. So keep your ideas and opinions to yourself and just listen. Yeah, I know that this is hard!

  1. Observe

Not everybody is able to tell complete stranger (as you are for a client for now) all his worries and concerns. Also sometimes people don’t clearly understand their real problems themselves. So sometimes there might be something hidden behind the words client says. That means that you have not only listen to them, but also watch them closely. There was a series on TV called “Lie to me” where the expert solved different crimes by watching suspects’ reactions to his words and actions. You have to be like him – solve the client by observing him. Notice when he gets nervous, or smiles, or whatever. It might help you to understand what really bothers him and find the best solution for his problems.

  1. Do not ask hypothetical questions

Yeah, I know. I told you to let the imagination running wild and now I’m saying not to ask hypothetical questions. But there is a difference between fantasizing about what would be great to have and what is really impossible. So don’t let your client to spent time on the unrealistic things. Maybe just for a little, but don’t encourage them by asking hypothetical questions.

  1. Use pen and paper for your notes, not laptop

You might type faster than you handwriting. But do not set a psychological barrier between you and your client. Open laptop is one of the most annoying thing in a meeting, no matter is it a UX workshop or just meeting with colleagues. So just close it and show your clients there is nothing between them and you. And don’t forget to take notes, it’ll help you later quite a lot.

So this is probably it for today. Let me know if that was helpful and please share with me your own hints and must-do’s of how to conduct the perfect UX workshop. Let’s make each other better interviewers!