Subject Matter Expert Workshop Template


  • Duration: Keep workshops between 2.5 to 3 hours to maximize focus and productivity. If the project’s importance warrants it, consider holding two sessions in a day: one in the morning and another in the afternoon, with a substantial break in between.
  • Scheduling: Aim for morning sessions when attention is freshest. If afternoon sessions are necessary, ensure they are well-paced and include scheduled break times to help maintain energy and focus. If possible, organize catering to keep morale high.


  • Plan the agenda: Clearly outline the topics to be discussed and provide a schedule. Distribute this agenda to participants in advance so they can prepare their thoughts and contributions.
  • Set expectations: Ensure each participant understands the workshop’s goals and their role within it. Clarify the purpose and level of detail required for the session.
  • Prepare materials: Have any necessary documents, such as draft structures or process outlines, ready for reference. Ensure all technical tools for the workshop are set up and functioning.


1: Introduction and Scene-SettingBegin with a brief recap of the agenda and the objectives. Encourage open dialogue and collaboration from the start. Explain everyone’s roles in the workshop—including your own as facilitator.
2: Discussion and NotetakingKeep discussions on track, manage time diligently, and mediate to ensure that all voices are heard. Ask questions to guide the conversation in the right direction—but be ready to move unresolved items to a “parking lot” to be addressed later if they consume too much time. Take notes on key points, decisions, and action items. Use a collaboration tool, such as a virtual or physical whiteboard, to allow everyone to contribute their thoughts—and make sure you take clear, high-resolution photos afterward. If it’s going to be an intense workshop, consider having a colleague act as scribe so you can focus on facilitation.
3: Wrap-Up and Next StepsEnd with a summary of the outcomes and set concrete next steps. Assign responsibilities and deadlines for follow-up actions.
4: Follow Up with an EmailSend a summary email to all participants after the workshop. Compile everything into a workshop pack, including decisions made, action items, whiteboard images if necessary, and the timeline for next steps. Aim to send your summary as soon as possible—preferably within a day or so of the workshop—so that the discussion is still fresh in everyone’s minds. This will help maintain momentum. For added value, and to make it more engaging, include some candid photos of people in the workshop.
Typical Structure for a Subject Matter Expert Workshop
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