45 minutes
CC BY-SA 4.0

Just like it is in movie-making, a screenplay provides an efficient and effective way to design a meeting. The more thorough the screenplay, the better the meeting.

How To Use the Design Criteria Canvas

Screenplays help you to design a meeting or workshop and share this with the key stakeholders and facilitators. Well-designed screenplays enable you to gain clarity about what can be done during a workshop in order to make decisions about time, activities, and topics to be covered. Most importantly, a screenplay is a visual tool to help you design for results while managing all of the information in one simple document.

One misunderstanding is that the screenplay is fixed and therefore not flexible. That’s not true. The screenplay should be co-created with the core team to help everyone design a results-driven meeting or workshop. In this way, a screenplay will actually help you to be flexible.

Moreover, when you design your screenplays in blocks of time/activities, it enables you to shift to new blocks should the expected-unexpected occur, like lateness due to traffic jams, etc.

Tool Overview

  1. Call Sheet

    Make a call sheet with the most important people needed during the day. Take special care to become friends with the location’s technical people – they can save your day.

  2. Be Early

    Make sure to arrive at the start of the workshop to make sure everything works, that there is coffee and water available, and to test the wifi and the projector.

  3. Agenda, Roles, and Rules

    Always start with agenda, roles, rules, and outcomes. Agree on these with the team.

  4. Time Slots

    The minimum length to schedule is 15 minutes, but preferably work in 30-minute increments.

  5. Strategic Vision

    You can design strategic vision. Check out the various vision tools available in the book and on this site.

  6. Coffee Breaks

    Never skip coffee breaks. And yes, they really take 30 minutes. People need to break out.

  7. Wrap up

    In the wrap up, come back to the objectives and make sure everything is covered.

Step by Step Guide

1 Before you start

Really think deeply about what it is that you (and your team) want/need to get out of your meeting. Design for that.

Location Checklist

  • Plenty of wall space
  • Possibility to stick templates to the wall
  • Space to move around
  • Daylight and fresh air
  • No distractions
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Tables in group setting, not in rows
  • Possibility to play music during exercises
  • Test the wifi if you need it
  • Test the projector if you use it
  • Make friends with the people in charge of facilities and a/v

3 Next Steps

Once everything is designed and setup, you can start planning and running your meeting, workshop, or offsite. Also plan on how you will do follow up. Nothing is worse than a high-energy workshop that you never hear about again after it is finished. Keep people in the loop! Use photos of the room and the templates to make it easy to send out the notes afterwards.


  • Run your workshop, meeting, or offsite
  • Take pictures during the day of participants and all the templates
  • How are you going to give back the results?