Pre-Work Basics

What is Pre-Work?

Discovery work and expectation setting that’s done prior to attending a workshop, training session, or meeting. It can be in the form of a reading, a video to watch, or a quick activity to complete.

Why is it a good practice?

Assigning and completing pre-work ensures that everyone comes into the session with the same level of background knowledge. This enhances the learning experience for everyone, and saves time on troubleshooting technical challenges or setting expectations.

Session Prep Checklist

  • Create a room for your project
  • Create a mural from the template below for the pre-work activity
  • Invite your participants to the room
  • Send a calendar invite. Include audio info and instructions to join
  • If people aren’t completing the pre-work, remind them via e-mail 48 hours and 24 hours before the session
  • Finish designing your session’s mural during the time leading up to the session
  • During the session, use the ‘summon’ feature to share your mural view and provide activity instructions to your participants
  • Optional: Experiment with voting and the timer during the session to keep ideation on track

1. Prepare the space

Set up the room you intend to use for the session

Then create the mural

Consider how to set the tone for the entire workshop journey in your pre-work.

2. Engage and inform

Invite participants via email. Be clear about what's expected of them, and don't be afraid to send reminders.

,----------------------------------------------------------------------
I’m looking forward to working with you during our [PROJECT] session on [DATE]! To ensure we can dive right in to our agenda, please take 5-10 minutes to complete this session pre-work:

Join the [PRIVATE ROOM NAME] room in the [XYZ] MURAL workspace by accepting my emailed invitation.Enter the mural in the room titled, "[PRE-WORK MURAL TITLE]", find a blank section, and complete the activity.

Let me know if you have any questions

,----------------------------------------------------------------------

AGENDA [INCLUDE MORE INFO HERE

*Re-use this every 1-2 days to remind people to complete the pre-work. Consider thanking by name those who have taken the time to complete the pre-work.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Hi Everyone, Thanks so much for your interest in [SESSION NAME] on [DATE]! The hands-on session will begin at [TIME] sharp and is scheduled for [X] hours.

Before the session please take 15 minutes to complete the following steps. This is important! If this isn’t completed by the start time, everyone will need to delay their session to wait for folks to catch up.

1. Download Zoom <http://mur.al/zoom>. [OR VID CONF TOOL OF CHOICE]
2. Install Chrome or Firefox for the best experience.
3. Join the [SESSION NAME] workspace room <LINK>.
4. Complete the [PRE-WORK MURAL TITLE] <LINK>.
5. If you’re new to MURAL, consider viewing these additional resources so you can fully participate:
a. Our original training onboarding <LINK>

b. MURAL’s blog <blog.mural.co> We’re looking forward to our time together! Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

Best,
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Engage with participants beforehand. Make sure they feel comfortable with the tools you'll use, and have had time to experiment with them and ask questions.

3. During the session

Plan to start with a warm-up exercise. They help build interpersonal relationships between participants, reset the group's energy level, and provide beginners an opportunity to get acclimated with MURAL.

This exercise is quick, and allows a little insight into everyone's personality and work environment:

Team Tour Tools: 💻


Each person has 1 minute to give a tour of the place where they’re currently located using their webcam.


Describe where you are (coworking space, office, home, outdoors), who else is there and what it’s like to work there.


Let other participants ask you questions.

Find more examples and templates here: Online Warmups and Energizers


Use facilitator superpowers to take advantage

4. Follow up & next steps

Send an email within a few days of the session to recap it for those who couldn't attend - and for those who could. Consider asking a teammate for a second set of eyes before sending the email.


SUBJECT: [Follow-up] SESSION NAME

Hi, everyone! I hope this email finds you well. Thanks to everyone who participated in last week's [SESSION NAME]. It was great to have so many great minds focused on [TASK].

For those who were unable to join us, we had a [discussion, conversation, etc., about…]

[MISCELLANEOUS] Attached is a full recording of the meet-up for your viewing pleasure. [Here’s the link to the article I mentioned during the call I’d share…]

Thanks so much again for [your continued dedication and active participation…] [ATTACHMENT]

Be well,

{YOUR NAME HERE}

✅ Include a recording of the session.

✅ If you mention that you'll "send [X] along later", like a link to a relevant article or an infographic, be sure to add that to the follow-up email.
✅Consider including a few questions to get feedback on the session.

✅ Integrate links into your email copy, instead of using really long URLs.

Try linking directly to an element in MURAL to bring attention to a specific section.

✅ Try linking directly to an element in MURAL to bring attention to a specific section.

✅ Continue embracing visual communication and incorporate images and other multimedia.
💡 Consider using pictures of a finished mural section, or a GIF of your team collaborating. Or just a fun GIF in general, if that's part of your company culture.

For more info, visit:

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